We all appreciate Value – today we look at the balance between benefit (outputs) and the cost or effort (inputs) required to achieve it. Value management and value engineering both attribute to increasing value but are often disconnected in terms of their timing and their degree of quantity. The reality is from concept ideas to the final project outcome.
Value engineering (VE), originally known as value analysis, developed in the USA in the 1940s and 1950s when manufacturing materials were in short supply in the aftermath of the Second World War. This prompted the consideration of alternative materials and designs to achieve the same outcome, many of which were then found to perform better at a lower cost. The phrase used at the time was:
“If we can’t get the material then we must get technical solutions while focusing on the underlying needs”.
Value is a comparative concept – different project stakeholders will have their own perspectives on it. In particular, the benefits and costs mentioned above will often occur at different points in the supply chain or vary according to the requirements of different project team members. One of the roles of project management and procurement is to manage any differences in a thorough and transparent way so that the project provides value to the client.
The importance of this role is somewhat the responsibility of the quantity surveyor being central with project costs, but also the surveyor’s position being outside traditional design disciplines and aligned with the construction team to ensure delivered as required.
In recent years GreenBlue Urban systems have often been a target for Value Engineering as we have often seen within the landscaping industry – Green Infrastructure can be the last to be considered and implemented to a development scheme. It’s not that the landscape designs are omitted entirely; more than the long term Value may be reduced if a specified item is substituted by a cheaper alternative that will then provide a shorter life expectancy.
We believe that Value Engineering is more correctly spelt Cost Deferral – pushing costs down the line. Poor landscaping, and in particular tree planting, may not fail immediately, and this is usually not picked up under normal defect remediation measures; proper value engineering should mean that there is no difference to the long-term viability of the scheme, just less costly.
Supplying tree planting products for nearly 30 years has given GreenBlue Urban a great insight into the buying journey for all involved; we are fully aware of the budget constraints that face individual project managers involved. There are often additional costs when complications arise – and sometimes a contractor may then have to rethink a tree planting scheme to save money, that may be unbeknown to the client.
The foundation of any successful urban landscape project comes down to an understanding of the benefits that urban trees offer and the importance of having mature trees in our cities. GreenBlue Urban are passionate about Quality, not Quantity as we often say –
“Right Tree, Right Place, Right Reason, Right way”
Our work with Kenton Rogers from Treeconomics is testament to this; our collaborative publication Cost-Benefit Analysis highlights the annual benefits of standard street planting to urban trees planted in the GBU RootSpace ArborSystem system over a 50-year period.
With in-house technical support, an array of free online resources including our Tree Pit Design tool and award-winning case studies we have the knowledge to support at the design stage to assist throughout to ensure client specifications are met and installed per the project framework.
GreenBlue is fully aware that there are cheaper tree planting media alternatives – however, we would stress the reputation of the client, specifier and of course, the contractor is of utmost importance to have successfully planted schemes for all who live play and work in the urban environment.