How many times in the design development phase, do we fool ourselves that dollars will fall out of the project budget due to astute value management. Some call it value engineering, so it is known as VM or VE. As builders we review architect‘s scribblings and start off withe the preconception that we know better. We can find a way, with our vast construction expertise, to rein in the architect’s vision for the project, save money, yet deliver to the client an unadulterated project.
Well we are kidding ourselves. The dreaded VM spreadsheet starts off with savings as big as telephone numbers and then the fun begins. We cannot change what the local authority approved plans, there may be an end-user contract condition to satisfy, it may even be the sales documentation that some evangelical styled real estate novelist has dreamt up. Slowly the VM spreadsheet total savings reduce. yet we still believe there are dollars to be squeezed out. meanwhile the design is developing, more doors are closing behind us, now the client has developed expectations.
At this point we have signed a contract and of course we are jointly bound with the client to actively seek savings through VM. With the proviso not to compromise anything in the project brief. We fooled ourselves there was money to be saved and find that we won the job on the basis the VM would stack up.
The simple rule is you make money before you start on site, and if any VM is achievable it has to be seized as early as possible in the design stage. Controlling drunken sailors, sorry the design team, is like herding cats, and we have to do it before the scribblings begin in earnest. The cartoon was sent to me by an architect commenting on the way I run design team meetings, thanks Milo.
Cartoon courtesy of: http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com/tag/classroom-management/