Architects and designers love Skyfold walls and see the benefit for their clients but sometimes they are up against a GC (General Contractor) that wants to value engineer to an inferior product to save money. This is a “penny wise and pound foolish” situation for the end user but is sometimes difficult for the architect to deal with. I’m often asked by the architectural community for some strategies to defend against VE (value engineering). Here are my top 5 ideas to guard against VE.
#1) Spec a Higher STC
Skyfold has multiple STC ratings. If you start high (say 60STC) you can work with any VE discussions by dropping to a 55 STC, 51 STC, or even a 48 STC Skyfold wall. All of which will give your client better REAL LIFE acoustical performance than any other product, especially a traditional horizontal folding wall. If you frame it this way, you still get a Skyfold wall and a much better product.
To find out more about Skyfold walls and acoustics, see our infographic called Sound is Like Water: A Visual Guide to Operable Wall Acoustics.
#2) Consider the Structural Support
Skyfold walls are lighter (and a dead load) compared to the most common VE alternate, traditional horizontal operable walls. In fact, the structural support can be 6 to 8 times LESS money and weight than operable walls that are a live load and weigh twice as much (think green and mass savings). Additionally, traditional operable walls must have a nearly dead level beam with no deflection. Deflection is not a problem for Skyfold if we know about it in advance. Most GC’s doing VE don’t consider this cost as they are just looking at a folding wall line item. Ask them who is going to pay to re-design the structural support! If you consider the structural support, the savings to switch to an inferior product is not very good.
#3) Adjust the Wall Size
Sometimes the size of the wall can be changed just a little bit which makes a very big difference in cost. For example, because of the max size of our panels, changing a 25′ long wall to a 24′ long wall could save 25% or 30%!
#4) Adjust the Finishes
Likewise, sometimes the finish of the wall can be changed to something not as expensive. This can make a very big difference in overall cost especially if a COM has been specified. Skyfold has some very nice standard finishes now.
#5) Bring Up Operational Cost
Skyfold walls are safe, fast, and can be moved by anyone who can push a button, unlike other manual alternatives that VE’ers may suggest. The VE’ers don’t have to live with their decision to put in an interior, harder to use movable partition, but the end users do! You don’t want the end user to be frustrated trying to find a janitor to move the wall every time or stop moving it because it’s a hassle. That’s to say nothing about the extra cost to employ the staff to move the walls. This can add up to a lot money over time. A typical Skyfold installation pays for itself within five to six years with reduced move time, labor, and reduced maintenance cost.
Check out this infographic we put together about Skyfold and the many ways it surpasses alternatives.
Learn More About Skyfold
Our blog is filled with useful articles and resources about Skyfold. You can also learn more on our Operable Partitions page. Finally, feel free to get in touch with us directly to talk more about how Skyfold fits into your project.