In the realm of AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction), a prevailing approach revolves around efficiently executing projects with a cost-effective strategy that fulfills functional requirements. This approach is known as Value Engineering, characterized as a “function-oriented, systematic, team approach to provide value in a product, system, or service.”
The foundation of Value Engineering traces back to Lawrence Miles, an American engineer who recognized the need to find cost-effective alternatives when faced with material unavailability, without compromising functionality.
In today’s fiercely competitive construction industry, the adoption of value engineering holds immense significance. Construction companies strive to deliver projects with minimal costs while upholding quality and durability. Value engineering plays a pivotal role by identifying and eliminating unnecessary expenses, improving functionality and quality, and ultimately enhancing the value of products. Its objective is to meet performance requirements at the lowest feasible cost, yielding effective outcomes.
Typically, value engineering Services at the project’s inception to maximize its benefits, although the timing may vary among organizations. It also remains an ongoing process, allowing for the incorporation of new information as the project progresses or when environmental changes occur. This adaptive approach ensures that external or internal disruptions do not jeopardize timelines, project completion dates, or exceed the potential savings.
Construction projects involve numerous factors, including material availability, construction methods, transportation considerations, site limitations, planning, organization, costs, profits, stakeholder involvement, tools, software, labor, and more. Value engineering can deliver various benefits, such as reduced life cycle costs, improved quality, and minimized environmental impacts.
A robust value engineering plan comprises the following steps to create a foolproof strategy with minimal hiccups and comprehensive information:
Identification of Key Elements: In the construction industry, every element, from construction materials to MEP contractors, holds significant importance. Thorough research and identification of these elements are paramount.
Analysis of Element Functions: Once the elements are identified, the next step involves analyzing their functions and assessing how any mismanagement could impact the construction process.
Development of Alternative Solutions: In the event of resource unavailability, which could impede construction progress and affect profitability, having a bank of alternative strategies or solutions becomes crucial.
Evaluation of Alternative Solutions: It is imperative to continually assess and re-evaluate each element and its alternatives to ensure timely and high-quality project delivery.
Cost Allocation to Alternative Solutions: The cost of implementing an alternative solution should align with the project’s budget. Any cost increase may inflate the project’s overall expenses and reduce profitability.
Detailed Development of Successful Alternatives: When locking in alternative elements, detailed reports outlining the alternatives with the highest likelihood of success are essential.
To make informed decisions at each step, the following equation should be applied:
Value = Function/Cost
Function represents the specific task that a design or item must perform.
Cost denotes the life-cycle cost of the product.
Value signifies the most cost-effective approach to reliably fulfill a function while meeting user needs, desires, and expectations.
Throughout the value engineering process, architects must prioritize functionality. Lawrence Miles introduced several results accelerators and universal best practices for creating a comprehensive, well-evaluated value engineering plan, most of which remain applicable to the design and construction process today.