Value Study Facilitation

SAVE International Value Methodology

BCLLC uses the SAVE International value methodology to facilitate value studies, ensuring that they meet federal and state requirements and standards. Value methodology includes value analysis (VA) value engineering (VE), and value management (VM). SAVE International value methodology is distinguished from the “cost cutting” sometimes associated with the term “value engineering” by the fact that it improves performance while reducing costs. Instead of focusing only on reducing first costs, SAVE International value methodology encompasses life cycle cost considerations, minimizes risk, identifies scheduling/phasing opportunities, and often explores sustainability. For more information, see “Why Use SAVE International Value Methodology?”

Value Study Process Flow

BCLLC Approach to the SAVE International Job Plan

BCLLC approaches its role in the SAVE International Job Plan with a spirit of objectivity, offering the preparation and leadership needed to get implementable results. The SAVE International Job Plan has a well-defined, systematic set of activities and expected results. Through its work on a variety of value studies, BCLLC has honed an approach that emphasizes:

  • Doing the homework upfront and throughout the study that will ensure study objectives are met and the probability of idea implementation is increased.
  • Managing the study effectively by communicating expectations and focusing the study team on project and study objectives throughout each phase of the job plan.
  • Using time effectively by illustrating the objectives and activities for each phase of the job plan and giving study team members the tools to make it easy.
  • Providing excellent documentation that aids owners and design teams in making informed decisions.
  • Making the process fun and rewarding!

Depending on the needs of the study, BCLLC is flexible about its approach to study facilitation, which is described below.


BCLLC prepares for the study by working with the study sponsor—gathering the information needed to help the value study facilitator and team members understand important aspects of the project or process, including its purpose and need, timing, scope, delivery method, performance objectives, success criteria, and challenges.

BCLLC can help study sponsors delineate the value study scope, goals, and priorities—and based on these factors, determine team member disciplines, appropriate length of the study, and the balance of internal project team and external participants needed to ensure a high rate of idea implementation. Since 1990, BCLLC’s Anna Bremmer has worked with a wide range of potential value study team members in the design and construction industry, who can be called upon as needed.

Preparation time can also be used to develop cost models to identify areas of the project or process that have the greatest opportunity for improvement. This is also the time to discuss and communicate expectations of all participants, disseminate available information, and coordinate logistics.


By the time of the study kickoff meeting, the value study team members will have reviewed all available project information, including scope, designs, reports, estimates, cost models, schedule, risks, and constraints.
To get the best results from a study, project team members and stakeholders must be involved in the kickoff meeting. The most important aspect of the study kickoff meeting is to develop an understanding of the problem the project team has focused on solving, the project’s challenges and constraints, and how the project has reached its current status. An inherent respect for the project team’s work is critical to establish a spirit of collaboration between the value study team and project team. The kickoff meeting also establishes the value study scope, goals, and priorities to ensure that the study is focused on meeting project or process performance objectives and success criteria.

Function Analysis

BCLLC uses study time effectively by briefly orienting value team members to function identification, classification, and functional relationships. This helps the team hit the ground running. Using tools such as mind mapping software, Function Analysis System Technique (FAST) diagrams can be completed in a fraction of the time required to arrange and rearrange Post-It® notes on a wall. FAST diagramming helps thoroughly identify key functions that the project or process must perform relative to its objectives and criteria for success.


After walking through brainstorming guidelines and reviewing project or process performance objectives, the fun begins! Value study team members are encouraged to generate a large quantity of ideas for alternative approaches to performing functions while improving value. The team builds on each other’s ideas and leverages the multidisciplinary expertise available in the room. Team members representing a specific discipline often generate “out-of-the-box” ideas pertaining to disciplines outside their own expertise. BCLLC’s approach is to open creative channels—reminding team members that evaluation and judgment comes later.


Based on project or process performance objectives and value study goals, ideas are prioritized for development with an eye on the formula: Value = Function/Cost.

