Value Engineering in Construction Projects

Value Engineering in Construction Projects

There is no doubt that against the backdrop of Covid-19, the construction industry is facing challenges on several fronts, from rising raw material costs, to labour challenges, to operating under restricted timings and conditions while trying to complete projects within deadlines and budgets. At suc...

There is no doubt that against the backdrop of Covid-19, the construction industry is facing challenges on several fronts, from rising raw material costs, to labour challenges, to operating under restricted timings and conditions while trying to complete projects within deadlines and budgets. At such a juncture, it becomes even more important for project management firms to utilise methodologies to not only meet the challenges, but also offer services of good value and high standards such as more mechanisation and use of local available materials (granite or stones which are locally available). Herein comes value engineering, which helps analyse the project needs and requirements, and offers the same or higher value and product, without increasing costs. In construction, it could mean something as basic as changing the kind of windows used or using technology to monitor efficiency. Colliers aims at a comprehensive process from the concept designing to the execution of the project. Our detailed evaluation on the client’s expectation, the engineering, installations and the execution phases aids in providing a holistic approach to deliver world-class projects on time. Based on the scope and requirement, we have in-house experts such as project managers, project coordinators, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) managers, designers and architects, health, safety and environment (HSE) managers, etc. We deploy these resources on site catering to the project needs. These experts analyse designs, structure and services based on project specific requirement. Having a master plan created before the commencement of any project ensures a systematic implementation of project management process and completion within the projected timeline and cost. Value engineering as a three-step process Value engineering is an integral part of the project management service offering and we believe that it should be incorporated at early stages of the project, as earlier the intervention, larger are the benefits. Design stage: At Colliers, we bring in aspects of value engineering at the planning and design stage wherein we identify the scope of the project, offer clients various construction technologies depending on the type of project. We recommend that a competent agency is involved from design phase itself to provide larger benefits to the clients in terms of material selection, quality, schedule and cost savings. Colliers itself has an in-house design studio with experts who ensure quick turnarounds for the project and align the services to the design that result in better functionality and aesthetics as per project needs. Our design approach includes: Understanding functional needs of the space; devising a strategy for creating the design based on the brief; and enabling efficient design output. Through the value engineering process, we assess the cost, material selection and associated functionality to make recommendations that align with the project’s objectives. We insist on conducting brainstorming sessions with designers, consultants and stakeholders to explore best possible alternatives and come up with solutions that would enhance the quality and optimise the overall timelines and costs of the project. We also recommend buildability analysis of the design with respect to site for successful execution of projects. Procurement stage: At the procurement stage, we determine the availability of specific raw materials and labour and understand their pricing. Further, a clear path of communication is set forth between suppliers, vendors and clients to place the right expectations regarding quality, quantity and timelines. This includes aspects such as any probable price volatility due to market, clauses regarding cost escalation, etc. It is important to determine the viability of futuristic products along with the modern technologies that can be applied in the project. Colliers has categorised pre-qualified vendors with good track-record. At Colliers, we follow the process of e-bidding for final selection of vendors, to ensure best prices and a transparent process. In addition, once the construction work starts on site, the team maintains a procurement tracker to ensure the delivery of material is done on time and the execution process is seamless. Construction stage: At the construction stage, site vigilance is of utmost importance to understand if the construction parameters are adhered to, as planned. Using building information systems for day-to-day construction operations, equipment acquisition and schedules are some of the ways to assure quality and keep a check on unwanted costs. Project management companies also incorporate aspects such as Lean construction method, wherein a developer optimises projects for efficiency while reducing waste. Regular audits can help to ensure the structure’s efficacy and consistency. It is important to determine all construction risk control measures and manage any potential risks by devising a contingency plan for the entire project cycle. Managers should assess any legal challenges, aspects regarding workers’ safety, and ensuring smooth regulatory approvals to minimise extra costs and any delays. Colliers ensures proactive risk tracking and day-to-day management of all activities on site ensuring the quality and safety compliance. At Colliers, our project team understands that each client has a separate set of requirements and each of these requirements are to be catered to. Our team establishes a project management plan before the commencement of construction to ensure everything runs as per the plan. Colliers follows various reporting formats for capturing progress reports, procurement tracking, risk assessment and mitigation, scheduling, cost tracker and safety inductions. Documentation and control are an important aspect of the project management plan as they ensure that every step of the execution is tracked and recorded, which makes it easier for the client to understand the whole process. The use of software for updating the project information and documentation on an online portal further assists in systematic flow of information to the project team along with the client. At the end of every project, Colliers makes sure to document the lessons learnt, which help and motivate the team for continuous improvement and progress. Client feedback mechanism Colliers has adopted a feedback system to get reviews and performance assessment from the clients. Net Promoter Score (NPS), which reflects our customers' experience in working with Colliers, is a simple measure of client satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10. The metric helps us to understand what is important to our clients, what we are doing well, and how we can continue to improve with every client interaction. Colliers ensures that a transparent feedback system is aligned, and genuine assessment is received to ensure that our team is performing up to the expectations of clients and delivering required results. Technology as an aid Technology can play a great role in offering value in the process of construction management. The following aspects can be considered from a technology perspective: Machine learning tools to predict the costs of materials and labour months or even years ahead, to measure profitability of project Mechanisation and automation to improve quality and speed of construction SaaS technology to keep track of deliverables IoT-enabled sensors to track workers, their safety and implement social distancing. Overall, the design, construction and other stakeholders need to collaborate from the beginning of the projects, ie, from the design stage to training and construction to handover. This helps in innovations, newer ideas to improve upon the value of the product and offer sustainable solutions. About the author: Ramesh Nair, CEO, India & Managing Director, Market Development, Asia, Colliers, is responsible for the overall direction, strategy and growth of Colliers India and for developing new services, expanding client relationships, and attracting other talented professionals to the company across Asia. As the CEO of Colliers India, the first international real estate services firm to be established in the country, he leads a diverse team of 3,000 dedicated and well-connected professionals in 11 offices, who deliver real-estate solutions to domestic and multinational occupiers, owners and investors across India.

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