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Value Engineering Case Study

Management Solutions, LLC (MSLLC) and Greene and Associates provided Value Engineering (VE) services for a new building that services logistical support for a current client. The project was a Design-Build project with a contractor already under contract as well as an architect/engineering firm as a subcontractor to the contractor.

The MSLLC team’s sole purpose was to bring various stakeholders together at the 30% Design Phase to ensure that at the basic level the Owner’s needs were met, but also ensure that long-term value was incorporated into the project for future users.  Value is created one of three ways:   1) When cost goes down, but quality or schedule are not impacted; 2) when schedule is reduced, but quality remains the same and cost is not impacted; or 3) when quality remains high, but schedule is not sacrificed and cost is not impacted.

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The specific project assigned to the MSLLC team was challenging since design was already at the end of the 30% Design Development Phase.  The project had already been bid and awarded to a Contractor on the basis of competitive bids.  Therefore, changes need to be based on quality and value.  Since the budget had been set, it had to be shown that great needs accompanied any recommended changes.

Although this specific project only required the MSLLC team to facilitate a VE Session at the end of the 30% Design Documents, MSLLC recommends that the Value Engineering process be performed continuously along the life cycle of a project (see our blog on Integrated Value Engineering).  This provides more opportunities to provide value and to ensure that the stakeholder’s needs are met.

The VE Session was divided into phases, progressing from very broad ideas to very specific ideas to improve the value of the finished facility.

Phase I: Define customer value by cost and function (i.e. understand from the customer viewpoint what is most important and perform relative rankings of value components)

Phase II: reThink: Set-Based Design. Generate design improvement ideas by function.

Phase III: reForm: Merge ideas, prioritize and decide. Combine ideas generated by teams, prioritize and decide which to pursue.

Phase IV: reshape: Implement best ideas. Assign follow-up work and determine due dates.

A brief summary of some of the most “added-value” ideas were architecture (14 items), structural (8 items), mechanical (20 items) civil and electrical (6 items).  The items that were determined were then costed by a cost estimator for further evaluation and changes implemented before the 60% design submittal.

Value Engineering Session Conclusions

  1. One of the most important aspects from the VE Session is that it created an environment where everyone felt comfortable sharing ideas and everyone felt empowered to do so.  So many times, people have great ideas, but don’t feel comfortable sharing because they feel a decision has already been made and it cannot be changed or they don’t speak up because of authoritative hierarchy.  In this session, everyone felt free to make recommendations or comments and they felt their input was valued.
  2. The VE Session also brought all of the players into the room at one time so that they could understand the thought process behind the current product and how it was completed to the 30% design phase.  This provided much needed communication to everyone involved in the project for a better understanding of what was needed.  The design rationale and criteria were evaluated and it was determined if they wanted to continue with the same rationale moving forward or if they wanted to change to something different.
  3. In this project two different design consultants worked together during the VE Session in front of a mutual client to determine the best approach going forward without either being slighted or believing that critique was negative.  This provided a much needed independent evaluation by technical peers that were qualified to provide a second set of eyes.
  4. Since this project is a design-build project and had already progressed to the 30% Design submittal, the project team worked with the contractor to find trade-offs with any facility changes following recommendations from the VE Session.  Changes were made expeditiously to keep up with the present pace of the project and to incorporate into the 60% Design Submittal.
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Sam Mayes

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