Value Engineering
December 14, 2023


Our last blog mentioned that design/builders and construction managers are involved during a project’s design phase (pre-construction stage). Since they are there from the start, the construction manager can provide value engineering suggestions to help keep your project on time and within budget. Value engineering is most effective when applied early on so the entire team can review various options and select the best one for the project. Using a team approach during the planning stage allows every team member to communicate their concerns, ideas, and issues, regarding the materials, resources, budget, and schedule. The design and construction management team work together to execute the value engineering methodology. But what does value engineering mean? Can you apply value engineering at any stage of the project?

What is Value Engineering?

Many will say that value engineering is closely associated with cost cutting. Others may think it’s a process that reduces the project’s cost by cutting out portions or reducing the quality of materials being used. However, these definition sells the practice short. Value engineering encourages using alternative methods and materials that are less expensive but do not lower the functionality of the system, service, or product.

Value engineering aims to look at the quality of the product and maximize function at a lower cost. A construction manager will work with the project team and examine the function of each item or element of a project and its associated costs. They will compare the cost/benefit ratio, suggest alternative design and construction methods, and the materials to use to improve the project’s value.

Repeatable Methodology

Value engineering can be applied to any stage of the project. The value engineering methodology provides the owner with the most cost-effective solutions to their building needs. 

Value Engineering Methodology

  1. Gather the information about the project.
  2. Analyze the functions of those elements
  3.  Brainstorm alternative solutions for delivering those functions.
  4. Evaluate the alternative solutions with the projects owner’s objectives.
  5. Develop costs to the alternative solutions.
  6. Present the alternatives with the highest likelihood of project objectives’ success.


Repeat these steps if necessary.

Applying Value Engineering in Project Stages

Planning – The optimal time to start value engineering is during the design development and schematic design phases. When a project uses the design/build approach, the owner, design, and construction team can analyze a service, system, or product to determine the best way to manage the essential functions while reducing costs. This would have the most significant impact on cost control, and minimal expense is involved in making design changes.

Design – Traditional project approach (i.e., design-bid-build) incorporates value engineering during the design phase. The owner works with the design team to develop construction documents, which contractors use to prepare bids.

When the bids come back too high, the design team returns to the drawing board and starts looking for alternatives to reduce the costs.

However, when a construction manager is hired in conjunction with the design team, they don’t just review the plans to reduce costs. They also evaluate the overall value and long-term costs to ensure the project scope aligns with the owner’s goals and objectives. While value engineering requires more preparation upfront, it saves owners from costly change orders and schedule adjustments.

Construction – During construction, the project team can still evaluate the scope of work, and the contractors can submit value engineering suggestions to reduce cost and improve the schedule. Therefore, it’s crucial to work with a general contractor who understands the value and long-term impacts of these changes.

A.R. Brouwer’s experts have extensive experience working on every project stage and use value engineering to provide the best outcome for our client’s project. Once the client hires A.R. Brouwer, our team becomes a collaborative partner to deliver the best results. We can build it whether it’s a Design/Build, Construction Management, or General Contracting project.

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