Impact of cost constraints on aesthetic ranking following Target Value Design exercises
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PURPOSE: Target Value Design (TVD) is a project delivery subset that shares methodologies with Target Costing and Value Engineering, but is performed within the context of lean construction. TVD has been shown to generate first cost savings of approximately 20% on case study projects. A concern voiced by some architects, however, is that TVD may produce aesthetically inferior designs. Addressing this concern, we explore whether there is a relationship between cost and aesthetics. METHODOLOGY: Eighteen postgraduate- level university students were asked to design a functional wine stand using a restricted pallet of materials—Styrofoam cups and plates and 8 1/2” x 11” sheets of paper within one hour—(a) without cost constraints and (b) with cost constraints. The resulting wine stands were photographed and then graphically rendered to remove confounding variables, permitting comparisons between them. Over one hundred twenty subjects were surveyed and asked to rank the stands according to their preferences. Ratings were then correlated with costs using Spearman’s Rank-Order coefficient. FINDINGS: We found there was a very mild negative correlation (rs=-0.214) between final cost of the individual stands and their aesthetic rankings. The result suggests that popular aesthetic preference, as measured in wine stand design, is very slightly correlated with higher cost, and that other factors (not investigated) have a greater influence on aesthetic rankings. IMPLICATIONS: The findings suggest that TVD does not necessarily compromise the popular aesthetic quality of a simple product design, such as a wine stand, and similarly, may not substantially compromise the final aesthetic of building design.
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