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Our work - 18/06/2013

Delivering 'vale for money' through Value Engineering: National Nuclear Archive

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) had commissioned the detailed design of a new National Nuclear Archive facility in Wick, Scotland.

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The building was designed to accommodate operational needs whilst providing public access. We undertook a detailed appraisal and value engineering exercise to reduce construction costs. Our study revealed a 22.4% saving in cost (£3.6m) can be delivered. The project has now received board approval to proceed to the next phase – construction.

Ensuring the viability of a statement building

NDA needed a unique building able to accommodate highly sensitive documents in varying degrees of secure storage – some climate controlled – while also providing public access. 

In addition, NDA wanted to ensure that costs were reduced to support commercial viability and ‘value for money’ whilst retaining the existing design concept that had been developed.

We were instructed by NDA to investigate the potential for value engineering the design, to reduce the construction costs without altering the design to the extent that it required an alternative planning application to be submitted.

Finding £950,000 of savings without compromising design

We engaged with the existing design team and tested alternative solutions, using our knowledge of construction techniques. We initially focused our investigation on changes that didn’t impact the aesthetics of the building.

By recommending a different finish for the roof and a more efficient solution for the foundations of the building, £250,000 could be saved with no impact on the original design concept. 

Another £200,000 saving was identified through the reconfiguration of the external hard landscaping and simplifying the site entrances, neither of which had any impact on the visual impact of the building itself.

Finally, by reconfiguring the entrance another £500,000 saving was found which did not affect the space and utilisation of the building.

Cost savings of 22.4% achieved: £3.6m

Our investigations and research enabled us to demonstrate to NDA a 22.4% cost saving, equating to a sum in excess of £3.6m, all of which achieved the dual objective of reducing cost while minimising the impact on the design. Other potential saving opportunities were also identified, which would have pushed the total saving to nearer 30% against the original projected costs. These savings mean that the project is fully viable and can satisfy the ‘value for money’ tests. 

The results of our findings were presented to NDA and the project has now received board approval to proceed to the next phase – construction.


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