One thing that is often overlooked by civil engineers (or many engineers/architects for that matter) is the design component of value engineering. What is “value engineering”? Well, simply put, it is taking cost of construction into consideration during the design phase of a project. Sounds simple, but many designers overlook this component. Value engineering can be as simple as having a good understanding of the governing design code for a particular project and sticking to the code when completing a design. For instance, we have a residential subdivision project that we are working on in which we were able to re-visit the water system layout/design and eliminate a significant number or proposed water valves due to the fact the governing code had changed. Eliminating some water valves did not compromise the integrity of the proposed water system, yet, it allowed us to shave off thousands of construction dollars. The savings enabled our client to allocate more construction dollars to “fun” things like landscaping, entry monuments/signage, etc. After all… let’s be honest… given the choice, most people would agree that spending money on landscaping, fencing, etc. is much more satisfying than spending money on extra water valves located 5′ underground! Bottom line, however, is that value engineering should never be considered at the expense of compromising the integrity of the design.
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