Value engineering is a disciplined method of identifying areas for potential cost
optimization, considering alternatives, analyzing them, and assisting in the selection of
the preferred options. Value engineering works at its’ best when used at early design
stages and allows the following:
- All reasonable options and alternatives can be fairly evaluated and balanced against the client’s value objectives.
- Urgent decisions are addressed up front
- The budget and cost estimates are carefully examined and confirmed.
- Long-term life cycle cost issues and other operating considerations are addressed.
- Information phase. All available information about the project is assembled and
reviewed, including designs, cost estimates, operating, maintenance, energy cost
forecasts, building program, schedule, proposed delivery strategy, etc.
- Function analysis phase. The intended functions of the proposed facility are
carefully analyzed and the cost of each function assigned and reviewed. Value
criteria are defined.
- Creative phase. Ideas for alternatives that might improve value and/or save cost
are identified through brainstorming or similar technique. There are no judgments
at this stage, just ideas.
- Evaluation phase. The ideas are evaluated against the value criteria and those
that have value engineering merit are carried forward.
- Development phase. The surviving ideas are further developed to test their
feasibility. Some preliminary design analysis is done, and estimates for both
initial capital cost and long-term life cycle costs are prepared.
Approached in this way, value engineering can offer architects an opportunity to
demonstrate that they produce value and to prove to owners that the best value,
defined in the owner’s terms and with the owner’s participation, will be delivered.