About VA

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

About VA Applications VA Phases Functions Common

About VA

Value Analysis follows a structured process, relying on the analysis of Function and Value to identify alternative solutions that provide better value. Some of the key success elements of VA include:

  • A recognition that there are multiple solutions to every real-world problem,
  • A structured, multi-phased process designed to generate creative alternative solutions,
  • Function Analysis which clearly defines the problem, explains how the current solution addresses the needs, and separates the problem from the solutions,
  • A multi-disciplinary team with different perspectives and expertise working together,
  • A positive, supportive and collaborative workshop environment that encourages creativity and the innovation,

All under the guidance of a skilled VA Study Leader to guide the team through the VA process.

Watch Value Analysis in a Nutshell for a short video produced by VDI - the Association of German Engineers. 

Value Analysis was originally developed in the United States in the 1940's and has been practiced in Canada for over 40 years. Canadian businesses have used Value Analysis for cost reductions, product improvement, manufacturing improvement and as a project management tool since General Electric introduced Value Engineering into Canadian Manufacturing in the fifties VA is used extensively in other parts of the world, notably in Japan and South Korea with Samsung making extensive use of Value Engineering in their Value Improvement Centres. Value Analysis Canada celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2013.

The cost of a VA study is largely dependent on the length of the study, and the size and make-up of the study team. The most typical length for a VA study is 3-5 days, however that duration can be adjusted based on the scope and cost of the project, product, or process under review. Similarly, the size and makeup of the study team should be adjusted to the requirements of the study. For most VA studies, a qualified VA Practitioner is engaged. The inclusion of outside subject matter experts provide many advantages but also impacts the cost of the study.

This website provides a number of free publications introducing various techniques and applications of Value Analysis, The links selection, will direct you to a number of organizations which use or provide training in Value Analysis, and to other value societies, including SAVE-International.

The Value Training, and Events, and Conference selections will show upcoming and recent training and other Value Analysis opportunities, including CSVA's Annual Conference where you can learn from and meet leading Value Analysis users and practitioners.

By joining VAC, you gain access to additional resources, and become part of the family of Value Analysis users and experts in Canada and the world.

Function Analysis is what distinguishes Value Analysis from other problem solving and optimization techniques. Function analysis enables the needs to be abstracted from the current solution or the current object.

Object oriented design or item oriented analysis involves asking how this object or item can be improved. This orients thinking on the current solution.

In function analysis, the specific need performed by the product, process or project is expressed in a verb-noun combination.

In the example below, the item being improved is a chair and in item oriented analysis the chair is optimized but the solution is still a chair. In function analysis the question is asked, how can we support weight. Abstracting to “support weight" stimulates creativity and leads to a broader range of innovative solutions.

Comparing Item Oriented to Function Oriented Techniques

"Value Management is a structured means for achieving better business decisions; which can be supported by all stakeholders; improved products and services; enhanced competitiveness by facilitating innovation".

M. Thiry, PMI Fellow, Author, A Framework for Value Management Practice

Value Management, Value Analysis, and Value Engineering all refer to the same process.

Value Engineering Change Proposals (VECP) are often an element of procurement processes, in which suppliers or vendors are invited to submit alternatives for the supply of products or services which result in a lower cost than the specified deliverables. The alternatives may involve changes in methods, materials or design. Cost savings are generally shared between the supplier and the owner.

Although the concept of Value Engineering Change Proposals originated as an extension of Value Analysis / Value Engineering, not all VECP are developed using Value Analysis workshops.


Value Analysis is an extremely flexible tool, and is used by government, industry, businesses and individuals who need a reliable process to foster innovation solutions. A number of examples of VA applications are discussed in articles throughout this website and are highlighted in the proceedings from our conferences.

Value Analysis is used in the following sectors:

  • Manufacturing, Resource Extraction, and Construction
  • Information Technology and Business Solutions
  • Infrastructure including transportation, buildings, utilities, water and wastewater
  • Service Delivery and Business Improvement
  • Aerospace, Automobile, Electronics, and other manufacturing industries

Watch Working Together and Value Engineering produced by Rijkswaterstaat, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment for a short video on how VE is applied to infrastructure.

Value Analysis can improve any type of Project, Product or Process. The decision to undertake a study should consider the cost of undertaking the study, relative to the benefits anticipated. Studies of major infrastructure projects routinely achieve returns on investment in excess of 10:1. In manufacturing, the benefits of VA studies of a low cost item can be multiplied over the life of the production. Similarly VA studies of organizations provide long term organizational and business process improvements. The length of the study, and size of the study team should be tailored to the needs of an individual study. A Value Analysis practitioner will be able to recommend an approach and anticipated benefits of VA for a specific application.

Further information on the benefits of Value Analysis, Value Engineering and Value Management can be found in What are the Benefits of Value Analysis.