Ideas are reviewed and clarified, then rated and ranked. BCLLC uses a variety of evaluation techniques for the team to identify ideas worth developing, those that are fatally flawed, and design suggestions that have no cost impact. These include performance-criteria-based weighted scoring, nominal voting using colored dots, and others. The team discusses the rank of each idea—the thoughts behind the votes and whether the idea may be important enough to elevate as a priority.


BCLLC balances selecting a sufficient number of ideas to develop so as to not miss an opportunity, while choosing those with the highest potential performance improvement and cost savings. Ideas must be prioritized to allow adequate time for value study team members to develop them—providing enough information on the nature of the value alternative, how it enhances performance, its effects on time and risk, initial costs, and lifecycle costs—for the project team to make informed implementation decisions.

To develop alternatives, BCLLC has carefully designed Excel Workbooks for readability, efficiency, and intuitive use by value team members. It is easy to tell where information is to be entered and information and calculations are carried forward from spreadsheet to spreadsheet, saving time in preparation. BCLLC also lays out the document control and custody process for team members—so that the flow of development, editing, and review is understood and can be done efficiently within study time constraints.

For each value alternative, BCLLC asks team members to answer the following questions:

  • What are the features of the baseline plan?
  • How would the features of the proposed alternative differ?
  • What are the benefits, risks, and challenges of the proposed alternative?
  • What is the compelling argument for this idea/alternative? How does it meet project and study goals? How does it meet performance objectives? How might it better manage risk, reduce life cycle costs, and improve sustainability compared to the baseline? How does it provide value?
  • What special things may be needed to implement this change?
  • How do the initial costs of the baseline plan compare to the proposed alternative?
  • How do the total project life cycle costs (including maintenance and operations) of the baseline plan compare to the proposed alternative?


Presentation Meeting. To increase the probability of idea implementation, it is crucial to involve project team members and stakeholders in the end-of-study presentation. Whenever possible, BCLLC ensures that remote meeting participants are fully involved via the use of WebEx or an equivalent call-in system so that everyone can view the same sketches, etc. projected on-screen at the meeting. At a minimum, all participants should have a copy of all materials used in the meeting for reference.

With rare exceptions, it is BCLLC’s philosophy to have the value study team member who developed a given idea present it to the project team and stakeholders, as this person can thoroughly address any questions that may arise. The presentation itself must concisely convey highlights of the ideas that best improve performance and reduce costs, while meeting project and study objectives. At the end of the meeting, the participants identify the next steps required.

Documentation. BCLLC prides itself in developing easy-to-read, easy-to-use documents. Reports are organized to make information easy to find. Readability is enhanced by using sound graphic design principles, informative headlines, and language that is easy for technical and non-technical readers to understand. The goal of a BCLLC value analysis report is that anyone could pick it up and quickly identify the results of the study, understand how the results were generated, and find well-organized backup documentation needed to make informed implementation decisions.

Software. BCLLC’s philosophy is to capitalize on the strengths of software products to produce the best documentation possible. For example, Microsoft Excel is best suited for documents requiring extensive calculations; illustrating critical path impacts to a project schedule is effectively and efficiently achieved using Microsoft Project; Microsoft Word’s strength is in the word processing needed to generate report narrative; and mind mapping software can quickly illustrate the relationships between functions and processes. When practical, BCLLC encourages value team members to use design review software and on-line tools, such as GoogleSketch that make the differences in value alternatives clear relative to baseline designs. The point is to use the most appropriate software to communicate a concept.


After the study is when the proverbial rubber hits the road—where all of the effort involved for a high-quality value study pays off. When the project sponsor, project team members, and stakeholders have reviewed the project report, BCLLC can work with them to assess the feasibility of implementing value alternatives and identify what is needed to make implementation possible. From there, BCLLC can work with the project manager to develop an implementation plan and provide follow-on support, as needed.

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