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Designing for a Budget

"Design for a Budget" - Is the mandate for project managers, developers and contractors in the construction sector.

"Value Engineering" they say in perfect time in an obliviously loud chorus when the design comes in over budget time and time again.

Everybody wants the maximum bang for their buck where they believe that the lower budget they can achieve, while meeting the NZBC minimum requirements, the better right? The answer is both yes and no. The questions needs refinement.

Let's explore this question by looking at the following info-graphic from BIMinNZ:

There lies an interesting insight in which the construction and design budget is 10% of the entire cost of what is being undertaken, in the generation of an asset.

Now', let's take a look at the project constraints:

"Value Engineering" in our experience appears to typically be code for - let's make a trade between the constraints of 'Quality', 'Risk', 'Scope' and 'Budget' - and in the majority of cases whereby the mandate is reducing budget while taking an isolated look at the 9% construction cost, not fully considering the 90% operational cost of that asset.

Budget might also extend to encompass economic factors which are more difficult to quantify such as building users comfort, interaction with a building, with spin-offs of increased productivity and engagement. Or it might be a carbon budget and exacting the environmental cost of the building over its life.

Value Engineering should be weighing up the project needs, benefits and constraints, to get the best long term value proposition: which might well increase the construction budget!

So back to the question, it depends fundamentally on how you ask the question and how you view the project budget. And if the project team can find a way to get that question right, the answers are always much more straight forward. Here are some points to consider:

  • The NZBC needs to be continually updated to keep up with the rest of the world, technology and the ever-increasing public expectations around efficiency, quality environments and carbon emissions.

  • Construction projects need decision-makers who can fully understand and consider the project needs, benefits and constraints while taking a holistic approach to ensuring the best outcomes for today and tomorrow.

SEG have proven experience as experts in their field of building services, we understand the project fundamental needs of the building services, we can perform technical analysis, modelling, paybacks, NPV calculation and advise and guide our clients on solutions with the best long term outcomes.

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