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VE Change Proposals in Construction

The concept of Value Engineering (VE) and how it is being used in our highway planning and design program was first reported in Road Talk last year (May 1999). VE is an organized review of a planned project by a multi-disciplinary team, with the goal of improving the value of a project. VE characteristically achieves cost savings and other benefits through recommending alternative designs, materials and methods. Though many VE studies occur during the preliminary design period, they can and have been built into all areas of the ministry's work program, including planning, detailed design, and construction. Two recent projects that achieved VE success came about as change proposals submitted by contractors during the construction period.

Photo of temporary concrete barrier

Proposal to combine detours:
A single detour using connecting
Temporary Concrete Barriers (TCBs)
looking westbound on the 401 detours
for the Vernonville Road structure


Photo of a grader

Full Depth Milling Proposal: A grader spreading RAP windrow over a
macadam base on Highway 33

One example is a Value Engineering change proposal accepted for a contract on Highway 401 just west of Colborne. This contract detailed construction of a median barrier as well as rehabilitation of two bridges that are about 1.7 km apart. The original design planned separate detours for two bridges, the Vernonville Road structure and the Boyce's Road structure.

The change proposal suggested that the original plan for two separate detours be combined into a single detour by connecting the temporary concrete barrier (TCB) for the detours, to the TCB being placed to construct the median barrier. This simple change reduced the number of barrier ends and thereby eliminated the need for four crash cushions. Crash cushions are expensive devices, which are used on the ends of concrete barriers to reduce the risk of injury or death to the occupants of a vehicle striking the barrier end.

The joining of the barriers therefore reduced roadside obstructions (barrier ends), resulted in lower maintenance costs (fewer crash cushions to repair if struck) and saved more than $29,000.

Another productive example of Value Engineering was demonstrated by a recent change proposal f or a contract on Highway 33 west of Kingston. Highway 33 has an old macadam base underlying the asphalt surface. The contract required the contractor to remove the asphalt from the overlying macadam base by milling or grinding the asphalt and trucking it off site. The macadam base was to be protected from traffic damage by the placement of 100 mm of Granular 'A' (gravel) prior to opening Highway 33 to traffic. The ground-up asphalt was to be mixed at an asphalt plant with new material and trucked back to Highway 33 and placed as a recycled hot mix pavement.

The change proposal was fairly straightforward. Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) material was windrowed behind the asphalt-milling machine and then spread over the macadam base with a grader. This eliminated the need to truck the RAP off site to an asphalt plant and provided quick protection for the macadam base. Granular 'A' was then placed on top of the RAP. The virgin Granular 'A' was then mixed with the underlying RAP material with a second pass of the milling machine and compacted. This mixing was done for two reasons: to obtain a workable gravel layer sufficiently porous to water; and, to provide a strong and stable driving base. A final layer of virgin hot mix pavement was then placed on top of the blended Granular 'A'.

The contractor's change proposal added real value to the project. The macadam base was protected and a suitable road surface for traffic was available more quickly. Truck traffic relating to construction was reduced. Significant cost reductions were also made; the taxpayer and contractor shared savings of about $80,000.