- Environment & Infrastructure
- Strategic consulting
- Specialist consulting
- The Living City
- Happold Consulting
Buro Happold has developed the Value Improvement Process to help deliver best value. This is done by focussing on maximising the benefits of a project, gaining an understanding of the important but more subjective and difficult to quantify side of the value equation.
Our process uses a series of tools and techniques to engage with the values of the stakeholders of a project. In a museum, for example this could include curators, artists, support staff and the wider community. An anonymous questionnaire is used to understand the individual values of the stakeholders. An analysis of the questionnaire results, followed by discussions in stakeholder workshops, can lead to a deeper understanding of the shared values held by the group and the areas of divergence or disagreement. From this discussion, it is possible to define the most important values for the project. This explicit quantification of what is and isn’t important to the client and project stakeholders allows decisions to be made during the design process to deliver maximum value for the client and end users of the building.
The role of the design professional goes beyond delivering value to the direct stakeholders of a project. There is a wider responsibility to society. Public buildings, in particular, shape our cultural values, and the way we interact with each other and with the world. Our values are shaped by our lived experiences, including the media, friends, colleagues, national policy, and our environment. The spaces created by our civic and cultural buildings are part of this. There is a power in a space that is lived in, and when heritage buildings are open to the community for use – for weddings, choir practice, conferences, community meetings or simply as public open space, this gives society a context in which to value connection and shared resources.
The construction industry and design professionals have a role to play in developing a socially and environmentally sustainable society, not only through the direct impacts of construction and buildings in use, but through the messages that are given by the spaces that are created.
Architects and engineers have the skills and knowledge to deliver buildings which reflect stakeholder values. We already understand values intuitively, through discussion of design briefs and gaining a good understanding of clients needs at the start of the design process. The concepts developed in the Buro Happold Value Improvement Process provide a framework for going deeper, for engaging the values of a wider group of stakeholders, and for holding explicit and quantitative discussions about the relative importance of different values. This solid grounding allows our design teams to ensure that value engineering at later stages of the design process does not reduce costs at the expense of the benefits which are strongly valued by key stakeholders. We have recently used this approach in an education sector project to great avail.
We have a vision of a built environment whose development is shaped by values. Of a construction industry which understands the values of not only our clients, but also their wider stakeholders, to be better able to respond to their needs efficiently, and in an environmentally sustainable way. This is a vision of a profession which embraces the opportunity for our public buildings to shape our cultural values and embeds our wider responsibility to society throughout our work.
The end result is a built environment that is aligned with our values and therefore delights those that live, work and play in the spaces that we as architects and engineers create.