Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (Federal FY 97)

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet began a Value Engineering Program late 1995 in response to proposed FHWA rule requiring Value Engineering. The National Highway System (NHS) Designation Act of 1995 requires states to perform Value Engineering studies on all federal-aid highway funded projects on the NHS with an estimated total cost of $25 million or more.

Value Engineering (VE) is a tool that can provide cost reduction, product or process improvement, and alternate means and materials for construction and maintenance. It is not a typical cost reduction program in that it does not cheapen or cut corners with the product or service. VE is not routine project or plan review. The purpose of Value Engineering is to achieve design excellence. Its objectives are to improve quality, minimize total ownership costs, reduce construction time, simplify the construction process, insure safety, and meet environmental goals.

VE Study teams are composed of a team leader and five to eight team members. The team members are selected to provide a multi-disciplined team so that all relevant issues involved in the project can be examined. The team members generally have no direct involvement in the design or review of the project. The VE study teams are independent of other design review processes.

The VE study teams proceed through five phases during a study. They investigate the project by reviewing project information, discussing issues with the designers, and visiting the project site. This also generally involves identifying the high cost items of the project. Next, they speculate, or brainstorm, on alternate methods or materials to provide the required functions of the project. Third, the team evaluates these brainstormed ideas to select the best alternates for the next phase. The best alternates are developed in the fourth phase. Sufficient engineering and cost estimation are performed in the development phase to show that the alternate is a workable and feasible idea. The final team phase is the presentation of these ideas to the designers and decision makers. The presentation phase includes both an oral presentation and a written report.

The Value Engineering staff also conducts post construction reviews on projects. Approximately 36 reviews (three per district) are conducted each year. These reviews attempt to pull designers, construction personnel, operations personnel, contractors, and others together to discuss the construction of a project. Discussion of the projects attempts to identify areas where operational aspects of the roadway can be improved, construction plans can be clarified, or typical design details can be improved. A “lessons learned” database of comments from post construction reviews is being compiled in order to help designers identify areas where roadway designs and plans can be improved.

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