One of the main goals of an engineering project usually involves having the project be built for maximum function but with minimal costs. As such, a Value Engineer may be brought in during the early project stages to help enhance the success of a project by unveiling opportunities to reduce redundancies, eliminating unnecessary elements and finding less expensive materials that are adequate to do the job.
However, not many people are familiar with the concept of Value Engineering beyond these factors. Here are some things you may not have known about Value Engineering:
This process of improving the ratio of function to cost was originally developed by Larry Miles, a design engineer with General Electric during World War II. As a basic formula, Miles defined value as:
Value = Function/Cost
As such, Function is the measure of the specific work or benefit that a building, mechanical system or other element of a project achieves while Cost is the life-cycle cost of the structure, system or other elements performing functions of the project.
Therefore, Value is the measure of the cost-effectiveness of performing the essential functions necessary to meet the project owner’s needs and expectations.
Being a Value Engineer will have its own professional liabilities too. It is recommended that a Value Engineer include some of the following statements on contracts when dealing with clients:
- Specify that you can rely on the owner, lead designer, contractor, and other key project participants to provide complete and accurate information regarding the project
- Disclaim liability for any errors or omissions in design documents and specifications provided to you by others
- Note that you cannot guarantee or warrant that the owner will receive any anticipated long-term cost savings or value improvements based upon your recommendations
Benefits to Senior Engineers and Designers
Value engineering is proving to be an effective value-building tool for projects large and small.
For design professionals, it’s an opportunity to learn about new processes, materials and systems and broaden their skill set. It’s also a chance for the team to better meet client expectations and produce highly successful projects through the advice of a Value Engineer.
Find out more:
Download our free guidebook “Finding Value in Value Engineering” to learn more about the work of a Value Engineer and how the work can benefit you: