You’ve worked with your client to draw up their dream landscape design project. But then you request bids for various pieces of the project. You’re excited to turn this gorgeous design into a reality.
But every bid comes in much higher than you expected.
If this scenario feels familiar, value engineering is probably missing from the equation.
Value is the ratio of function to cost. So, value engineering is all about striking the optimal balance between maximizing function and minimizing cost.
Value engineering (VE) is an exciting process that, when executed properly, delivers value to all stakeholders. Not only does value engineering solve problems, minimize unnecessary costs, but it can produce the best value for the lowest cost.
With construction value engineering, you can maximize your return on short- and long-term investment, identify and eliminate unwanted costs, and ultimately improve function and quality of just about any construction project.
Keep reading to learn more about what value engineering is and how it works.
Edging at Ovation Hollywood - Los Angeles, CA
What Is Value Engineering?
The Society of American Value Engineers International defines VE this way:
“A function-oriented, systematic, team approach to provide value in a product, system, or service.”
Value engineering informs and organizes a process in order to provide everything that’s necessary in a project but at the lowest possible cost.
Because achieving the lowest cost can conjure negative connotations, value engineering is often confused with cutting corners or less creative design elements. But that is simply not true.
After a thorough value analysis, inefficient materials and methods are replaced with more efficient — and yes, less expensive — alternatives, but functionality is never compromised when value engineering is executed properly.
Value engineering is a six-step process that begins with generating ideas and ends with implementing change.
What Is the Main Goal of Value Engineering?
An important goal of value engineering is that form should follow function. In other words, there’s an intense focus on optimizing the functions of various components and materials within a project — rather than placing emphasis on their physical attributes.
And beyond the more technical goals of value engineering, the most important goal is probably building trust with clients. Clients know your business needs to make a profit, but not all clients can say that a business truly wants them to be happy with their purchase for a long time.
A Case Study to Help Illustrate:
At PureModern, we were able to “value engineer” one project to provide a much more logical, effective, and budget-friendly solution for our client.
Like every landscape architect or designer, the customer had a budget. If our team wasn’t dialed into value engineering, the customer would have had to settle for a planter system that did not meet the design goals because of budgetary restrictions.
But with value engineering, our team worked to fully understand how this purchase would fit into the client’s overall design. With this understanding, we were able to recognize that the client could use aluminum instead of steel in the planter design.
The overall cost of Powder-Coated Marine-Grade Aluminum Planters are less than steel.
This meant three things for our client:
- Aluminum instead of steel translated to a lower cost for the client.
- Even with using a different material, the client was still able to achieve the desired planting design and durability.
- They got exactly what they wanted within their price range.
The Benefits of Value Engineering
Beyond the cost savings we’ve addressed above, there are additional benefits to projects that are value engineered:
Faster Turnaround Times. A shorter turnaround time benefits the construction team as well as the consumer. When value engineering is proactively incorporated into the design process, the construction team is able to consider alternate methods or materials that can keep a project on track.
Less Waste. Value engineering minimizes unnecessary waste thanks to gathering a detailed and organized overview of the project.
Higher quality and functionality. Because value engineering involves assessing a project from every angle, design teams are able to evaluate multiple ways to achieve the intended outcome — and often improve upon preliminary ideas.
But don’t just take our word for it, read what PureModern client's are saying:
“I’m in a NYC rooftop apt but no landscapers allowed in the building during COVID. I was delighted to find these commercial-quality planters at PureModern. Rep answered my many questions over the phone and helped me order exactly what I needed. Shipment was prompt, perfect condition. - Janet M.”
“Quality products---beautiful and sturdy. Very thoughtful packaging. Great customer service and the freight companies they contract with are professional and helpful. Top notch! - Lisa V.”
“I do purchase quite a bit of stuff over the net and service is spotty at best. Not with these guys. Phone call follow up and great service. I will purchase based on the service I have received to date. - Gary L.”
“I worked with Eric Gustafson on a project with an extremely tight deadline. He promised me delivery by the 7th. He delivered on the 6th. This hardly ever happens in our industry. My client could not have been more pleased. He was also a pleasure to work with. Product was exactly as expected. I will certainly work with PureModern again and strongly recommend them. - Arthur C.”
"We are very happy with the Modern Elite planters we have purchased from PureModern and the customer service during the order process. In fact, of late, as we are adding more planting to the front of our home (where all the planters are located) we did not even hesitate to order more from PureModern! - David S.”
“Always a pleasure working with you guys. Eric is top notch when it comes to service. Looking forward to doing business with you all again soon. - Leirion”
Modular Trough Planters at Roosevelt Parc in Jackson Heights, NY
The Pitfalls of Value Engineering
When value engineering is used incorrectly or for the wrong reasons, problems can occur, including:
Cost cutting for the sake of cost cutting. If only one of the stakeholders' well-being is driving the adoption of VE, naturally the function and overall outcome of the project is likely to suffer. It’s important to note that there are actually legal requirements that force construction companies to honor the health, safety, and welfare parts of the original design.
Having a perspective that is not holistic. VE is intended to be considered from the point of view of an entire project. If the bigger picture is not considered and VE is used only within a few select areas in order to cut costs, later in the process those adjustments can trigger serious risks to the overall project.
The Value Engineering Formula
The value of any product is the ratio of function to cost.
Function answers this question: Does the item perform the specific task it was designed to perform?
Cost is the amount the buyer spends on the item over the item’s entire life cycle, including replacement.
VE implies that a product’s value can increase due to improved function or decreased cost.
What Are the Steps for Value Engineering?
To achieve the best product possible, VE generally involves the following six steps:
Step 1. Information Gathering to Identify the Main Elements
In this step, we collect information about materials, schedules, specs, budget, and end users to properly understand and define the scope of a project.
