Value Engineering in Construction: OUR Approach

What is Value Engineering

Value Engineering first emerged during World War II at General Electric when there was a shortage of raw material, component parts, and labor. As a result, GE’s purchasing engineers often determined that substitutes generally resulted in performing better and costing less than the original materials. Currently, value engineering is generally used in the construction industry and it refers to the systematic and organized approach for providing all necessary functions of a project at the lowest possible cost. Project value is enhanced by exploring alternative design concepts, materials, and methods without compromising the quality and objectives of a project.

Value engineering can be utilized at any point in the construction project. However, the greatest opportunities exist when opportunities are evaluated as early as possible in the planning for the best return on time and effort expended. There are three stages of value engineering:


During the planning stage of development, changes to the project have minimized effect on the schedule and cost, and the project can be developed with fewer adjustments and redesigns. It is during this planning stage that key objectives are defined, a functional analysis of the facility is conducted, alternative solutions provided, and ascertaining if the budget is adequate for the project.


Value engineering is often applied during the design phase of a project. Generally, value engineers conduct a workshop to bring the design team and client together to discuss the prospective design, schedule, and cost estimates with methods and procedures to get the best value for the client’s investment.

Value Engineering Methodology

Value engineering has five critical steps:

  1. Information Phase: Access Owners’ objectives, relevant criteria, and definition of value.
  2. Speculation Phase: Review available information and brainstorm as many speculative ideas as possible to reduce initial or lifecycle costs while still maximizing function and value.
  3. Evaluation Phase: Ideas developed during the speculation phase are formally evaluated. While some ideas are determined to be inefficient or unworkable, while others will become part of the final solution.
  4. Development Phase: Ideas that have passed the evaluation phase are further developed into workable proposals.
  5. Presentation Phase: Recommendations are presented to the clients, users, and designers. It is in this final stage that the property owner determines which value management proposals are acceptable and included into the project with the ultimate objective of reducing costs and increase overall value.

During the construction phase of a project, it is still possible to implement value engineering, but is less effective. The evaluation of these construction value engineering change proposals is evaluated as any other change order during construction to examine scheduling and productivity effects and anticipated cost differences.

At Carden Company, value engineering is essential to improve the functionality of the project and produce savings. Value engineering should continuously be considered so that all possible alternatives are considered for maximum cost savings.