A Great Concept (For Marketing)

I’m sure you’ve heard the term, “Value Engineering”, and it sounds like a good thing. It implies that changes in the construction materials to be used, construction techniques, or finishes will result in substantial savings to the client. I’ve had folks even ask me for it. The term sounds like the builder is going to come up with some special ideas to tweak a few things, things that probably don’t really count for much, to give greater value and thereby benefit the client.

Well – it doesn’t exist, it is a bogus concept invented by builders and some other construction professionals strictly  for marketing reasons. You tell a client that you are going to do some “Value Engineering” and the client then thinks he is getting something worthwhile, secret maybe, really special. Oh Boy! this is gonna be great!

What is Value Engineering Really?

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It is just specifying cheaper stuff, nothing more and nothing less. As an example, lets say that solid core doors are part of the original specifications. We do some magic and specify hollow core doors, same style, same functionality, and save a bunch of money. That might be a good thing because the clients doesn’t really care about solid core doors. But why did the solid core doors get into the specifications in the first place? Somebody wanted it.

I have no problem using hollow core doors. In fact, in most of our homes, we use hollow core doors. But the value engineering hasn’t created any value – we’ve just lowered the specifications. Just building something cheaper doesn’t create value. It may help with affordability, but no extra value.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that a person should always pay for the best products or all of the fancy finishes. I’m just saying that there is no mystery or special skill involved when a builder employes “Value Engineering”. Anybody can do it. Just lower the specifications.