A knowledge based structure for implementing Value Management in the design of office buildings
Value Management (VM) is an organised effort directed at analyzing the functions of systems, supplies, equipments and facilities, for the purpose of achieving the required functions at lowest overall cost, consistent with requirements for performance, including reliability, delivery, maintainability and human factors. This structured method can also be successfully used to define the scope of a project. In the UK, the awareness of the tremendous potential and benefits of applying VM to construction projects has made some clients eager to apply this technique to their projects. There are, however, a number of problems which inhibit the use of this advanced technique in the construction industry. Qualified VM specialists, for instance, are very scarce within the industry, it is often difficult to find them to undertake proper VM studies. This research therefore aimed at exploring the feasibility of building a Knowledge-Based System (KBS) to facilitate VM implementations in the design stages of a construction project. A demonstration system has been successfully developed to illustrate the facilities which would be available to potential users in a fully developed system. A method of allocating project cost against functions of the project specified by the clients has been developed, which could expedite the processes of clarifying clients' brief and ensuring good value for money by cutting unnecessary costs and enhancing required functions. The research has also explored how KBSs can be effectively applied to "open-ended" decision-making problems in which new options may be generated during each session with the system, i.e. the study considered the possibility of letting users extend and customise the knowledge base. The system has been described as a "satisfactory and very promising system" by the UK industrial specialists.