October 18, 2017

Curb construction project costs through value management

Improvements in the construction process as well as the function of a building can be achieved through a highly underrated process called value management.

The value management process is ideal to improve a project’s function, streamline the construction process, highlight potential future problems and reduce capital costs as well as operational expenses in all spheres of construction: civil, industrial, mining, and energy projects, to name a few.

“Value management is a broader view of the better-known term value engineering,” explains Chris de Wet, Value Management Advisor at the Association of Quantity Surveyors of South Africa (ASAQS).“It is a process that can determine whether a different way of designing, constructing, procuring and thinking is needed.”

The process includes a complete value analysis of all components as well as the consideration of alternative material and process selection. It should ultimately result in savings and operational efficiency that ensures the client derives the most financial value from a project.

Although it is not their exclusive domain, experienced and registered professional quantity surveyors are ideally suited to facilitate the value management process.

“During the facilitation process each professional team member should be given an opportunity to present their project objectives, design ideas, and assumptions,” says De Wet. “Active participation from all attendees – team members, stakeholders, outside specialists, and the client – is crucial to the success of the process.”

The person in the facilitating role should encourage collaboration by giving everyone time to question the objectives and assumptions that have been proposed, as well as to investigate the purpose and function of various building elements and alternatives.

Each proposal can be prioritised and then evaluated based on a number of variables, such as its performance enhancing capabilities, operational efficiency, material and labour costs, and so forth, without compromising on the performance or integrity of the building.

Value management principles are not being applied as often as they should due to tight deadlines and fast-tracked construction schedules, among others. A value management approach requires that a professionals commit extra time for the strategy and integrated analysis.

“When professionals in a project team can join forces, flesh out assumptions, propose alternatives and evaluate options based on different areas of expertise, the results can be very rewarding for the entire project and ultimately the client,” says De Wet.

“When implemented effectively, value management can not only save time and money, but also identify and resolve potential future problems before they arise. It also has the ability to create closer team work, better communication, co-ordination and delivery amongst the professional team.”

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