Adding value to value management in Civil Engineering

Value management (VM) has always been an essential part of any sound civil engineering design response.

Recently, though, it has become even more critical due to factors such as:

  • Procurement issues
  • Volatile material costs
  • Labour costs
  • A broad shift to greater sustainability

VM in civil engineering is a two-part effort in today’s landscape.

First, engineers must identify and highlight potential solutions that add value, including green value. Second, they must manage those solutions to make sure value is continually delivered and without compromise on safety or quality.

As engineers, we are responsible for ensuring that designs meet sustainability goals while remaining true to the client’s vision. Builds must be energy efficient and use the most sustainable materials possible.

Reaching these ideals can be hard, especially when it’s all too easy to rely on tried and tested designs, methods and materials.

Peer reviews are one of the best ways to ensure good VM

The value of robust peer reviews in civil engineering cannot be understated. Peer reviews:

  • Identify any technical issues in drawings
  • Find opportunities to improve cost-efficiency and safety
  • Help ensure compliance
  • Pinpoint ways to improve constructability
  • Avoid the discovery of costly mistakes at post budget approval, tender award or mid-construction

Fyfe Civil Section Manager and Technical Reviewer Zach Collins notes, “countless peer reviews that I’ve undertaken support the general view that engineers are risk averse. At Fyfe, we have the tools and experience to challenge this and seek to make design solutions work harder.” 

Rising construction costs mean clever engineering design is paramount

Civil engineers must move with the times and employ the latest software and modelling tools.

They should also keep an eye on the global market for construction products and materials that can offer real value to a project. For instance, importing select leading-edge European products, not on the Australian market can unlock substantial savings in overall build cost and maintenance.

An innovative approach, one that shuns ‘lazy’ design, is the best way to create real value.

Instead of falling back into old design habits, civil engineers should look into options such as bespoke construction detailing and the use of lesser known, technically advanced products and materials.

Another aspect of clever design is the undertaking of peer reviews at key junctures throughout the project. Designs should be examined by multiple sets of eyes both internally and externally. 

The benefits of innovative design

A general market shortage of engineering services can mean clients stick with a familiar provider, even if they’re not delivering value.

For engineering consultancies, relying on staid design solutions is a risky strategy though.

Today’s fluctuating construction costs and longer lead times for products and materials are making it very clear which consultancies are moving with the times and stepping out of their comfort zones, and which are not.

As engineers, we should rise to the challenges and aim to innovate and create solutions that not only deliver value to clients, but also encourage greater innovation across the field as a whole. 

Value management is an opportunity for safety management

Safety and value can and should be viewed as interrelated concerns. For example, by reducing the need for large excavations to facilitate the installation of an over-engineered solution, we can help mitigate the safety hazards associated with these activities.

Safety in Design (SiD) reporting should form a key part of any civil engineering design service. All design solutions should be safe to construct, and any residual risks must be clearly communicated.

Expert third-party peer reviews can help identify any safety risks missed in-house.

Our work in civil engineering

Fyfe has civil engineering teams working in several states. Our most recent team is now fully established in Melbourne, delivering value on a range of projects for clients and providing in-depth peer reviews to developers, builders and other engineering consultancies.

The Melbourne Civil team has been formed by a select core of former colleagues, with a proven track record of delivering safe, value-managed and compliant designs across the country and internationally.

Our other teams can be found hard at work in the Northern Territory and South Australia.

Fyfe’s Melbourne team is committed to upholding our core principles for engineering design:

  • We keep ahead of the curve
  • We employ the latest software, construction materials, and proprietary products
  • We operate nationally and are active members of the project design team
  • We challenge lazy design wherever we see it
  • We believe true value exists outside of the comfort zone


If you need assistance with any civil engineering project, or you need a robust technical peer review service, please contact us today.