Monday, March 7, 2011

Will BIM eliminate the need to perform VEs?

Am I alone in my thinking that there is something fundamentally wrong in having to perform ‘value engineering’ in the late design stages of creating-buildings?

Reminds me of “reading recovery”. A couple of years ago I was on the Board of Trustees of a NZ school.
We celebrated how good we had performed “reading recovery” on children in years 5 and 6.
‘Developed in New Zealand, Reading Recovery is widely implemented in English speaking countries’ they say, and it is supposed to significantly reduce the number of children with literacy difficulties.
I might accept the necessity for this in the first couple of years of learning to read – but 5th and 6th?

There operates quite a nice industry of Value Engineers in AEC.
They promote coming in at later design stages, do workshops and through systematic methods redesign the project to achieve the optimal functions at the lowest possible cost.
Some accept it being a cost-cutting exercise, though many claim it is not.

If I was a building owner, I’d say:
‘Hello! There is something wrong with needing to do VE following buckets of time and money spent on experts designing the thing in the first instance!’.

What has VE got to do with BIM?
Well implemented BIM will totally eliminate the need for what currently goes under the name of VE in building design!


  1. Hi,

    I think BIM might have some influence in reducing VE, but there will be more impact from implementing integrated approaches I think.

    Having the construction team working together with the designers on an early stage will reduce if not eliminate the need of value engineering. I think BIM will support this approach by allowing faster and more accurate cost estimates on design options, but BIM by itself will not be enough, I think.

  2. Yes, it should. However, VE is such a broadly used term that assuming it can be eliminated by using BIM is in my eyes too simplistic. VE can include anything from reducing floor-to-floor height to substituting stainless steel toilet partitions by plastic laminate ones.
    For the floor-to-floor reduction, any wasted space should be found during normal coordination sessions; no VE needed.
    Other countries/languages have no expression for VE, but are under a similar pressure to stay within their budgets for the projects. And this is where I think VE will have a lasting lifetime: a perfect opportunity for clients to have a good look how their money is spent.