Whole of life costing in FM
Quality and performance should be the priority for the building industry. It is crucial that the selected product or material will maintain optimum performance levels for the entire lifecycle of a development, and that decisions are based on informed cost and quality analysis.
The tendency for the construction supply chain to be incentivised to reduce costs and time of project delivery can lead to decisions being based on upfront costs, instead of long-term costs. Surveys of recently completed buildings have regularly revealed substantial shortfalls between client and design expectations and delivered performance. This is fuelled by the focus of contracts on builders and architects achieving practical completion, with obligations post-practical completion focused only on the defects liability period.
The current market conditions have also led to a tendency for projects to be specified to meet only the minimum performance standards, which often later prove insufficient; even though a product is deemed to be compliant, the materials may not last the life of the development or project. This results in substandard projects that check out on paper, but in reality over time will fall below a fit-for-purpose solution. The responsibility of designing and specifying quality, fit-for-purpose, and cost effective projects lies with building professionals.
Whole of life costing is a form of investment analysis. It can be used as a tool to assist in making decisions between options with different cash flows over a time period. It takes into consideration all relevant costs associated with the ownership of an asset and is relevant for considering whole estates, whole facilities, individual buildings, or structures and when comparing alternative investment scenarios.
Whole of life costing has a range of benefits for companies, such as encouraging analysis of business needs and communication of these to the project team; optimising the total cost of ownership/occupation; promoting realistic budgeting for operation, maintenance, and repair; and facilitating informed decisions about the materials and components used.
For any project, it is vital that building professionals consider costs holistically and not just in terms of initial output. By considering cost implications of products at all stages of the project life cycle, architects, builders, specifiers, and other building professionals could save their clients a lot of unexpected costs further down the track. Mobilising whole of life assessments and ensuring they are accurate relies on the construction industry and suppliers involving themselves in the discussions of whole of life and focusing on delivering operational excellence through their product and after-sales service.
Enware is an Australian-owned and based manufacturer with experience in meeting the safe water delivery demands of large public infrastructure projects. It understands the needs of the cost-conscious client, and offers a suite of efficient, high performance products with unrivalled operational efficiency, safety, and whole of life cost.
Enware Australia has three clear goals. It aims to deliver a clear whole of life cost benefit in Public Infrastructure Projects through:
- providing product longevity, leading to increased economic value
- offering tested, safe solutions backed up by adequate monitoring and the appropriate controls for improved user health and safety, and
- improved overall performance of plumbing infrastructure.
Image © Enware.