Value engineering can save time and money on any size job, even a multimillion-dollar home. The key is to start early, says Robert Hidey of Robert Hidey Architects, Irvine, Calif.
“We ask a lot of questions initially, trying to drill into budget issues and define the overall direction of the project,” says Hidey. “Most of the time our clients take an active role.”
He recommends that construction costs be reviewed at the conceptual, schematic, design development, and construction document phases. “I’d say 50 percent or more of the time it’s not done that way, and we end up at the back end of a project when it’s very difficult to take significant dollars out. You can always dial back the finishes and minimize some of the ornamental detailing, but the sad part is you’re downgrading to hit a construction budget.”
To illustrate proven value engineering tactics for the custom home building market, Hidey put together this side-by-side comparison of two homes designed in 2002 (before VE) and 2012 (after VE efforts). The concepts include condensed program spaces (no living room or family room); simplified, functional outdoor spaces; a simplified roof structure; and the elimination of recessed and shaped window openings.
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