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Why Perform Value Engineering Reviews?
Highway agencies have been designing and constructing roads for decades. They have taken us from the old narrow dirt trails, to paved roads, and on to the super freeways of today. Designing and constructing our modern Interstate System is something that everyone in the highway industry can look at with pride.
Highway designers can be proud of the fact that our modern highways are the best in the world. However, if we are to maintain this position, we cannot simply sit back and design highways the "old fashion way." We need to constantly strive to improve our standards, methods, and philosophy of highway design. One way we can do his is to apply the Value Engineering (VE) process to our highway designs.
The goal of a VE study is to achieve design excellence. Its objectives are to improve quality, minimize total ownership costs, reduce construction time, make the project easier to construct, insure safe operations, and assure environmental and ecological goals. The VE team is looking for the optimum blend of scheduling, performance, constructability, maintainability, environmental awareness, safety, and cost consciousness.
The VE process is not meant to criticize today's designs or insinuate that the regular highway design process is not providing acceptable designs. This is not the case. The designs being prepared today are good designs, they can be built, and they will function as intended. Highway designers do not deliberately design poor value into a project; yet, it happens. This section illustrates many of the reasons that poor quality finds its way into our highway designs.
Lack of Information
Risk of Personal Loss
Reluctance to Ask for Advice
Rapidly changing technology
Strict Adherence to "Requirements"
Poor Human Relations
The VE review process overcomes these concerns because it uses a team of individuals representing different disciplines who do not have a vested interest in the project. Value Engineering reviews are successful because they use multi-disciplined teams to break down a project into its basic functions and then use creativity to find different ways to perform these functions.
The following steps are used in every VE review:
Value Engineering teams should provide management with as many recommendations as practicable. The recommendations should then be evaluated by staff offices whose specialty areas are impacted by the proposed recommendation. Management must then decide, based on all available information, whether or not to approve the recommendation.