News from Apple this morning stated that construction on the company's mammoth new corporate campus in Cupertino has been delayed. My first reaction was that there were either delays in environmental impact reports or in the permits from the city or state. This report from Bloomberg states that the city council still needs to approve the plans (which were originally submitted by Steve Jobs), which makes sense as the plan check process for this multi-billion dollar project is probably tough for Cupertino to swallow quickly. The state seems to be less of an issue, seeing as it granted an expedited permit under the new Jobs and Economic Improvement through Environmental Leadership Act. The delays were announced as an Apple representative also said that the design for the project had been changed. The design changes were not requested by the city. I suspect (and we're all forced to suspect because in typical fashion, Apple is being fairly opaque with specifics) that the changes fall under the category of value engineering. A few months ago, the rumor mill "revealed" that a joint venture of DPR and Skanska was awarded the project (my friends at DPR, to this date, will not confirm this even though it seems to be the worst kept secret in the construction industry). Since the construction contract award, the proposed design changes include removing a foot bridge, adding a central utility plant, and changing the site grading plan so that there is no soil off haul, among others. Those types of design changes have the finger prints of value engineering all over them. These types of changes are not unexpected--when you go through the painstaking process of hiring a general contractor for such a costly project, some of the selection criteria typically include providing services for value engineering in the effort to save costs. So while the delays on the city permitting side may be slightly bad news (as the tone of the Bloomberg video embedded in the article suggest, those are really just the types of inconveniences that projects of this size attract. If the other side of the delays involve value engineering, time/cost trade-offs are very likely worth it to Apple.