At PureModern, the first step we take is communicating with you about your vision for the project. We discuss your design and project goals as well as understand how you are using our products, your budget, and your timeline.
Step 2. Functionality Analysis
For all elements gathered in Step 1, now we analyze the functions of each element and further understand each in terms of the overall project outcome. Functions fall into two categories:
Primary functions are vital to the existence of the final product
Secondary functions are notable, but not critical, to the essence of the project.
At PureModern, we’ll determine which planter material works best for your location and budget based on factors like:
- Whether the planter will be indoors or outdoors
- How much foot traffic will be around the planter
- Which will work best — a modular planter, edging planters, or individual planters
After the material, color, shape, location, budget is determined, then we can create drawings for each planter.
To ensure we deliver what you expect we:
- Consult on the layout and best planter system to use
- Help you decide what planter material is best
- Discuss color & finish options
- Discuss product options
- Create a schedule of items
- Create a budget quote proposal
- Send material samples
- Create drawings (CAD, 3D Drawings)
Step 3: Finding Alternative Solutions
To satisfy the functional goals, we now design and examine alternative solutions. We consider all viable options — even options with significant flaws.
As you provide planters specs for your project, we can provide ideas and alternatives that you may not have considered. We’ll also share links and images of project examples, so you get a better understanding of the product you’ll receive.
In addition, we’ll discuss:
- Setting up a trades sales account
- Design goals
- Scope of the project
- Budget & timeline
- Product options that fit your application
- Product literature & specifications
Step 4: Evaluation of Alternative Solutions
In this phase, we analyze each option to determine how effectively each solution will achieve the desired function when compared against the original solution. The part of the process takes into consideration the buyer’s expectations. After all, value is important but the buyer’s vision is equally as important.
Step 5: Cost Analysis
At this point, we examine how much each alternative solution costs to manufacture and how much it will cost over the product’s life cycle.
It’s common to emerge from this step with three options:
- The original solution
- Solution that costs more now and less later
- Solution that costs more later and less now
Step No. 6: Development
Once the recommendations are assembled with development plans, pros and cons, etc. the best solution is selected. Now development begins on the alternative that’s most likely to succeed in terms of functionality.
Modern Elite Custom Planters at Villa BXV in Bronxville, NY
Value Engineering Implementation Examples at PureModern
At PureModern, we’ve collaborated closely with our clients to value engineer a diverse range of projects. We tailor each project to the client’s goals, project parameters, functionality requirements, and unique to create a solution that aligns perfectly with project specifications.
Often we discover that clients will order planters with add-ons or expensive materials that aren’t really necessary. For example:
Material thickness. The gauge might be thicker than needed to meet the structural requirements of the planter. We can value engineer to provide a range of material gauges for each individual planter area.
Internal bracing. As we value engineer the project, we might discover internal bracing isn’t required and, by removing it from the project, the client can realize significant cost savings.
Material type. The designer or the architect might think they need galvanized steel, but aluminum is comparable for durability and longevity. Plus, it’s more cost-effective. Or the project might call for stainless steel without realizing just how expensive stainless can be. In this case, we’ve suggested a powder-coat finish that is comparable and saves the client money.
Full vs. bottomless edging planter. We might see an order for a full planter but as we communicate with the client through our Four-Step Project Process, we notice that a bottomless application will also work. By value engineering the process, we’re able to provide the client with a less expensive option that doesn’t compromise functionality in the least.
View our gallery to see more examples of how value engineering enables PureModern to deliver exactly what our clients want.
What We Do
PureModern provides fully customizable commercial-grade high-quality planters, fire pits, and containers to meet your exact needs in full, on budget, and on time.
Put simply, we value engineer planter solutions. It’s literally all we do — everyday.
Whether it’s realizing the vision of a commercial or residential project, at PureModern, we have an unwavering commitment to providing quality products to our clients via a seamless, smooth, and no-fuss process.
On every project, we guarantee that our products meet three important criteria:
- Delivering on the intent of the design
- Sticking to the budget
- Meeting deadlines
How We Implement Value Engineering in Our Projects
At PureModern, here’s what value engineering looks like:
We want every client to confidently expect their project to be successful and highly functional.
For some projects, it’s fine to click "add to cart" on a product page and be on your way. But for more complex projects, we want to take all the wondering and hoping out of the equation. That’s why we have:
- A highly diligent team who is happy to walk with you through each step of the procurement process.
- A collaborative, hands-on, and proven Four-Step Project Process that enables our team to understand your needs, customize your perfect solution, and transform your vision into reality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Value Engineering a Cost-Cutting Exercise?
No. This is a common misconception. Because achieving the lowest cost can conjure negative connotations, value engineering is often confused with cutting corners or less creative design elements. But that is simply not true.
After a thorough value analysis, inefficient materials and methods are replaced with more efficient — and yes, sometimes less expensive — alternatives, but functionality is never compromised when value engineering is executed properly.
What Does VAVE Mean?
VAVE stands for Value Analysis and Value Engineering.
What Are the 4 Foundations of Value Engineering?
The four foundations of VE are:
- Function analysis
What Is the Difference Between Value Analysis and Value Engineering?
The two have a similar goal, which is to audit the construction process. The main difference is that Value Analysis takes place after the project is complete and VE takes place before construction.
Should You Try Value Engineering?
Even if construction is underway, it’s not too late for you to critically analyze the project. Value engineering can deliver significant gains at any point in the project. However, taking a proactive approach will save you time, money, and headaches.
That’s why it’s important to partner with companies with a proven track record of dedication to client service. At PureModern, we never stop looking for ways to make our clients happy.
Count on us to be an invested and engaged member of your team from the moment we become involved until you’re completely satisfied with the outcome. Learn more about working with PureModern.