Emad W.Shublaq, Ph.D (Leeds), CPEng. CVS-Life, F.IEAust., F.ASCE, F.SAVE, F.AITD Professor of Value management, Western Sydney University
Over the past decades, and probably till recently, Architectural engineers or Architects have been the prevailing influence on engineering practice in Australia, and, perhaps, in neighbouring countries, as far as building design is concerned.
The Architectural engineer’s or Architect’s power lies in their dominating impact on design through its various stages: conceptual, schematic and design development.
In most instances the Architect remains firmly committed to the original concept, invite no sharing of ideas at any stage and accept no criticism. Some stakeholders see the Architect as an untouchable person in the engineering team. In other words no one dares to suggest, or amend proposals or make observations which might add value to the project, or part of it, in case this might ruin the Architect’s creativity and imagination.
The horrifying scenes and nightmares affecting many Australians recently, during, or as a result of, heavy rains and storms, have revealed the poor quality of building and structure design, which, in turn, reflects the poor and nutshell design and the lack of sustainability approach. This suggests that our fellow Architects are the first culprit in this failure.
Selling products to clients is an essential part of Architectural competitions among well known Architects (Sir Norman Foster, Zuha Haded, Cezar Pelli, Ardian Smith and Minori Yamasaki and others) and their offices but we should remind our fellow Architects of the following principles:
- Design to Cost, and According to allocated Budget 2. Make it ADS (Affordable, Durable, and Sustainable). This means that Architects should always remember, especially when designing small to medium units or houses that they are not in a competitive race to attract or impress the jury with their products or goods (using different colours, Greek arches, and Victorian columns!) at no reasonable construction life cycle cost!
- The second message to our fellow architects is you should expect Value engineering/management input at any time during the project design stage (not denigrating the original concept but rather controlling the allocated cost versus design efficiency and effectiveness).
In Value engineering techniques, a Certified Value Specialist (CVS) or Value Management Facilitator (VMF) works are together with the Architect and crew, in a supportive manner, aiming to enhance the project’s value, and improving design quality and performance, at reasonable and affordable cost to the client/s.
Under no circumstances, should the Value engineer/s have the intention of competing with the Architect, jeopardising the project or under-estimating the Architect’s talents and skills.
Finally, Value engineering methodology is not a cost reduction technique but rather a powerful management tool to:
- Solve problems,
- Make right decisions,
- Control project costs from inception to completion,
- Get rid of unnecessary costs, and finally
- Improve project quality, performance and sustainability