According to 23 CFR 627, a Value Engineering (VE) analysis is the systematic process of reviewing and assessing a project to identify the needed project functions, optimize the value and quality of the project; and reduce the time to develop and deliver the project. It also indi-cates that state transportation agencies (STAs) must conduct VE studies for projects on the Na-tional Highway System (NHS) receiving federal assistance with an estimated total cost of $50 million or more; and bridge projects on the NHS receiving federal assistance with an estimated total cost of $40 million or more. It is not necessary to conduct VE studies for design/build pro-jects, but the federal regulations provide guidance for construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC) projects. STA policies and requirements typically mirror those at the federal level. VE studies have been effectively incorporated into the STA project development process.
The VE body of knowledge is largely silent on the topic of right-of-way and utilities. At the state and national level (both federal regulations and FHWA guidance documents), there are only casual references to right-of-way or utilities in VE studies. STA manuals typically include guidance on how to conduct VE studies, but any reference to right-of-way or utilities is brief and without any practical guidance. This lack of documented knowledge increases the risk that VE study teams will lack the kind or level of right-of-way and utility information they need to do their job properly and may be missing unique opportunities to add value to a project.
Utility and right-of-way issues are repeatedly documented as causes for project delay and increased costs. It is imperative to the tenants defined in VE to consider these aspects of project development and delivery. They are critical factors in project costs, potentially offset-ting the VE benefits garnered through the VE process. Therefore, research is needed to develop guidelines for the inclusion of right-of-way and utilities in VE studies.
The objective of this research is to develop guidelines for the inclusion of right-of-way and utilities in VE studies. To achieve this objective, at a minimum, tasks should include: (1) conducting a survey of STAs to examine VE studies practices of right-of-way and utilities; (2) reviewing sample VE study reports and conduct interviews with the corresponding STA offi-cials and VE study teams; and (3) testing the guidelines on pilot VE studies.
The research could have a number of benefits including (1) earlier and more effective identification of right-of-way issues that might have been overlooked by a project team reduces project risk in terms of cost and schedule; (2) earlier and more effective identification of utility issues that might have been overlooked by a project team reduces project risk in terms of cost and schedule; (3) construction delay claims will be reduced with fewer right-of-way and utility issues; and (4) lower right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation costs are expected.