Whole life and life cycle costing

With more and more emphasis on sustainability and cost reduction, whole life costing is critical at every stage of a construction project.

Whole life costing techniques look at the big picture of expenditure and longevity of the building. They can be used to evaluate options at all stages and are influential in external and internal design. For example, during the design process, it may be appropriate to compare window-cleaning access options or alternative heating solutions. See worked examples.

At the initial design stage, a whole life comparison of building refurbishment against demolition and new build would recognise the life-cycle efficiencies of the latter, and could be crucial to efforts to establish the correct way forward.

Many designers and clients apply life cycle costing intuitively when making choices about materials and structure of a building. They are planning for cost efficiency over the life of the building rather than short term cost savings.

Information on life cycle cost models and calculating life cycle costs is also included.

This section is maintained by Joseph Shijimon of RICS.