the reality check

Value Engineering

This was a new term for me. Do you know what it means? Here's a definition I have come up with. 

value engineering [val-yoo en-juh-neer-ing]: noun. A method of thought that makes you realize you can't afford what you want. See: expensive taste; soul crusher. "We need to consider some options for value engineering because what you want is actually completely out of your budget; you need to be realistic."

Ok, maybe that was a little dramatic. But if I'm being honest, our most recent meeting kind of bummed me out. It was as if Hilary from Love it or List it just revealed our asbestos invasion and scrapped the plans for the en suite, kitchen island, and home office in one fell swoop. Not only do we need to figure out where we can cut things, but the planning process has taken much longer than we originally anticipated. With a tiny house, every square inch of space and material must be allotted for before any construction starts. So that's why you haven't heard an update in a while. Our team has been hard at work keeping the integrity of the original design while still meeting our budget and priorities. 

A tiny house, specifically on wheels, requires some unique considerations. First, it needs to be under 15,000 lbs to be road compliant. With furniture and other furnishings, we need to make sure the product itself is well below the maximum. Our team has been researching low cost, lightweight, and attractive materials that can also travel well. For example, we are looking at a light weight MDF to be best suited for the interior walls. An edge detail will lock full sheets together giving strength and longevity while still allowing for some movement. MAK Construction reminds us that  "our intent is to make this tiny home a showpiece that will not only change the way people view tiny homes but also have a quality above and beyond anything out there." All this research and bidding for a completely new project just takes a lot of time!

Below is a sampling of some ways we've discussed "Value Engineering" to cut costs. We may not pursue every idea, but we will prioritize after the bids are readjusted for each option. 

  • Plumbing: Remove plumbing and black tank for a toilet and instead provide power for Dry Flush toilet. Try connecting kitchen sink to gray water. 
  • Insulation: Replace open cell spray foam with batt insulation
  • Windows: (One of the largest costs): Change 4 panels to 3 wider panels; only have one panel sliding, others fixed; shrink kitchen sink window and make fixed, remove triangle window over main door, tall hallway window to be fixed
  • Paint: Owner to do painting
  • Cabinets: Remove cabinets in loft, remove some closet cabinets to allow for later installation
  • Siding: Use real wood siding instead of lower-maintenance engineered product
  • Glass and Mirror: No glass shower enclosure; draper track at ceiling with shower curtain; owner to source medicine cabinet and mirror

Now, in the meantime, we've been hard at work getting our backyard ready for this thing. Stay tuned for the next post of backyard before and after pictures.

UPDATE: As of now, many of these have been addressed, and the planning process is almost done! We're currently finalizing the construction contract and hope to get started soon!