Value engineering is a systematic approach to improving a product’s function or reducing its cost. Here’s why it’s so important.
First conceived at General Electric Co. during World War II, value engineering is now essential across the construction industry. It’s not hard to see why.
Value engineering was originally developed when General Electric faced shortages of skilled labour, raw materials, and component parts. A team headed by Lawrence Miles looked for ways to solve these problems. They quickly found that substitutions in the manufacturing process often reduced costs, improved the product – or both.
From there, there was no turning back. Miles’s team described their new-found process as “value analysis” and word quickly spread.
However, there is one critical element of value engineering that cannot be overlooked.
“It is a primary tenet of value engineering that basic functions be preserved and not be reduced as a consequence of pursuing value improvements.”
Over the last few years, high-profile incidents and regulatory updates have helped to remind the UK construction industry that ‘basic functions’ should never be compromised.
Value engineering in construction
Value engineering (VE) in construction should provide more value to a client by either improving the function of a building or by reducing its cost. However, the term VE can often bring a sense of frustration and uncertainty and cause a rift between the participants in the project.
Yet it is important we do our utmost to take a more positive and proactive approach to value engineering. Without it, a significant number of construction projects could be shelved due to budget concerns. Here are three ways to make the most of VE in construction projects:
1. Start early (the earlier, the better)
A lot of the negativity around value engineering could be removed if the VE process was actually intertwined into the original design process.
If VE is only considered as a last resort, this can cause a significant level of disruption to the traditional design and construction process. When stakeholders then realise that a significant amount of work may need to be redone, you have a recipe for frustration and resentment. Start early and you’ll avoid that challenge.
2. Take a collaborative approach
If a more collaborative approach is taken earlier in the design process, this allows clients, architects, and materials suppliers to complete the value engineering process before engaging with contractors.
Engaging with materials suppliers early in the design process can often increase value and significantly reduce waste across many facets, including time and money, and ensure that quality is not compromised.
3. Stay up to date
Materials suppliers are keen to ensure that clients and architects are aware of the latest technical and sustainability developments across the construction sector. Doing this helps to ensure the new building provides excellent value now and throughout its life.
Read our Fordham House case study from Stratford Upon Avon, where Orbit Homes, Robothams Architects and Eurocell came together to excellent effect.
For more help or information regarding your latest project, please contact Kelly Hibbert on firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up to our accredited CPD course: UPVC windows: value engineering and sustainability.