Stronger, Better, Cheaper!
Many times a job is spec’d out a certain way because “that’s how it’s done”, or because the designer or owner is more comfortable with a particular type of design. But just because a design works, doesn’t mean it’s the best option or the cheapest. Often times considerable cost savings can be had by all parties involved if alternative designs are considered, a process referred to as “value engineering.”
The first step in value engineering is to review the existing designs, and to identify alternative designs that might work given the project contraints. Then calculations and other design work must be done as well as a detailed cost estimate for each alternative. On large jobs, savings of a few pennies per unit (sq. ft, cubic yd., etc.) can mean millions on the entire project!
One of the most difficult things in value engineering is working with the owner and other relevant parties, convincing them of the technical and financial merits of a particular value engineering proposal. These situations really give NCS a chance to shine. We can use our technical expertise not to confuse but to enlighten the owner, and explain why accepting the value engineering proposal is in their best interests. And our background and contacts with the FHWA and various departments of transporation help us to understand the reasons and history for their policies and specifications, and work within them, and when appropriate, make a case for variances that could save millions.
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