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Designing with value in mind

Everyone wants to cut costs, but not at the expense of the project’s functionality.

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June 27, 2019 |

Architects, engineers and other design professionals strive to build strong reputations in their respected fields. To prove their competence, they must maximize their given budgets while also making sure to be efficient and detailed in their work. Everyone wants to cut costs, but not at the expense of the project’s functionality. How do you create a high-quality product that stays within budget? Two words: Value Engineering.

This time-tested process is focused on improving the value of a product by substituting low-cost options without sacrificing the quality of work. Value engineering is a win-win for all parties involved. By meeting an owner’s performance standards with money-saving solutions, design professionals deliver incredible value to their clients and boost their reputations.

We’re here to help ease the process for you. Here are six steps to value engineering:

Step 1: Identify the material makeup of a project. Ask yourself: What is this?

Step 2: Analyze the functions of those elements. Ask yourself: What does this do?

Step 3: Develop alternative solutions for delivering those functions. Ask yourself: What else could do this?

Step 4: Assess the alternative solutions. Ask yourself: Can this still deliver the experience the owner demands?

Step 5: Allocate costs to the alternative solutions. Ask yourself: How much will this cost?

Step 6: Develop the alternatives with the highest likelihood of success. Ask yourself: What will do the best job for the longest time?

A project owner’s expectations must be the highest priority when completing any project. No amount of money, work or time saved will be sufficient enough if a project owner’s needs are not fully met. There could be several different motivations for completing a project, and the design professional must have a solid understanding of these components before the project even begins. But if designers can meet the owner’s objectives while saving money, they are well on their way to building a name for themselves. For more information on Value Engineering, check out our eBook.

Rory Woolsey has worked in Management and Engineering in the construction industry for 40 years. He started as a construction laborer and superintendent and has experience in just about every construction profession from designer to estimator to project manager to field engineer and, most recently, a senior owner’s representative for many large public agencies. For 20 years he was the lead estimator and president of The Wool-Zee Company, Inc. working for architects, engineers and facility managers to accurately budget their construction projects at all stages of design. Rory has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil/ Structural Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in construction project management.

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