What is Value Engineering and How Can My Project Benefit?
In residential construction, slate stone is considered one of the most elite and luxurious types of roofing materials available on the market. The costs associated with manufacturing slate as well as reinforcing the roof supports to accommodate the extra weight are the highest in the industry. When you consider the product has a 100-year life span however it’s a great annual deal though…right?
To understand value engineering is to consider that slate roof. If you’re 85+ years old, have no dependents, and live in an unsavory neighborhood with low property values the slate roof really isn’t a value renovation. If you plan on owning the home for the next 60 years – or want to sell it in a bustling market – the exact same renovation project takes on a whole different value. It’s these same principles that commercial building owners and developers need to also consider when valuing their processes.
Value Engineering in Commercial Projects
Value engineering in the commercial building process can be broken down into a few basic premises:
- Use a creative, team-based approach to find alternates to the existing solution.
- How much does a lower cost or alternate method contribute to a lower life cycle?
- Is a lower cost going to still achieve essential functions of performance, reliability, safety, and quality?
In a nutshell these evaluations come down to three simple questions:
- Is there any other way to do this?
- Is it worth saving ½ the money if we’re going to have ½ the life span?
- Are lower costs/alternate methods going to result in an inferior product or project?
For commercial construction, value engineering can be enacted for building features, building materials, system processes, equipment, and more.
How to Achieve Value Engineering
The reason building owners put a value engineering plan into action is to increase the value of their property while still maintaining the same functionality but at a lower cost. This is most often achieved with the help of a design/build general contractor with years of experience in construction processes, costs, and capabilities.
Where can a design/build GC use their expertise to increase the value of a commercial construction project? A number of ways that range from evaluating the availability and costs of materials to changing the construction methods of a blueprint to streamlining the planning and organization aspect of the build to maximizing transportation and equipment efficiency. There are thousands of dollars in ‘dead money’ wasted on commercial construction projects from higher labor costs to lower life cycles to higher environmental and utility impacts and so on. It’s the goal of the design build general contractor and the use of value engineering to make every project as close to 100% efficient as possible.