Value engineering in urban projects

By Dr. Solmaz Rezaei
Head of research and consulting department

Value engineering is a function-oriented and organized approach that by reviewing and analyzing all components of a project from start up to design, implementation, launch, exploitation and meeting scientific methods, provides the conditions for implementing that activity at a lower cost and shorter time in a manner that preserves or improves the quality, safety, reliability and maintenance capability. Since in the background of each line added to the design associated with a project, there is a decision that can add value to the output of a project, or even reduce its value, the design stage is the best place to apply the value management measures. According to the specific requirements of a city project, value can have different meanings including: flexibility, function, expandability, product maintenance, or even elegance, along with cost reduction.
Based on international experience and the results of applying value management in different projects, each unit spent for value engineering results in 15 to 35 units of saving, which is very significant. Hence, in advanced countries due to the functionalities and practical results, this method is widely used. This technique was first developed by the experts of General Steel Company. Engineering has a history of more than half a century in the world, so that nowadays many countries in the world, realizing the advantages of using this method in the approaches related to the design and implementation of their industrial projects, apply value engineering at first priority in their measures.
Civil and urban projects are the development prerequisites and the basis for industrialization of countries. Considering that designing and planning for their implementation is a function of various physical, social and economic factors, there is always a complexity of problems which the implementation of value engineering in managing these projects can identify and eliminate the factors that will waste time and impose unnecessary costs, without affecting the projects functions. Various factors such as: budget deficits, inflation, implementation disorder, lack of specialized advice, lack of up-to-date technologies and many other factors increase costs by two to three times the average rate for urban projects. For example, the implementation of this method saved $ 460 million in related projects, according to a survey conducted in the US Federal Highway Administration office between 1991 and 1993. Paying attention to value engineering replaces many traditional practices with intelligence and eventually promotes the standards of citizenship. Value studies, depending on the type of urban projects and their impact on the lives of citizens, should be used at important levels such as: the technical, economic and environmental feasibility aspects – projects finances – contract arrangements and the formulation of relationships – the method of project implementation, risk assignment in urban projects. The value engineering curriculum in urban projects consists of three main stages: the preliminary study, the main study and the complementary study. The first stage involves the compilation of information, determination of the study basics, cost model and determination of the study team members; the second stage includes the analysis of the idea finding functions, evaluating, developing and presenting and the third step involves completing the proposed changes, implementing proposed changes, and following up the changes. This process can be used at all stages of the project, but the most benefit is in the planning and designing stage which the employer and designer have more flexibility, and we need to know what as the life of a city project increases, cost reductions are less likely. Of course, the use of value engineering is not always associated with lower prices, but it may increase it, which due to a logical course, improves quality, which is remarkably significant relative to this price increase.