The last two years have been chaotic, to say the least, for the tristate area. The densely populated region has suffered drastically from the pandemic, and supply chain interruptions continue to plague contractors with shortages in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. To compensate, many GMs have begun using value engineering to keep their customers well supplied despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as new variants crop up and cause further problems.
Understanding Value Engineering
The concept of value engineering is based on getting more for your money without sacrificing quality. Usually, this concept is calculated as the ratio of functionality to cost. In the world of contracting and construction, that translates to replacing higher-cost processes and supplies with alternatives that keep the same function or using even more suitable materials while keeping the investment the same or less.
In light of supply chain interruptions and the shortages that have followed, some GMs and CMs have been willing to sacrifice function to save money. Others use more expensive supplies without improving function. With value engineering, builders still maintain standards on things like functionality, aesthetics, and safety. This idea is distinct from cutting costs (or cutting corners), where quality is decreased for the sake of money.
There are many aspects of commercial contracting that value engineering can enhance, including:
- Exterior sheathing or exterior panel installation
- Steel framing
- Adhesives selection
- Suspended ceilings or acoustical ceiling construction
- Personal protection equipment (PPE) and job site protection equipment utilization
- Building insulation
- Firestop work
- Fire safety door installation
- Building insulation
Value Engineering Made Simple
Contractors interested in incorporating the value engineering process into their work are often curious about how to begin. To help GMs and CMs use this process in their next project, Metro has created this list of questions to jumpstart the process:
What Needs to be Improved?
Identify what materials or methods will be analyzed. For example, anyone using value engineering must first decide on the materials they want to analyze. Of course, it is all too easy to answer “Everything,” but that perspective can be overwhelming and cause problems later in the process. It is important to understand that value engineering is a meticulous, methodical process, so it’s far better to look at one item at a time. Identify an area that needs to be improved and tackle one issue at a time.
What Ways Should it be Improved?
Analyze which functions are relevant to the design. There are many different angles from which you can approach functionality, and they all need to be investigated. The concept of function might mean strength in one circumstance, fire resistance in another, moisture resistance in yet another, or acoustics, conductivity, durability, or aesthetics and appearance in others. Function can refer to one or many items on a long list of possible traits. You must determine every relevant function for the design during the analysis stage.
Which Alternatives are Available?
Look at possible alternative solutions. This is when research becomes most important. In this phase of the process, it is wise to get assistance from a reliable building materials company. A building materials distributor can help you weigh alternative options and broaden the scope of your investigation. A ceiling contractor, for instance, might use a value engineering perspective to replace a premium-priced panel or grid system by thinking about alternatives like similar aesthetic images, equal or better performance characteristics, and less expensive products that are readily available. The point here is to consider the greatest number of possible alternatives to ensure a complete analysis.
Which Available Alternatives are Best?
Compare and contrast the timing and price of the alternatives identified in the last step. Both the costs and implementation timing are crucial factors, since new alternatives can affect the whole construction process in ways that decrease completion time and labor costs. How soon the alternative solution can be delivered is also worth considering. And finally, don’t forget to consider how supply chain problems might cause a discrepancy between the expected delivery date and the date the materials arrive.
Finally, get key players to buy in. At this stage, stakeholders like architects, engineers, site managers, active investors, and designers will need to agree to the alternative solution. Convincing stubborn holders-on can be difficult, but it shouldn’t be too hard if the function and cost of the alternative solution are truly equal or superior to the original option.
Begin the Value Engineering Process Today
Under perfect circumstances, value engineering is integrated into the fabric of a planned build from the very beginning. However, it can save time, money, energy, and resources at any point during a construction project. Regardless of how far along the process is, though, a skilled building materials distributor can provide insight about what alternatives fit best with a construction project. If you need a proactive supply distributor to help with value engineering, Metro Interiors can help find the best alternative solution. Our skilled sales and support staff know what materials are and are not available and offer tailored advice based on the unique circumstances in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. Contact us today to get started.
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