As part of our Design-Build process we focus a lot on value engineering the plans we design. The process of Value Engineering is closely looking at how a plan or blueprint functions in an effort to make the living space as efficient and cost effective to build while maintaining the overall feel and design of the home. In many cases simplifying the plan a little bit can save big money, in order to realize the benefit of Value Engineering it is important to have an experienced builder who has a handle on current construction costs on your team at the start of the design process. This is a great article with an example of how it is done.
Value engineering can save time and money on any size job, even a multimillion-dollar home. The key is to start early with a team that you trust and communicate well with, says Robert Hidey of Robert Hidey Architects in Irvine, CA. “We ask a lot of questions initially, trying to drill into budget issues and define the overall direction of the project,”
He recommends that construction costs be reviewed at the conceptual, schematic, design development, and construction document phases. “I’d say 50 percent or more of the time it’s not done that way, and we end up at the back end of a project when it’s very difficult to take significant dollars out. You can always dial back the finishes and minimize some of the ornamental detailing, but the sad part is you’re downgrading to hit a construction budget.”
To illustrate proven value engineering tactics for the custom home building market, Hidey put together this side-by-side comparison of two homes designed in 2002 (before VE) and 2012 (after VE efforts). The concepts include condensed program spaces (no living room or family room); simplified, functional outdoor spaces; a simplified roof structure; and the elimination of recessed and shaped window openings.
Example Before Value Engineering:
After Value Engineering: