Value Engineering Takes the Woes Out of Complex Construction Projects

Bob Pizzano

Inflation. Supply chain delays. Labor shortages. Constantly shifting costs. These are some of the factors that affect the outcomes of commercial construction projects today. One of the consequences of dealing with this overwhelming stack of unknowns is that budget estimates originally set at the start of the project are in trouble, putting the entire project in jeopardy – unless you’re working with a firm with value engineering experience to get things back on track.

Value engineering is a category of work in huge demand today. But what is it? Although it takes many forms depending on the project itself, at its core, value engineering is a strategic plan to modify a construction project in order to bring the overall budget back to what was originally planned for. At Pizzano Contractors, it’s been an opportunity for us to help our clients realize their dream projects by using the creative problem solving and ingenuity that have been at the core of our business for over 60 years.

The Washington Business Journal published an article, excerpted below, detailing Pizzano's approach to value engineering.

Our value engineering process starts with reevaluating what our customers really want and really need in their project. Ultimately, our goal is to make those dreams happen, with whatever it takes. We pick apart every aspect of the project and put it back together again, looking for efficiencies as we rearrange every puzzle piece. One of our favorite recent challenges was for a client whose budget was on the verge of being blown to bits by a wall.

Our client had their heart set on a unique feature wall in the lobby and common spaces. The original plan called for a single manufacturer to create an elaborate, wave-style wall with thousands of wooden pieces. But material and labor costs for the project overall had increased since the original design was laid out, and significant value engineering was required.

One of the things that’s great about being in business for over 60 years is that you get to know a lot of incredible people with skills and talents that not everyone else knows about. Seeing the original design of the wall got us thinking, and we reached out to a small, artisan woodworker we had known for years. Could he make 8,000 unfinished wooden pieces, according to these exact specifications? He could. And he did.

We used our problem-solving and our industry knowledge to create a step-by-step assembly line – the wood pucks, polishing and finishing, gathering the materials we needed to construct this imposing-looking wall. Then, we worked with the client and the team at Gensler to turn thousands of pieces of gleaming wood into a stacked, artistic masterpiece of movement, depth and texture.

Bob Pizzano Sr. overseeing the in-house install of the wood feature wall

But the most remarkable part of our deconstructed process was that, even including all the complexities of our in-house and external labor, the result ended up costing 70% less than what it would have been if we had stuck to the plan.

Value engineering involves taking our skills, our experience, our ability to problem solve, our industry relationships – and, in this case, a well-oiled supply chain of talent, materials and ingenuity – to deliver back the “wow” into our customer’s construction projects, even when budget cuts threaten to eliminate them. It’s one of our favorite things to do in our line of work. And, as long as the construction industry remains unpredictable, we’ll continue solving our customers’ complex problems with the same determination as if they were our own. Looking at beautiful designs and doing whatever it takes to make them happen.

Read the full article.