An investigative study of value engineering in the United States of America and its relationship to United Kingdom cost control procedures
The aim of this thesis is to make an investigative study of value engineering (VE) in the United States. The purpose is to establish if current United Kingdom cost control procedures could benefit from value engineering. The study examined the system of value engineering that exists in the US, along with the design procedures within which it prevails. The examination was based on a survey, analysis of fifty-five completed VE studies and attendance at four VE workshops. A comparison of VE practice in the US was made with UK procedures to establish whether VE is supplementary to UK cost control. Any supplementary components were analysed for effective integration into UK systems. This analysis was based on examination of existing UK cost control, coupled with the opinions, obtained by interview, of twenty British professionals with VE experience either in the UK or USA. The study produced the following conclusions, 1) Value engineering originally developed in manufacturing as a broad philosophy based on the technique of function analysis. Adapting value engineering for the construction industry in the USA distorted the technique of function analysis from its original principles. 2) Despite this, value engineering in the United States is effective in reducing construction cost by approximately 10%. However, this saving cannot be attributed to function analysis and is the result of other, broader, factors. 3) The practice of value engineering in the US offers only two components which do not exist in the UK cost planning system. First, VE is an autonomous approach and second it is carried out by an external team. 4) This autonomous approach by an external team is fraught with difficulties in the US. It is likely that these difficulties would also occur in the UK. In addition, British design procedures are not conducive to the application of US value engineering practice. Possibly as a result of this the majority of UK companies involved in VE have developed alternative systems. These systems appear to be based on an adaptation of American practice. 5) Function analysis could possibly be of benefit in the UK. The technique of function analysis however is largely a design orientated process that has no direct relationship to cost. The technique is not independent and it's successful implementation is influenced by other factors.