Here’s another episode in the “what’s in a name?” series.
As mentioned earlier, I do feel the need for a local theater but am not exactly thrilled with the proposed design for the Alameda theater restoration project. The city recently invited bids for the restoration project and the lowest bids submitted for the parking garage and the theater renovation were significantly over budget (by $800,000 and $3.6m, respectively).
What does the city do to shoe horn these estimates to fit the budget? Value-engineer, of course! In the city’s definition:
“Value engineering” entails the elimination of various architectural features and embellishments, such as decorative screens, cornices and marquees on the cineplex structure, as well as one of the elevators in the parking garage.
And since projects of this scope are always on time and on budget, who needs any contingencies? After all, the cost of building materials always remains constant over the life of any construction project and delays are virtually unheard of, right?
Contingency funds on the garage and theater restoration projects, in place as a financial buffer against unexpected costs during construction, were also shaved and reallocated in the interest of reducing the budget.
One of the primary tenets of value-engineering is that quality not be reduced as a consequence of pursuing these “value” improvements. I don’t know what sort of a parallel bizarro world some of these folks inhabit — their actions are sometimes so far removed from reality!