The not for profit sector can use value management as a visioning process. Applying VM enlist key stakeholders, volunteers, and influencers in developing a common vision, strategy, or plan. For more information on how the not for profit section used Value Management in developing a plan for social housing visit https://youtu.be/q_ySvv4TKyg


Even the best designs and processes can be improved upon. Value Analysis is an effective approach to finding creative, and innovative approaches that are not always identified by traditional planning, design and product development processes. Leading Project Management organizations, including The Project Management Institute, identifies Value Management as a Best Practice for project management.

VA is a structured approach to innovation. The VA process enables teams to step away from the current solution or process and ensure that good value is achieved. A VA program in an organization creates a climate that welcomes ideas.

For more information download Value - a Key Ingredient of Business Decisions

VA Phases

The Development Phase involves exploring in detail the ideas selected in the Evaluation Phase.

The process involves obtaining costs, creating drawings, schedules and any other data that will allow the idea to be compared to the original solution. The objective of the Development Phase is to develop the idea/alternative in sufficient detail for the idea to be compared the originally proposed solution. This will enable the owner or decision maker to make a knowledgeable decision on whether to accept and implement the proposal.


An online function thesaurus is available from the Lawrence D. Miles foundation that identifies typical functions for a items or project elements. Project elements can be searched for typical functions. Typical functions are also shown in tabular format under:


Function Analysis is an essential element of the VA process. Function Analysis provides a unique understanding of the needs of the product, process or project, and illuminates how the existing solution satisfies those needs. The understanding of functions, allows needs to be seen independent of solutions, supporting the identification of creative and different solutions.

Other design review processes may use some similar techniques,  (e.g. brainstorming), however Function Analysis is a critical and essential component of the success of the VA methodology.

List of Common Functions for Transportation Projects
Transportation Project Elements Functions Notes
Project Need (Higher-Order) Improve Mobility Transportation projects that are focused on improving the efficiency and/or safety of transporting vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians
  Improve Livability Transportation projects that are focused on addressing livability impacts (such as noise, visual, etc.)
  Improve Environment  Transportation projects that are focused on addressing environmental impacts (such as water quality, biological impacts, etc.)
  Improve Sustainability  Transportation projects that are focused on improving the longevity and maintainability of the transportation system
Project Purpose (Basic) Improve Flow Transportation project elements designed to improve traffic operations
Improve Safety Transportation project elements designed to improve safety for vehicles / bicycles / pedestrians / maintenance
Reduce Impacts Transportation project elements designed to eliminate or reduce collateral impacts
Improve Maintainability Transportation project elements designed to improve long term maintainability of the transportation system
Improve Reliability Transportation project elements designed to improve the long term reliability of the transportation system (such as seismic resiliency)
Connect Regions Transportation project elements designed to improve the connectivity of the transportation system (such as new routes or bypasses)
HOV Lane (New) Incentivize Behaviour HOV lanes are designed to encourage ride sharing
Increase Flow Increase Level of Service (LOS) = Volume/Capacity
Increase Capacity
Separate Steams


Value Analysis is a non-proprietary methodology, meaning that a Value Analysis workshop can be undertaken by any organization, or practitioner with a sound understanding of the methodology. The success of a workshop depends largely on the expertise of the study leader. The most experienced and qualified VA practitioners hold the Certified Value Specialist (CVS®) designation, from SAVE- International.

Value Analysis can be used at any time during the development or review of a project, product, or process. Studying a project early in its development provides the greatest opportunity for change, however, the details, and costs of the solution may not yet be well defined. Later in the project evolution, more information may be available supporting review and improvement of the solution being proposed. For these reasons, some VA users will undertake multiple VA studies through the life of the project.

VA can help balance key stakeholder needs with resources. Defining the project/process or problem through functions generates a common understanding of objectives. The VA/VE team generates alternatives that use the minimum resources necessary to deliver desired outcomes. The Project Management Institute's PMBOK references Value Engineering as technique commonly used in project management to optimize value in projects.

The best way to become involved with Value Analysis, is to participate in a VA Workshop. Find out if there are opportunities to get involved in a VA/VE workshop within your organization, or contact other organizations to learn if there are opportunities to experience VA as a team member. Better still, initiate a VA/VE study of your own project, process, service or product. Contact the CSVA, or visit the Consultants link to find qualified VA Practitioners who can advise you.

In addition to Value Analysis (or Value Engineering) workshopsFunction Analysis and the principles and techniques from Value Analysis can be applied and in some cases expanded. Functional Performance Specification and Quality Function Deployment are two examples of different uses of Function Analysis. VAC uses the collective terms "Value Management" and the "Value Methodologies" to refer to the full range of approaches and techniques based upon the analysis of Function and Value.