The goal of the designers is to select a system that meets these requirements. Before the designers do this, however, it is advisable for them to question whether the requirements represent the client’s actual needs. Can the criteria and standards affecting the design be made less stringent? After the program has been revised to answer these questions, the designers select a system. Next, it is advisable for the designers to question whether the system provides the best value at the lowest cost. Value engineering is a useful procedure for answering this question and selecting a better alternative if the answer indicates this is desirable.
The Goal of the Designers is to Select a System
Value engineering is the application of the scientific method to the study of values of systems. The major objective of value engineering in building design and construction is reduction of initial and life-cycle costs (Art. 1.6). Thus, value engineering has one of the objectives of systems design, in which the overall goal is production of an optimum building, and should be incorporated in the systemsdesign procedure.
The scientific method, which is incorporated in the definitions of value engineering and systems design, consists of the following steps:
- Collection of data and observations of natural phenomena
- Formulation of a hypothesis capable of predicting future observations
- Testing of the hypothesis to verify the accuracy of its predictions and abandonment
or improvement of the hypothesis if it is inaccurate
Those who conduct or administer value studies are often called value engineers, or value analysts. They generally are organized into an interdisciplinary team for value studies for a specific project. Sometimes, however, an individual, such as an experienced contractor, performs value engineering services for the client for a fee or a percentage of savings achieved by the services.
Value is a measure of benefits anticipated from a system or from the contribution of a component to system performance. This measure must be capable of serving as a guide in a choice between alternatives in evaluations of system performance. Because generally in comparisons of systems only relative values need be considered, value takes into account both advantages and disadvantages, the former being considered positive and the latter negative. It is therefore possible in comparisons of systems that the value of a component of a system may be negative and subtracts of systems from the overall performance of the system.
Value, however, often must be based on a subjective decision of the client. For example, how much extra is an owner willing to pay for beauty, prestige, or better community relations? Will the owner accept gloom, glare, draftiness, or noise for a savings in cost? Consequently, other values than monetary must be considered in value analysis. Such considerations require determination of the relative importance of the client’s requirements and weighting of values accordingly.