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  • Writer's pictureCraig Drabyk

Design to Budget Early in the Game to Prevent Painful Value Engineering Cuts Later


The ultimate goal of any project is keeping costs as lean as possible while getting everything that’s needed, nothing less. This usually can only be achieved when the client has a clear vision of what they want and effectively communicates their specific requirements to a receptive designer. It is a team effort that requires close, consistent collaboration, adherence to a schedule, and accountability from both sides.


This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s much easier said than done. During the design phase, projects often morph into something very different from the original vision. Once the design has been substantially completed and costs are applied, the client may experience sticker shock when they see a price tag 10-15% higher than anticipated.


What usually follows next is value engineering (VE), the sometimes painful task of reducing project costs to fit the budget. VE may entail eliminating scope, substituting lower-cost materials, devising stripped-down processes, and deep cuts in other areas of the project. Clients and designers are dismayed at having to make unwanted sacrifices and settle for a “lesser” version of the project, leaving everyone involved in an uncomfortable position.


At Omni Instrumentation & Electrical Services, we work to avoid this all-too-common scenario by collaborating with owners and designers from the beginning of a project whenever possible, providing input and budget pricing throughout the process to keep the project in line with the budget. Electrical, controls, and instrumentation are a significant part of any project and require close attention, including continual progress updates and pricing exercises. By following this course, value engineering will play a much smaller role in the end, helping to eliminate unpleasant decision-making crises and hard feelings among all parties involved.

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