The Value Engineering Myth - Smarten Up vs. Dumb Down
Most conventional practitioners attack or eliminate scope the moment budgets are challenged and call it successful value engineering. In reality this is a cannibalization of the necessary in favor of pure price. Would not a more holistic re-evaluation of priorities in favor of true need not be an equally, if not more, effective way to have your cake and eat it too? The term value engineering is freely bantered around as the silver bullet for what may ail a project in distress. Value Engineering is really a more complex tool that should not automatically be associated with loss of scope but instead be an exercise in value creation. The design community often feels threatened when either the contractor or owner brings up the need for "value engineering" instead of embracing the idea of value creation through collaboration. In their defense, most contractors just do not get it. They view a direct and proportional connection between carving out scope and influencing the project budget. More insightful designers, builders, and owners see the value engineering review process as an opportunity to "mine" existing ideas for an even better one.
"You know you've achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away." - Antoine De Saint Exupery The quote above captures the true intent of a good value engineering exercise. True value engineering requires putting into place the essentials first, then freeing up the design process to embellish and enhance. A project has to work before it can exist. Market conditions dictate that functional and financial success must be the first priority; otherwise, the art of a project will never occur. Far too much paper architecture is practiced where stellar ideas are tossed into the wastebasket because the project is not feasible. Through a solid collaboration between designer and builder, far more innovative projects will find their way to the market because they will be built upon the value proposition that the project must work first. The intent is not to bridle good design, but to elevate it. Good design can be elevated to greatness when it can serve both the master of design and be feasible at the same time. Finding the perfect balance between creativity and constructability is what you pay your design and construction team to achieve.
The Design/Build Team of R.R. Simmons works to balance creativity and constructability every day for our clients. We strive to provide a design that is friendly, inviting, and sustainable yet makes mathematical sense. Our integrated Design/Build approach is well fashioned to deliver on the value proposition. If you would like to know more about the marriage of value, creation, and good design contact the Design/Build Team of R.R. Simmons for your next project adventure.