Houston design build firm breaks down why value engineering is a smart move

Design is as much a science as it is an art. Photo courtesy of CIVE

The method of value engineering, where less expensive materials and methods are used without sacrificing functionality, certainly has its benefits.

While you must weigh the pros and cons of using it in each unique situation, the experts at CIVE are ready to lay out the overall argument for value engineering. The Houston-based, engineering-driven design build firm serves residential, commercial, and industrial markets, and relies on a commitment to excellence in all projects.

Its mantra — "Any engineer can create a design, but true expertise lies in creating designs that would incur the least cost possible, without compromising integrity of the structure" — reinforces that design is as much a science as it is an art.

Why should value engineering be used?
Value engineering allows commercial developers the capability to obtain more value for their design, contracting, and build-outs. This process not only helps provide advantages for the initial construction, but also add value on a longer term basis.

The initial costs of building a structure only accounts for 11 percent of the overall building costs of its life cycle. While that number may seem small, if this capital allocation is done incorrectly it can significantly impact the lifespan and ongoing maintenance costs that building owners can experience.

Value engineering provides great advantages to building owners and ultimately their tenants with a better quality structure. But let's be clear: The objective of value engineering is not to cut costs or to lower standards, but to provide innovative approaches and help identify ways to improve dependability, functionality, and performance.

When should it be used?
The process of value engineering can be applied in areas where a construction team typically experiences delays or excessive costs to help identify and alleviate the problem. The end result is a more efficient process that can reduce waste, rework, and design modifications that can significantly increase a project budget and/or cause schedule delays.

A few of the benefits
The benefits of value engineering are numerous, but in summary they can assist construction projects by:

  • Reducing expenses
  • Minimizing waste
  • Refining the project scope
  • Increasing stakeholder consensus
  • Maintaining budget allocations

Overall, this adds more value to the building owner with more savings over the lifetime of a structure with enhanced functionality. A company well versed in the practice of value engineering can use it to finish a project on time and on budget for their clients.

Implementing value engineering
Here's some good news: value engineering can be done at any part of the commercial construction process. While it would ideally be incorporated into the initial stages, it can be easily adapted to improve a project stage at any point. The design phase allows the architect or engineer to work with the client to come up with required features, functionality, and proposed solutions.

During the planning stage the general contractor and commercial developer come to an agreement on the expected project cost. The third stage of development is the construction phase, when the building takes place and any proposed changes can be included that don't affect the primary function and design of the structure.

Why it works
Unlike most, CIVE identifies value engineering as not merely a tool to cut corners, but a way to truly and effectively deliver engineering excellence by designing to the last inch — without over-designing or jeopardizing integrity of the structure — that can put redundant budget pressures on projects.

CIVE's ability to truly value engineer each of its projects comes with experience and technical expertise, which has saved its clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment capital over time.

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Houston-based medical device and biotech startup Steradian Technologies has been recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo by Dwight C. Andrews/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

A female-founded biotech startup has announced that it has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Steradian Technologies has developed a breath-based collection device that can be used with diagnostic testing systems. Called RUMI, the device is non-invasive and fully portable and, according to a news release, costs the price of a latte.

“We are extremely honored to receive this award and be recognized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a leader in global health. This funding will propel our work in creating deep-tech diagnostics and products to close the equity gap in global public health," says Asma Mirza, CEO and co-founder of Steradian Technologies, in the release. “The RUMI will demonstrate that advanced technology can be delivered to all areas of the world, ensuring the Global South and economically exploited regions receive access to high-fidelity diagnostics instead of solutions that are ill-suited to the environment.”

RUMI uses novel photon-based detection to collect and diagnose infectious diseases in breath within 30-seconds, per the release, and will be the first human bio-aerosol specimen collector to convert breath into a fully sterile liquid sample and can be used for many applications in direct disease detection.

"As the healthcare industry continues to pursue less invasive diagnostics, we are very excited that the foundation has identified our approach to breath-based sample collection as a standout worthy of their support," says John Marino, chief of product development and co-founder. “We look forward to working with them to achieve our goals of better, faster, and safer diagnostics."

Founded in 2017, Steradian Technologies is funded and supported by XPRIZE, Johnson & Johnson’s Lung Cancer Initiative, JLABS TMCi, Capital Factory, Duke Institute of Global Health, and Johnson & Johnson’s Center for Device Innovation.

The amount granted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was not disclosed. The Seattle-based foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman and co-chaired by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gatess.

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