Every Penny's Worth

by Alphonse Dell'Isola, Vice Pres.; Value Management Division, SH & G, Washington, DC 20036,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 7, Pg. 66-68

Document Type: Feature article


Value engineering has been used in the construction industry since the 1960s, but highway projects have sometimes been thought of as too simple for VE studies. Now, with the increasing complexities of highway megaprojects, state agencies are embracing the system and reaping handsome dividends. The VE team brings a fresh perspective to the table. They have nothing to do with the original design and they dissect everything about it. The questions fly: Is this overpass really necessary when only 200 cars per day will use it? What should the strength of the concrete be and should it include additives? Should a construction manager be hired? They analyze all the cost drivers, from the schedule to the materials and construction methods. The process is relatively quick, about one week for a study and recommendations. The recent results in the transportation sector have been impressive, and in some instances, spectacular. Indeed, the return on investment has reached as high as 350:1, especially for projects in the $100 million and higher range, without sacrificing project quality.

Subject Headings: Value engineering | Infrastructure construction | Construction materials | Construction methods | Highway engineering | Aging (material) | Overpasses and underpasses | Automobiles

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