Although Value Engineering (VE) was developed during World War II, it’s still widely used in industry with a multitude of applications. In short, VE is an effective technique for reducing costs, increasing productivity, and improving quality. Which makes it a must to incorporate when operating on any structural designs, from custom luxury home, to minor home remodel.
What gets everyone’s attention is lowering cost, and although this function is a key component it’s not the main focus. To primarily focus on cost is a mistake, and would lead to poor quality and increased cost later on down the road. My main focus is on method of construction techniques, and the use of materials and hardware. All the plans created by John Anthony Drafting & Design are Value Engineered. However, I do and have provided this service for others, and it’s not uncommon for me to knock off 20 to 30k just in materials and hardware cost on a custom home. Throw in the fact I use proven method of construction techniques which lowers labor cost, and effectively reduces time to completion.
Another key component to VE is longevity which is directly related to quality. The challenge for most is to identify longevity. No matter how much quality you inject into a project you better have a good understanding of how a given environment will affect materials. If you do not, even the best of quality will be easily broke down by time and weather. Although aesthetic value being extremely important it should not affect longevity, nor create situations of constant maintenance. I feel the home is to live in and enjoy, and not become a burden.
To apply VE effectively to residential and commercial construction one must have field experience. There’s just no getting around it, as the only way to really know about a product, material, hardware, etc…, is to handle and apply it with your own hands. This gives you a complete understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and cost.
My many years of field experience has exposed me to a multitude of structural engineers, and one constant with most engineers is just the calculations. Never concerning themselves with application or cost. This is a huge factor when looking at an entire project, and can easily be modified as there are several ways to effectively reach a goal. Simpson products are the standard for all structural hardware, and knowing how to effectively incorporate them will reduce building and labor cost.
Finally, poor choice of materials and hardware can easily add the numbers I spoke of above, and in some cases reach much higher numbers. Civil Engineering is another key area to look at. Retention, expansive soils, movement of materials, and the list goes on. Let’s not forget all the passive qualities to incorporate as well. Value Engineering is a constant, and ultimately should be incorporated from conceptual design to finished product.