Friede News & Updates

Value Engineering: Why You Need It On Your Next Construction Project

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 5, 2016 6:00:00 AM / by Scott G. Truehl

Scott G. Truehl

There is a lot of talk about value engineering. But what exactly is it? And how does it work in your best interests as a buyer of construction services? 

By definition, value engineering was born at General Electric during World War II. Shortages of skilled labor, raw materials and parts forced G.E.’s Lawrence Miles—the father of what he termed “value analysis”—to look for acceptable substitutes. Miles and his team noticed that these substitutions often reduced costs, improved the product, or both.

This systematic methodology was quickly recognized as a powerful approach to problem solving, and value engineering was adopted in many business sectors, including the construction industry. It’s a methodology championed by the team at Friede & Associates.

Value engineering is not a euphemism for “cheap.” Properly applied, it’s a process for analyzing every material and system used in a building to determine where savings can be gained, without sacrificing quality or performance. Viewing a project through the lens of value engineering requires technical knowledge and skillful analysis by the designer and builder. Benefits of short-term savings (materials and installations costs) are weighed against lifecycle costs (maintenance and replacement of materials over a building’s life).

According to industry experts, upfront construction costs account for a mere 11% of the total lifecycle costs of a building. That’s why early decisions have such a critical impact on theHandsPlans cost of ownership. Working together, designers and builders can share their experience and expertise to develop solutions that often result in a significant reduction of costs over the lifecycle—even if it means spending a little more at the time of construction.

We’ve found the greatest value can be achieved when every phase—from preliminary design and specifications to final detailing—is carefully planned, managed and monitored to optimize time, cost and labor efficiencies. When the design/build team works together from the beginning of a project, the right materials can be specified from the start, thereby avoiding unnecessary change orders and staying on schedule.

Drawing on more than a century of experience, Friede has learned to recognize smart and effective ways to manage building costs. To put this experience to work for you, please contact Scott Truehl at Friede & Associates at 608-524-4383 or by email at

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When you select Friede & Associates, you are buying more than our quality-assured construction services. You also get the performance and reliability of some of the top suppliers and subcontractors in the area. While other contractors may be cutting quality to remain competitive on price, Friede is forging relationships with members of the project team to bring you the best value and highest quality for your investment.

Topics: Design/Build, Value Engineering, Lifecycle Costs

Scott G. Truehl

Written by Scott G. Truehl

Executive Vice President & Partner—With more than 30 years of experience in site selection and commercial development, Scott is responsible for assisting clients with not only their project development, but also their site analysis/acquisition, municipal approval and development needs. Scott is an active member and presenter at the international Construction Leadership Network and is a speaker at both national and state contracting conferences on topics including: creating a positive corporate culture; marketing construction services; design-build construction; and working with Realtors and developers. He also routinely participates in “Meet the Generals” programs around the state of Wisconsin and speaks to hundreds of trade contractors each year on how to effectively work with general contractors. For more than three decades, Scott has served the Wisconsin community in various roles: as a city councilman in Madison and Stoughton, as well as on numerous municipal boards, committees and economic development commissions.

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