What Does Value Engineering Really Mean?


There is a common misconception in the construction industry that Value Engineering equals cutting costs. While this is sometimes the case, the truth is that Value Engineering is not quite this simple – or at least it shouldn’t be.

Why isn’t it a simple answer? Isn’t it just saving the Client as much money as possible?

Each contractor will have a slightly different approach and philosophy about Value Engineering (often referred to as “VE” by industry insiders), but ultimately the goal should be to provide the Client with the best value available at the lowest cost, while still meeting the needs and expectations of the individual Owner. Horst firmly believes in a holistic approach that enhances value, rather than just doing whatever it takes to subtract cost. Of course, we have the ultimate goal of saving you money – but not at the sacrifice of a good final result.

value engineering graph cost vs advantageThe Horst Construction philosophy for Value Engineering is to provide our clients with a thorough and detailed analysis of their project and options. We examine the overall value that different materials, methods, and design elements provide in relation to the project goals. We always keep in mind what our Clients aim to do with their building – why they are undergoing a construction project – and use that insight to inform our analysis. The suggestions we provide to one Client might not be a good fit for another. True Value Engineering is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

What makes Horst Construction’s Value Engineering Methodology different?

We work with subcontractors and vendors who are specialists in their industry to get our Clients innovative and useful options that analyze not only the immediate cost impact, but also the life cycle cost. This means we look at whether a less expensive product or method is going to benefit you in the long run, or if the cost will quickly surpass your resources. Furthermore, because we include our subcontractors and vendors in this process, we get suggestions that add value in terms of functionality or quality based upon their professional expertise. This is a key part of our value engineering methodology regardless of the project delivery method.

It is also critical to our philosophy to work very closely with our Clients throughout the Value Engineering process, ensuring that an open line of communication is always kept. This assures that all viable options are clearly laid out with cost and benefit analysis provided for each. The danger of not conscientiously communicating the details during the VE process is that an Owner can easily misunderstand the quality or level of product that is being proposed. We have heard from many clients who have been through previous building projects that a contractor was able to Value Engineer and get a lower price point, but at the sacrifice of quality and long-term cost.

In summary

The truth is, what many people call “Value Engineering” is a one-dimensional cost-cutting approach. Be sure that your contractor is working as your building advocate and analyzing the big picture for you. Anyone can suggest a cheaper product or method – but be sure that they have your goals and best interest in mind.

Horst Construction is proud to provide our clients with the best service in the industry – helping match needs and goals with resources and creative solutions. To learn more about Value Engineering and how Horst Construction can help align your vision with your resources, contact us.

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