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Why Should I Care About Value Engineering? And How Pertinent Is It Today?

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Background: My interest in this topic started when I was a student at UWM School of Architecture in the early 1970’s. In November 2000, I gave a Value Engineering presentation for industry peers. This updated narrative takes information from that presentation and reflects developments since that time. Throughout this blog, I lean on my 44 years of professional experience in a variety of design and management roles and ways in which I’ve seen value engineering work and not work throughout the years.

What Value Engineering Is and What It Is Not:

Value Engineering (VE) is a means of reconciling scope and budget to arrive at a base value that aligns with the priorities defined by the owner. Value engineering has always been important, and in a time when construction industry costs have risen three times the rate of our normative long-term increases, it becomes even more so. Value engineering is most effective as a budget planning tool where design alternatives and associated costs are examined early in the design process. Value engineering major participants consist of the Owner (which may include facility managers), Architect, Engineering Consultants, Construction Manager and Cost Estimator. Successful and impactful VE requires a team approach.

Value Engineering is not (ideally) a last-minute effort to reconcile scope and budget. This latter approach does not take into consideration the time, effort and coordination it took to get to the project scope and may result in unnecessary sacrifices to the project. It is important to create balance as well as to take into consideration functionality and lifecycle cost.

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What Factors Should You Consider When Value Engineering:

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How to Go About Value Engineering:

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Benefits of Value Engineering:

As we continue to navigate the disruption in supply chain, rising costs and potential recession, it is important to consider how to integrate value engineering from project onset through completion. I’d love to hear how you’ve seen VE successfully executed or further discuss the benefits and potential pitfalls of VE.

Abie Khatchadourian, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
Senior Project Manager : Associate

Abie is a Senior Project Manager in our Learning Environment Studio with a passion for education and life-long mentorship. Abie helped lead the new Verona High School and is currently working with Madison Metropolitan School District.

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