Use of value engineering to develop creative design solutions for marine construction projects

Pingbo Tang, Robert B. Bittner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper examines the potential of value engineering (VE) as a problem-solving tool for addressing various challenges in the marine construction industry. Through a review of large numbers of challenging engineering problems in the marine environment, the authors identified various complications caused by dynamic and uncertain marine environments in both the prebid and postbid stages of construction projects. These unexpected challenges required the project team to identify optimal solutions in a comprehensive and efficient manner. In past construction projects, a 10-step approach was designed and used by the authors to identify solutions for unexpected engineering problems. The approach has three limitations: (1) it is an informal and time-consuming process involving possibly redundant communications and coordination; (2) it is not specific and detailed enough to ensure that the optimal solution is in fact considered and selected in a comprehensive and efficient manner; and (3) it does not integrate standard metrics other than the estimated cost that can be used to quantitatively evaluate the performance of a solution in terms of productivity, quality, safety, and environmental impact. This paper first presents the current 10-step process for solving marine construction problems and limitations of this process. The paper then describes the VE seven-step process and highlights how the VE process and the 10-step approach share the same structure. All steps in the VE process can find correspondences in the 10-step process, whereas VE methodology formalizes the value of a solution and quantitative performance metrics to harvest and evaluate ideas from groups of engineers in a more systematic manner. Based on this shared structure, the paper discusses how to augment the 10-step approach with the VE methodology to achieve more comprehensive and efficient problem solving. Using a case study, the authors explain how such augmentation can effectively integrate the knowledge and experience of groups of engineers with diverse backgrounds in marine construction. Finally, the paper suggests future directions for using VE for marine construction projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalPractice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014


  • Coastal engineering
  • Construction management
  • Offshore construction
  • Value engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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