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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Building Houston

 
 

We could all use a little IT help right now. Photo by Maskot/Getty

Though it's been around since 2012, JPMorgan Chase's Force for Good program feels especially vital right now. The project connects Chase employee volunteers with hundreds of nonprofits around the world to build sustainable tech solutions that help advance their missions.

Even better, Houston and Dallas nonprofits have a leg up in the selection process. Organizations located in or near one of Chase's tech centers get priority, and that includes H-Town and Big D.

The government-registered nonprofits, foundations, and social enterprises (we're talking everything from food banks to theater companies) selected to participate will have access to a team of up to 10 highly skilled technologists, who will spend approximately four hours per week advising over an eight month period.

Each nonprofit is asked to propose the specific project that would benefit from technology guidance, and it needs to be something the organization can maintain when the project period is over.

"We have more than 50,000 technologists at JPMorgan Chase around the world and they're passionate about giving back," says Ed Boden, global lead of Technology for Social Good programs. "Force for Good gives our employees the opportunity to utilize their unique skills while also learning new ones, to build technology solutions for the organizations that need it most."

If you're the director, CEO, or other person in charge at a nonprofit and you still have questions about Force for Good, Chase has put together a free webinar to help explain further.

These webinars cover the overall program experience and application process, and it's highly recommended that nonprofits watch before applying. The live webinar dates (with Texas times) are June 2 from 1:30-2:30 pm and June 8 from 10:30-11:30 am.

A pre-recorded webinar will also be available for nonprofits to review after the live webinar dates.

Since 2012, Force for Good has worked with over 320 organizations in 22 cities, contributing over 190,500 hours of knowledge and skills.

"It is a great program that can provide strong impact for nonprofit organizations that need technology help," says Chris Rapp, a Dallas-based Chase executive. "As a father and husband of two Dallas artists, I am a huge believer in helping the arts grow and hopefully we can help do this through Force For Good."

The application process opened on May 28, with a deadline to submit by July 10.

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