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Life cycle costing

Are you making the right design choices, or will it cost you more in the long run?

The initial design and selection of materials and components is fundamentally linked to the performance of the asset over its life cycle. Every time a component within a project is maintained and replaced, it results in both a financial and an environmental cost. The specification also has a direct impact on the energy performance of the project, thereby directly impacting on the energy use and associated embodied carbon emissions.

There is often pressure to reduce costs and/or prove value for money. Life cycle costing is a technique that when used correctly can help do both. The BCIS Life cycle evaluator makes this easier than ever.

The barrier to reliable life cycle costing has always been data. Knowing how much something costs to install, maintain and replace is challenging enough, but knowing how long something lasts is even more difficult. Manufacturers often quote warrantee periods whereas a construction component can last considerably longer than that. The longevity of a component is obviously linked to how much its being used and how good the maintenance regime has been.

Picking the best performing construction materials and validating that choice to stakeholders is a common challenge. The selection of building materials and components is fundamentally linked to the performance of the building throughout its life. Not only does this performance have a financial cost, it also has a cost to the environment. Every time an asset within a building is replaced, it results in both a financial and an environmental cost. Therefore, it is important that these should no longer be considered independently when constructing or refurbishing a building. This awareness of cost and environment coupled with legislative pressures, spiralling energy costs and higher profile public ethics is resulting in a need to demonstrate design choices that incorporate intelligent and sensible green sustainable solutions.

With much to consider, it is therefore important to determine the life and environmental cost of the components used within a building and be able to present the options/alternatives in a consistent manner.

To help, BCIS has developed a BCIS Life cycle evaluator, which is a life cycle cost and carbon database and calculator for common construction materials. The tool quantifies capital cost, maintenance costs, operational costs and direct, embodied carbon emissions over the lifetime of a building. The database used within the system is based on comprehensive surveys of component performance combined with data build-ups, all of which have been validated with recent project data.

So, if you are looking to understand what floor finish is best in a location over a defined time-period, or what materials are best to form the envelope of your building, the data and the calculator can help you make the right choice and demonstrate why you made the choice you did.

Alternative to subscribing to the BCIS Life cycle evaluator we can work with you and your design team to pick the best specification possible based on the performance over the life of the project and can efficiently and consistently produce studies to prove why a particular option should be selected.

Please get in touch if you need advice on any of our service areas or want an informal discussion on anything related to BCIS. You can call on +44 (0)24 7686 8502, or email consultancy@bcis.co.uk

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