Perth, 17th May 2012
One of the trendy words nowadays is “value engineering”. Not surprisingly many companies warily watch the developments in Europe (will Greece be bumped out of the Eurozone or not, and what will be the consequences?) and how that possibly may affect the economy in Asia. Signs are already showing a slow-down in China and India, two of the major engines in the region. As a result all budgets are being reviewed and “value engineering” is the talk of the town. We are in the middle of some of these and basically it means: how can we seriously cut costs…?
In practice it becomes a catfight between the various consultants and project team members as nobody really wants to “down grade” their design specifications. It’s like the austerity measures in Europe, nobody really likes to give up their acquired status and comfort, certainly if the problems have not been caused by you. In our case it also means redesigning and extra work. So how do we go about it?
First of all we have to define responsibilities. Just recently we had an interior designer come out telling the client where to cut on lighting! Yeah, nice try! Look into your own garden first, mate! We will look after the lighting part! This tactic is of course applied by many…defer attention to other disciplines for savings as to avoid having to value engineer yours! So make sure everyone takes care of their own garden!
Then there is the need to assure that value engineering does not affect any owner/government/operator standards or guidelines, whether relating to lighting levels, comfort or other quality criteria. Of course you can get from A to B with a Bentley or a Suzuki, but don’t ask me to buy a Bentley with a Suzuki budget, make up your mind! So there is the need to establish the type of car (read lighting) that you wish to drive, if I may use a metaphor.
The key of this exercise is to focus on the big ticket items. You value engineer there and the result is felt immediately. Looking at small little components even if individually expensive takes lots of time and has little influence on the desired savings result. Finally I note that we generally design towards the best value for money (at least we are supposed to!). So anyone who can knock of some lights without pain had overdesigned it in the first place!
Light Watch 3-68: There is certainly no value engineering at the recently unveiled new (LED) lighting for the Empire State building in New York if you ask me. The installation claims a pay back of its millions of investment within 6 years… I would love to see that calculation…maybe I am to sceptical but I have seen many bogus calculations to appease public opinion. And do we really need all these colour options on this grand dame?
Have a look: http://youtu.be/AIXRTe5BzQc