How to Make Innovative Ideas Happen

How to Make Innovative Ideas Happen

Value Engineering (VE) is a term that is frequently tossed about in design and construction meetings, but what does it mean what “value” might it offer? A dictionary definition of Value Engineering is:

Value engineering is a systematic method to improve the ‘value’ of goods or products and services by using an examination of function. Value, as defined, is the ratio of function to cost. Value can therefore be increased by either improving the function or reducing the cost.

The goal of VE is not to eliminate the quality of work, but rather to change to materials or processes that will enhance the work and provide value for the owner. VE may affect the design or scope of the project, but does not jeopardize its integrity at the outcome. VE is a creative, organized effort that analyzes the requirements of a project, for the purpose of achieving the essential functions at the lowest total costs over the life of the project.

This analysis requires an experienced and diverse group to study alternate design concepts, materials, and methods without compromising the functional and value objectives of the owner. Ellis uses a team approach to the VE process involving estimators, project managers, principal-in-charge, owner and project architect in order to research cost and present value engineering options. The estimator coordinates and guides the study, collaborating with the VE team and pulling in others with specialized knowledge, including material suppliers and subcontractors, as needed.

Value Engineering Success Story
Ellis estimator Brandon Kohls was on the team for the St. Paul Catholic Church of Mosinee project — an AGC BUILD Wisconsin Award winning facility. The church project analysis revealed many VE options. The accepted VE options included removing some of the wood trim, changing the style of pews, using different light fixtures in some locations, and taking out the drive-through canopy. Overall, the accepted VE options saved more than $750,000 on the project from the bid price without diminishing the facility’s usefulness or aesthetics.