Capturing the Original Meaning of Value Engineering

For many construction industry professionals, the term value engineering refers to an upfront cost-cutting exercise that usually results in a lower quality end product. In actuality, value engineering was first developed to seek the highest quality at the lowest cost for the duration of the product’s entire life cycle.

It was this type of value engineering that an entrepreneur was looking for when they recently sought out MSC’s expertise on a new process manufacturing project that was still in the design phase. Given that MSC is usually called in during the startup and commissioning phase, or when problems occur, it was a surprising request and we were eager to participate.

The facility in question was to be the first of three for the promising new startup. This was to be their beta test module, and they wanted to anticipate and eliminate as many potential issues as possible, setting the standard for the other facilities to follow. Much was at stake, and the owners, who had previously worked with MSC, were determined to ensure the first plant’s future functionality, reliability, and repeatability by having MSC recommend the most robust, reliable equipment and controls that would not add significant cost to the project.

MSC’s first step was to establish what variable frequency drives would be used throughout the facility for both HVAC and process, with the criteria that they are easy to program and troubleshoot and had good factory technical support if needed. Next on the list was to determine the appropriate static pressure transmitters and temperature and humidity transmitters that would be most robust for the application and could be easily field-calibrated, followed by humidifier wands and controls. Lastly, the team discussed air handler and split systems known to be reliable, along with chilled water, hot water control valves, and actuator manufacturers. MSC examined each and every instrument and piece of equipment and provided detailed information on how we arrived at our recommendations.