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What is Schematic Design? What is Value Engineering?

Schematic Design:

The purpose of Schematic Design (“SD”) is to document in detail the scope, budget and schedule of the project. The process results in a description of the building’s structural, mechanical, heating/cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems, interior and exterior materials, and plans for the building site. It also addresses safety and security systems, technology infrastructure, code compliance, functionality, long-term durability, and aesthetic choices. SD leads to a detailed cost estimate that the School Building Committee will bring to the Town for a 2-part bond vote (2/3 majority approval needed at the December 1st Special Town Meeting, and majority approval needed at the December 3rd ballot vote).

The Massachusetts School Building Authority lays out the requirements for SD proposals in its Module 4 Schematic Design Guidelines. Here is a high-level summary of what is included:

  • General and specific architectural characteristics
  • Security requirements
  • Site development
  • Traffic analysis
  • Environmental and geo-technical analyses
  • Building/safety code compliance analysis
  • Utilities and soils analysis
  • Descriptions of all building systems
  • Sustainability analysis
  • Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Massachusetts Architecture Accessibility Board (MAAB) requirements
  • Room Date Sheets: lighting, acoustics, # of outlets, security features, materials, technology, equipment, cabinets, furnishings
  • Construction methodology
  • 2 cost estimates reconciled against each other
  • Work plan and project schedule

To see what this looked like for the 2012 project, click here.

Value Engineering

As part of Schematic Design, the School Building Committee, Owner’s Project Manager and the design team will engage in value engineering. Here is a definition of that process from the National Institute of Building Services:

“Value Engineering (“VE”) is not a design/peer review or a cost-cutting exercise. VE is a creative, organized effort, which analyzes the requirements of the project for the purpose of achieving the essential functions at the lowest total costs (capital, staffing, energy, maintainance) over the life of the project. Through a group investigation, using experienced, multi-disciplinary teams, value and economy are improved through the study of alternate design[s]…materials, and methods without compromising the functional and value objectives of the client…VE can be applied at any point in a project, even in construction. However, typically the earlier it is applied the higher the return on the time and effort invested.”

To see the “Total Project Budget” from the 2012 project, including a summary of value engineering considerations, click here.


Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

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