Value Engineering – What It Is and How It Helps
Value engineering is a term often used by Owner/Developer in project discussions, but what does it really mean?
Unless money doesn’t matter, which only on a few jobs this is the case, most owners are looking for value, but never will an owner be willing to sacrifice quality just to save a buck. They want their construction projects built in the most efficient, cost-effective way, without sacrificing the value, and ultimately adding value, without sacrificing the finished product.
The goal is to ensure that they the client receives full value for every dollar spent on the project. To reduce costs while maintaining quality and function. Which can be a lofty goal and not so easily achieved.
If you’re looking to learn more about value engineering as a part of the construction process, you’re in the right place. Read on to discover the benefits and features!
Value Engineering Post-Bid
On the vast majority of our projects, Value Engineering usually stems from one of two scenarios.
In the first case, when a project is completely designed and then put out for bid to contractors and their respective subcontractors. The design is often done in a vacuum with little input from the owner. Ultimately, when the pricing comes back, the owner is surprised because the project pricing comes in significantly over his or her anticipated costs.
Often, contractors are then asked to do a value engineering exercise. In order to perform this exercise, ne needs to look at every aspect of the job and see the specific areas for the potential for value engineering.
• What are the site constraints?
• What are the materials of construction?
• What are the specifications for each and every component and system?
• What is the HVAC system?
• What are the electrical components and specifications?
Where did the original budget come from? How old is it? What were those project parameters?
Once these features are understood, the construction company can give a more accurate estimate of costs and potential trouble areas.
How often do we hear, my friend built his building for X$/SF three years ago? It’s a different project, on different piece of land in a different time. It sets one up for comparisons that are difficult to do and aren’t usually applicable anyway.
Further, let’s assume that there are project savings that are realized through the value engineering exercise. How will the plans be changed to incorporate these new items to save money? Will there be a cost associated with that rework? Considering this, a team can accurately reflect costs and uncover potentially ‘hidden’ costs when taking this approach.
Taking Value Engineering Steps on the Front-End of a Project
In the second case, one can work through the design and perform the value engineering on the front end before the designer(s) put pencil to paper (or mouse click to computer as is now the case).
The design build scenario, more often than not, benefits contractors and subcontractors who have experience and knowledge on what things cost and how they perform. This allows them to right size a project from day one as opposed to drawing it, pricing it and then looking for ways to save money.
All in all, it is a more collaborative approach that makes sure the owner gets just what they need and want. Often, this is vital to understanding the price they are willing to pay. In order for design build to work, it is important that the contractors/subcontractors have both design and construction experience.
And it is important that they are capable of performing the design, getting the drawings completed (and often professionally sealed as required) and then successfully complete the project. After all, most contractors get paid to do construction and not just the design!
If you’re interested in learning more about D Fickler Construction, connect with our team today! Our team of experienced designers, contractors, and builders are ready to chat.