Call for asset owners to prioritise whole life cost in structure design

by PM Today Staff / 8/30/2018 4:51:11 PM

A leading Facilities Management Consultant has said failing to think long term when it comes to properties and property design across the UK is proving costly. Simon McLaughlin, Associate Director of AECOM’s Facilities Management Consulting team is calling on people purchasing and refurbishing properties to look at the bigger picture.

He says ‘whole-life’ costs need to be considered at the outset of the project, and that not doing so could backfire. Whole life costs involve all costs associated with the life of a building from inception, to construction, to operation and disposal.

Speaking ahead of the National Construction Summit which takes place in the Arena MK, Milton Keynes in September, he said: “One of the major complaints we hear from operational maintenance teams and clients is that the design of the building has been done in isolation of the practicalities of maintaining buildings, and this presents significant financial issues around maintaining assets which may have low capex costs, but significant opex costs.

“Lack of whole life cost planning at design stage can cause issues such as poor access to areas, which present challenges to allow for cleaning and/or maintenance, or significant costs for mobile access equipment, and/or in certain cases, an inability to access items for maintenance. Considering whole life costs at the design stage should ensure these issues are mitigated.

“Unfortunately capital costs are core drivers for construction, which means that the end users are still being impacted on by buildings which are not as efficient as they should be to operate/maintain.”

He added many clients often overlook the importance of proactive maintenance: “Proactive maintenance of building fabric does not typically sit high within client’s priorities, which means that over time clients can suffer significant impacts and costs from items such as water ingress through the building fabric, which could be avoided through undertaking basic maintenance activities on assets.

“Therefore through investing relatively modest sums in proactive roof/ gutter cleaning, internal fabric inspections etc., the savings can be significant compared to the costs of addressing roof leaks and failed ironmongery.”

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