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Construction Program Guide
Value Engineering Change Proposals (VECPs)
Value Engineering (VE) is defined in 23 CFR Part 627.3 as "the systematic application of recognized techniques by a multi-disciplined team to identify the function of a product or service, establish a worth for that function, generate alternatives through the use of creative thinking, and provide the needed functions to accomplish the original purpose of the project, reliably, and at the lowest life-cycle cost without sacrificing safety, necessary quality, and environmental attributes of the project."
The VE technique can be used during either the pre-award or post-award phases of a project. The FHWA's Value Engineering web page contains details about the pre-award.
Value Engineering Change Proposals (VECP) are post-award value engineering proposals made by construction contractors during the course of construction under a value engineering clause in the contract. The Federal-aid Policy Guide, FAPG G011.9, defines VECPs as "a construction contract provision which encourages the contractor to propose changes in the contract requirements which will accomplish the project's functional requirements at a less cost or improve value or service at no increase or a minor increase in cost. The net savings of each proposal is usually shared with the contractor at a stated reasonable rate."
Authority/Legal Basis for VECPs
The States' (also referred to as "SHA") requirements for conducting VE analyses at the preconstruction phase for projects are detailed in 23 USC 106 (e) and (g). It should be noted that the definition of VE found in this section, which specifically refers to design, is different than the definition referenced above from 23 CFR 627.3 which is not limited to design.
It should also be noted that, unlike the use of VE during design, there is no specific requirement in federal highway law for the use of value engineering clauses in construction contracts. The application of VE during construction is instead addressed by regulations and other means.
The regulations establishing the Value Engineering Program (23 CFR Part 627) contain several clauses relative to the use of VECPs:
DOT Order 1395, Paragraph 6.b(2).1, A use of Value Engineering in the Department of Transportation, dated May 8, 1992, contains the following discussion: "Each DOT Operating Administration should strongly encourage the use of VE in its grant awards or Federally assisted programs for major transportation projects throughout the planning, design and/ or construction phases. This may include the use of VE proposals as a result of VE studies/analyses as well as VE incentive clauses in construction contracts."
The Office of Management and Budget's Circular No. A-131 requires Federal Departments and Agencies to use VE as a management tool, where appropriate, to reduce program and acquisition costs. The Circular recognizes VECPs as a VE provision under the Federal Acquisition Regulations, and identifies VECPs as information that should be included in each agency's VE Program.
The Federal Aid Policy Guide states that the FHWA "will strongly encourage State Departments of Transportation to use VE throughout highway project development, design, and construction." The States are strongly encouraged to include VECP clauses in construction contracts to encourage contractors to propose changes during construction which will result in a product of better value at the same or lesser cost with an appropriate sharing of costs with the State.
More information regarding the use of VECP clauses used in Federal-aid construction contracts is available by contacting the Departments of Transportation. The currently available VE web sites of some States may contain examples of clauses used.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Part 48 - Value Engineering (Subpart 48.10 and 48.202) is applicable to construction projects administered by the Federal Lands Highway offices.
Subsection 103.03 of the Standard Specifications for the Construction of Roads and Bridges on Federal Highway Projects (FP-03) contains the requirements for Value Engineering for Federal Lands Highway contracts, and references FAR Clause 52.248-3 Value Engineering - Construction.
The application of value engineering during construction is addressed both in the National Highway Institute's Value Engineering Workshop and the FHWA Contract Administration Core Curriculum (a Participant's Manual for this course is available for review).
Additional Information on VECPs
The FHWA's Annual VE Accomplishment Report contains data on the number, value of the savings achieved, and implementation rate of VECPs . The Fiscal Year 2008 edition of the report also includes a discussion of successful practices in the administration of VECPS.