Putting the value back in value engineering by Bicycle Bungalows Custom Homebuilder Houston Heights
Written For Bicycle Bungalows
Article by Toni Callahan. Professional builder January 2019
Affordability is a pressing issue in our industry. Increasing construction costs and rising interest-rate’s are making it more difficult for prospective homebuyers to afford new homes by a custom homebuilder Houston Heights.
Many custom homebuilder Houston Heights haven’t turned to value engineering to reduce the cost of building but fail to realize that value engineering can be used to alleviate other pressures on affordability as well. In fact, value engineering was conceived to increase value, not to take everything of value out of the home to make it cheaper to build. That’s why it’s called value engineering and not the value engineering or under value engineering. Simply, and more accurately, excessive festival VE initiative alliance your product attributes with those your target customer perceived as having high value
To do the E right, you must know what your customers value in a home. Start with market research for both internal and external forces to really understand your buyers and how they live in a home. Investigate current consumer lifestyles and purchasing trends and conduct focus groups of current customers and prospects who have walked your models (online or in person) but have not bought. What did they like? What were they in different to? And, most importantly, listen to what they say – without judgment or debate – because the goal is to find out if you’re including features in your homes that you perceive to be a value but your customers don’t. Equipped with this knowledge, you can confidently look for ways to align your product with their needs without increasing the homes that cost, which is the true intent of value engineering for a custom homebuilder Houston Heights.
Next, share what you discover with all of the key stakeholders in your operation, including: the architect and structural engineer to inform the design process; sales people who are closest to the customer; purchasing agents who source materials and construction labor; product manufacturers and their supply chain members; trade partners that build your homes; field managers who supervise construction; and customer service representative who field service calls.
Use this team and your collective knowledge about customers to improve efficiency, eliminate waste, and build real value in your production process. Specifically, apply VE by considering solutions such as whole house framing, alternative materials, material utilization, and standardization for custom homebuilder Houston Heights products.
Whole house framing. Start by looking at the home as a system instead of just the sum of its parts. For example, the foundation, floor, wall, and roof systems must operate as one unit, literally supporting one another to deliver a solid, reliable structure. Also, find a structural engineer who understands efficient framing techniques. You want someone who seeks out opportunities to reduce waste into add value by looking at the whole structure as a system rather than using a prescriptive method or taking an individual component approach.
Four instance, advanced framing techniques provide proven ways to build stronger Homes using less lumber. Consider spacing 2 x 6 studs 24 inches on center and eliminating redundant studs, using single top plates on the non-loadbearing walls, and using single header and to stud corners is something a custom homebuilder Houston Heights should be doing.
Keep in mind, too, that dimensional lumber has an insulating value of roughly R – one per inch, so an over framed home is not energy-efficient; I value engineered, advanced frame home, however, create more opportunities for higher R-value insulation materials and Bess better occupant comfort a greater energy savings – two highly valued benefits.
alternative materials. It made makes sense to pay more for materials if they last longer, require less labor to install, illuminate rework, or provide value in other ways, such as indoor comfort and health benefits. For example, fiber cement shake style fighting is more expensive the natural wood shake cladding, but you could buy it in panels to reduce installation labor and scrap waste. It also lasts Longer and woke up, split, twist, or Bow, best reducing warranty calls and rework that undermine your profit margin.
But it may make sense to pay less for certain materials. For instants, replacing a well advertised brand of bathroom fixtures and fittings with a less ever ties brand of equivalent or better quality is a win if your buyer doesn’t value the better known brand. That’s something you won’t know in till you do deep research about the alternative and talk with your customer well before their visit to the DesignStudio. But the lesson is not to assume customers want a particular brand simply because a manufactures sales rep tells you they do. A known brand maybe important to me or you, but that’s not true for everyone. Given the choice between a well advertised brand and an additional included feature resulting from a lesser known spec, your customer may choose the latter.
Material utilization. There is no value in a full dumpster. You’re paying twice for everything that goes in there. First when you bought it and again when you pay to have it hauled away. If you aren’t doing the environment any favors, either. To reduce waste and the associated cost, design rooms based on standard dimensions of materials, such as drywall, OSB floor sheathing, trim links, carpet roll with, standard tile phthisis, and others. Excessive cutting up materials consumes precious labor resources and create scrap that’s off and just thrown away. This is what a custom homebuilder Houston Heights strives for.
Another VE tip: keep slab sizes in mind when designing kitchen and bathroom counter runs. You will pay for full slabs whether you use their in TireLink or not, so it may be smart to alter the links of a cabinet rod or island to fully utilize a slab, or use a cut section somewhere else, such as for a bath vanity or coffee station.
Material utilization considerations also apply to your options program. By offering different kitchen and bathroom countertops at separate upgrades, you’re presenting your trade from using slab remnants across multiple rooms. In other words, you’re paying for a full slab and a bathroom, even if you only need a partial slab that could have been shared with another bath or the kitchen.
Standardization. Try to use products that are readily available in the marketplace, such as standard window sizes rather than custom or special order windows that cost a premium. Standard window sizes also allow home buyers to purchase off-the-shelf blinds and window coverings rather than making special orders. In addition, look to reduce the number of different SKUs and use in a home and think about the impact on the supply chain to deliver them. If manufacturers can make more products of the same size, it enables them to her to set up time and improve production efficiency; it’s also easier to pack and ship. Plus, the local distributor or dealer kid sometimes ship your product on the same pallet as it was received, versus wasting labor to break down every pallet and repack it for your job site.
Other things to consider. Avoid skimping on features that would be difficult for the buyer to add later. For example, it’s far easier for homebuyers to upgrade a basic landscape package after closing then it is to increase the insulation in their walls to achieve greater comfort and energy savings. If it is something homeowners value, make that investment for them, and let them know you did. You can also provide everything a buyer wants through and options upgrade program, rather than including it all in the base home ( with the caveat mentioned in the material utilization section above), allowing a buyer to personalize the home. Unless your sure certain your target customer wants a particular feature included in their home, you’re better off putting it on your options program. Don’t make buyers pay for including features they don’t want.
Value Engineering can be a great tool to align your product with your target customers, well actually making a home more affordable for them to buy. If you have items you want to add to the house, look for those you can easily take out to keep the home affordable. Remember to involve all of the key stakeholders, do your research, and follow the above practical steps in your next project.