Value engineering (VE) has become a standard practice for many, if not most, AEC projects today. As common as it is, however, VE is not always fully understood or well executed. Value engineering is not a design review process. Nor is it a cost-cutting exercise conducted at the expense of project integrity. Designers should apply VE by considering alternative design solutions to optimize the expected cost/value ratio of components within a project. Contractors should use VE to identify and propose changes that cut costs while maintaining or enhancing the quality, value, and functional performance required by the owner.
But when applied optimally, value engineering is a creative, organized exercise conducted collaboratively — and as early as possible — by all project stakeholders to deliver project requirements at the lowest total cost. Progressive project owners are looking for partners who can fulfill their visions and deliver a project on time and under budget, and collaborative VE ensures that all parties are working toward the same goal.
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