This paper explores the effects and role of obsolescence within PFI/PPPs.

In 2013 the Guardian newspaper reported that the UK Government had acquired £300 billion worth of capital costs and unitary payments within the formally known Private Finance Initiatives – now Public Private Partnerships. This paper is not about the economics or moral debate upon the success and failures of PPP’s within the UK, but rather the untold story of the impact of obsolescence upon the integral asset systems which support the service delivery. Prisons require supportable and maintainable security systems, the same can be said for government/defence buildings, not to the mention the life critical systems within hospitals and clinics across the country.

However, there is an untold story, which is impacting the through life or lifecycle costs to support and maintain key asset systems, driving additional lifecycle expenditures that may be unforeseen. This paper contains evidence of the scale of the financial impact of obsolescence through obsolescence driven investments, not least to mention the potential operational impacts if systems become unsupportable. This paper begins to create a foundation for future research focusing on obsolescence and how best to monitor and mitigate its effects.

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