One of the trickier aspects of the English language (or any language for that matter) is how certain words take on new meanings with the passage of time. Remember when tweeting was strictly for the birds and only meteorologists talked about clouds? The same thing has happened in our business with the term value engineering. Somewhere along the way the term became more about cutting costs and a whole lot less about maximizing quality.
At MN Builders, we encourage everyone to return to the term’s original roots because, frankly, we’ve never left them. We embrace the original concept of value engineering in everything we do, and we’d like to devote this space to reminding you why.
What is “value engineering”? (Really.)
Put as simply as possible, we define value engineering as the proactive and continuous collaboration from day one between designer, architect, homeowner, and builder to help maximize the value of the investment. It’s not primarily about finding areas to save on costs (though that is certainly part of the process); it’s about finding ways to maximize every dollar you spend by offering thoughtful options for how best to solve any design, engineering, construction, or budgetary challenge.
Put another way: If you’re looking for someone to simply take your plans and build them, the world is full of great choices. But if you’re looking for a consultative partner with a mission to help you make the most of your construction or remodeling budget, you might want to talk to us. Because MN doesn’t just pride itself on the strong and ongoing relationships we forge with our clients. We have the proven expertise that comes with 3200+ projects to help you always find the best value in every construction decision you make.
A definition with a difference.
What makes MN’s definition of “value engineering'' different is not merely its focus on collaboration and quality; it’s when it happens. Too often today the “value engineering” discussion occurs relatively late in the construction process, usually when the budget numbers stop adding up and tough decisions and compromises have to be made. At MN Builders we believe the best time to start engineering value is at the very beginning of project development because the earlier potential pitfalls can be identified, the more effectively they can be addressed—and the more value can be derived from the decisions we make together. Over our four decades doing what we do best, we have found, time and again, that taking this early, proactive approach to problem-solving makes things easier for everyone throughout the construction process and beyond—from the client to the architect to our subcontractors and, yes, to ourselves.
Superior value engineering is all about choices.
Often when we first look at a project, we’re thinking about the big drivers in terms of cost and schedule. On a major renovation or a new build, these drivers can often be found in the foundation, framing, and building envelope (windows, waterproofing and exterior finishes). Given the breadth of our experience in building different types of projects, we are familiar with methods and materials that can often reduce costs in these areas. If we’re able to be involved with the discussion at the schematic design stage, we can provide menu pricing that allows clients and their design partners to make changes to the design before getting too enamored with initial choices that may exceed the budget. If design and engineering are already in place, we can offer options that preserve the design intent but are more efficient to build, thus saving money.
As we move further into the project, we look to head off more detailed costs. Is there a better way to approach the heating and cooling system for your house? Perhaps. And what about the sewer line in the basement? Do you have enough slope or will you need an ejector pump to do gravity’s work for you? You’d hate to find out you have that added expense late in the project. So would we. That’s why we work hard to help you spot and address challenges early, so you can live easier and happier with your choices for decades to come.
At MN Builders we believe the best time to start engineering value is at the very beginning of project development because the earlier potential pitfalls can be identified, the more effectively they can be addressed—and the more value can be derived from the decisions we make together.
Value engineering is our superpower.
At MN Builders we take a lot of pride in the work we do, the relationships we build, and the legacy we create with every completed project. But we’re also proud of the way we put value engineering to work for our customers. We believe it is our ability to think through even the most complex construction plans and proactively remove as many surprises from the process as possible that sets us apart from our competitors. It’s not just about identifying ways to save you money, it’s about giving you a fresh, experienced perspective and choices that help you maximize your investment. That’s real value. And at MN Builders, we engineer it every day.