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News & opinion

22 NOV 2018

BCIS life cycle evaluator

Facilities managers are often under pressure to reduce costs or prove value for money. Life cycle costing is a technique that when used correctly can help do both – and the BCIS life cycle evaluator makes this easier than ever.

Life cycle costing is nothing new, and it’s certainly not rocket science, so why are we talking about it again now?

The barrier to good 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 troublesome. 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 challenge that a facility manager will need to regularly undertake. The selection of building materials and components is intrinsically 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.

The selection of building materials and components is intrinsically linked to the performance of the building throughout its life.

With much to consider it is therefore important for the facilities manager 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 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 as well as direct and embodied carbon emissions over the life-time 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.

The data is not specific to manufacturers, but designed to give general performance for components/materials. The facilities manager can download and overwrite the data where more detailed information is available. This is an evolving database and BCIS are keen to increase the representation of building materials so please make contact if you think you may be able to contribute.

Find out more about the life cycle evaluator