Value Management Services Save Town $100K
We are thrilled to be in the beginning stages of construction for the new Arundel Town Hall on Limerick Road. The new municipal building will sit on 10 acres (of a 37-acre site), will be 7,000 square-feet, and is expected to cost $2.5mil. It will provide an updated, energy efficient, and more professional space for its 8-10 full-time employees, with all offices on one floor. The design also includes a meeting room large enough to hold one hundred people.
According to town documents, the current Arundel Town Hall was originally built in 1876. It was last renovated in the mid-1970s, and thus is long overdue for a renovation. The new building design includes R-39 insulated walls and an R-55 roof, and will also include the solar energy needed to power the new building generated on site. In a recent issue of the town of Arundel’s newsletter, The Arrow, Town Manager, Keith Trefethen wrote, “We believe this will be the first net zero building of its kind in Maine.”
A Competitive Construction Firm Selection Process
Port City Architecture (based in Portland) created the overall architectural design. Working closely with the building committee, Port City prepared a bid package, which was distributed to general contractors throughout the region. We were one of six respondents, and one of the three candidates chosen for an interview. We were successful during the interview process, and as soon as the town was ready to announce the project, they reached out to us to begin.
Voters approved construction of the new building and the costs associated with doing so in a special town meeting on November 16, 2019.
“Ouellet was chosen as a result of their experience with this size project, their presentation to the committee, and the overall cost proposed for the project,” said Keith Trefethen, Arundel Town Manager. He added, “To date, we have been pleasantly surprised with the work already completed.”
Additional parties selected for the project include Bennett Engineering (Freeport), VHB (multiple offices, including Augusta and South Portland), and Structural Integrity (Portland). The town is also installing a large solar array as part of its efforts to get the building off the grid electrically, and has a separate contract with Talmage Solar Engineering for this aspect of the project. As there is some tie with the work we are doing, we will be working hand-in-hand with them on the solar integration.
Reviewing Budget & Building Goals
A building of this size and scope is something Arundel residents have not had to invest in for quite a while. As a result, the building committee understandably wanted to have control over the budget to ensure the town was getting the maximum value for their dollars. At Ouellet Construction, our process always involves reviewing budgets and building goals upfront, to ensure the construction process is as smooth and effective as possible from start to finish.
“The town is certainly anxious to be in a new building but more importantly, we seek a professional job and a structure to provide the community years of service,” said Trefethen.
When asked about the goals for the new building, Trefethen said they wanted a facility that “will provide space for growth and a large space for various town committee business meetings that must be open for public attendance.” He also said, “Currently, the town does not have its own facility for open meetings; we must rely on the local school to provide that space, which becomes a logistical challenge.”
Regarding Ouellet’s ability to achieve these building goals and stay within budget, Trefethen said,
“Ouellet is a very professional company, providing the town with its experience and knowledge. We have found both Mike and Luke Ouellet to be attentive to our needs and provide solutions in the hopes they will provide savings to the community.” He added, “Ouellet was able to recommend modifications that resulted in close to $100,000 net savings to the scope of the project.”
Delivering Value Management Services
As with any project, we delivered value management services to the Arundel Town Hall project. Our value management services consist of a simple, yet practical 3-step process for maximizing value and minimizing costs. We like to do this early on when possible, so we can save the most money for our clients by determining which products and services provide long-term value and savings in relation to cost of ownership.
1. Project Design & Process Analysis
First, we work in conjunction with the client and architect to perform a high level analysis of the entire project design and process.
Together, we took the time to comb through all documents and discuss intent, to ensure the client’s ultimate goals would be met. For example, the architects and engineers attending the committee meetings agreed to provide additional site visits and inspections in lieu of hiring a Clerk of the Works. This added oversight, combined with Ouellet’s hands-on management style allowed the building committee to feel comfortable not using a Clerk of the Works, resulting in considerable savings.
2. Civil, Structural, & MEP Engineering Analysis
Next, we break the project into pieces – civil engineering, structural engineering, and mechanical engineering.
For this project, we worked alongside the architect to perform a cost benefit analysis, and presented alternative options for roofing and insulation that would provide savings without compromising performance. We also recommended upgrading the siding to material that would require less long-term maintenance. Additionally, the architect was able to make minor changes and improvements to the plans to provide better access to the attic space.
3. Materials Analysis
The next step involves an in-depth review of materials.
We applied the same logic and careful review process to the materials analysis as we did for the design and engineering analyses. One example of value management involved the comparison of using concrete vs. granite curb. By making some adjustments to curb locations, it was possible to afford granite curb throughout.
“I have found Ouellet easy to communicate with and have observed that the project site is well-maintained and managed quite effectively,” said Trefethen. “This simple attention to detail on-site maintenance has not gone unnoticed by the public and I believe gives us all confidence of a company that takes pride in the product they are delivering. We are especially impressed with Dean Ouellet for the site management and work being performed thus far.”
In three sessions working with the building committee and design team, we were able to review each aspect of the project, make recommendations for cost savings, and ensure everyone was happy with the final materials and process.
Value Management Vs. Value Engineering
“Time and resources are limited in the industry and things are happening so fast that people aren’t always taking the time to look closely enough at what’s going into the building,” said Luke Ouellet. “We want to understand why the money is being spent where. We like working with clients that are willing to take a look before the construction process begins, because we want the end result to function the way the client wants and needs it to.”
Unlike the commonly used term, “value engineering”, value management involves extensively reviewing the means, methods, and materials and making changes where necessary – without sacrifice to value. It is not just about cutting costs, but determining where the money will be best spent. In some cases, it may be necessary to upgrade to more expensive, yet more practical and durable materials.
Some of the most significant benefits of value management include:
- Enables a smoother construction process
- Mitigates risks
- Minimizes change orders
- Increases short and long-term cost savings
Mitigating Scheduling Risks
Due to availability of resources and client flexibility, construction began four months early, helping to minimize scheduling risks. And, because of the extensive sitework involved, being able to work in a winter environment created a much cleaner approach to the initial stages of the project. This was just another example of a simple step taken to help point the project in a successful direction.