What is Optioneering in Construction?

Optioneering is when a contractor carries out an in-depth review of various construction options/ alternatives to get the best possible construction approach. One main advantage of optioneering is that it helps lower costs and reduce a project’s environmental footprint.

Optioneering can be done on many construction projects, such as residential, commercial, and industrial projects. When talking about optioneering, two main terms are normally used—options and alternatives. They are both identified using the sifting approach method.

Sifting approach for identifying alternatives and options

In this method, all options and alternatives are placed on the table, and the contractor ranks their applicability based on factors such as cost reduction, safety, and efficiency. The contractor will then separate less viable options and place them on a shortlist.

Subsequently, an options assessment report is created to reach the best-preferred option. This is done through options assessment methodology.

Option assessment methodology

An option assessment methodology is an approach that determines how well an option performs when they are compared based on a scoring system. It is important to note that there is no standard scoring system as this will be guided by the characteristics of the specific project. Some factors used to identify ideal options are:

  • Deliverability of project
  • The economic impact of the option
  • Transport and infrastructural needs
  • Social impact of the option
  • Environmental impact of the option

The bigger the construction project, the more complex and challenging it will be to use the options assessment methodology. Big construction projects have thousands of variables that can affect their schedule, increasing risk. Therefore, you can use an AI-powered construction optioneering platform instead of appraising these variables manually.

AI-powered platforms enable owners and contractors to test and evaluate several options and alternatives with relative ease. A good AI-powered construction platform should make it easy for the contractor to streamline design adjustments, reduce risk, as well as maximize labor and equipment.

For example, if a road contractor is tasked with making an intersection more efficient or safe, the contractor can decide to build a roundabout or install traffic signals to control traffic.


Alternatives are different ways of responding to a construction problem based on three main interventional criteria:

  1. A need to meet demand
  2. Increase productivity
  3. To ensure supply

In the construction world, alternatives are important because they help reduce costs and also help recover a stalled construction project. It is also important to note that alternatives solve practicality and constructability issues experienced by engineers in complex architectural projects.

Life cycle cost optioneering

Life cycle cost optioneering is when a contractor examines several design options to acquire the lowest operational cost that will yield the greatest return on investments. A critical advantage of life cycle costing is that you can identify projects that will consume less energy and produce less carbon waste.

This approach is important when you are working on a green solution and would like to build an eco-friendly structure. The best way to interpret the life cycle cost of a product is to present the figures in the form of the NPV, or net present value. The net present value is calculated by calculating the difference between the present value of cash inflows and outflows.

Benefits of life cycle cost optioneering

One benefit of life cycle cost analysis is that property developers can know more about their property costs.

Other benefits of calculating life cycle costs:

1. It enables developers to create a maintenance schedule

Property developers can identify the long-term financial implications of operating a building. As a result, they can create a maintenance schedule and plan how much manpower and resources will be needed to ensure that maintenance needs are met.

2. You can predict water and utility bills

One main cost of operating a building is water and utility costs. If a property developer can accurately estimate these two costs, they can know how much to charge for their property. This way, they can accurately determine their profits based on the project’s life cycle.

3. You can prepare a more accurate maintenance budget

According to Allegion, deferred maintenance can cause security breaches and safety hazards in a building. In residential properties, the comfort of tenants can suffer if important equipment such as a backup generator or an elevator is not working properly. If you do not maintain your building, the cost of future expenses can be 15 times more than the total repair cost.

Life cost optioneering can inform you of how much it will cost to maintain a specific building. As a result, property developers can build properties that can cost less to maintain, increasing income.

4. You can lower energy costs

Life cycle costing enables property developers to benefit from special rebates offered by utility companies. Other benefits of designing an energy-efficient building include having free energy audits and water conservation incentives.

Therefore, life cycle costing makes it easy for architects to design energy-efficient structures because they can easily calculate the energy saved.

5. It is easy to compare alternative designs

Life cycle costs can also be valuable to contractors and developers as they compare two alternative designs simultaneously. This is important because it can serve as an indicator of which design possesses a higher chance of optimal returns on investment.

Another importance of comparing two designs is identifying those with high long-term expenses despite low initial development costs.

In addition, the developer will be able to know whether they are compliant with various building codes and regulations.

Optioneering is a complex process that can best be done using AI-based optioneering platforms in the market. They can create hundreds of simulations that enable contractors to make timely informed decisions.