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A lifecycle approach

The latest BSI standard looks at the life cycle costing of maintenance during the in-use phases of buildings. Kathryn Bourke, the standard’s co-author and managing director of Whole Life, explains how facilities managers can benefit from using it

Like many British (and international) standards, this one took quite a long time to come together – the initial discussions were held in 2008, immediately after publication of BS/ISO 15686-5 (Life cycle costing) and BSI PD 156865 – the Standardised Method of Life Cycle Costing for Construction Procurement. The industry group included representatives of clients, consultants, trade associations, insurers and FM firms, as well as those involved in PFI/PPP concessions. In those five years much has changed. We knew that alignment with other initiatives, such as RICS New Rules of Measurement (NRM) cost measurement structures, would be essential to ensure maximum take-up. But other unexpected developments also occurred, such as the adoption of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) Task Force targets for BIM adoption, and these also needed to be taken into account.

We wanted to extend the existing lifecycle costing guidance and principles to portfolio level – drilling down to individual properties and assets, and to recognise that where no procurement level life cycle cost plan existed, the origin of data on performance and maintenance needs would be surveys. However, we also knew that prioritisation of expenditure was key, and that would vary depending on the organisation’s own priorities. We also agreed that there were techniques such as Facilities Condition Indexing that needed to be placed within a process aligned with existing facilities management processes. The final scope agreed includes both infrastructure and building assets, and hard and soft FM (but excludes occupancy costs – such as energy consumption).

The new standard provides:

  • Standardised rules and methodology to integrate production of maintenance and renewal plans (including investment to improve performance)
  • Guidance on capturing the data needed
  • Guidance on evaluating and prioritising maintenance works for budgeting and funding
  • Guidance on implementation of maintenance works

The process guidance runs through the following stages of procurement of maintenance:

  • Brief – getting the scope and specific requirements right
  • Capture – getting the data needed to generate and update plans
  • Evaluate – to inform budget setting and fund modeling with the objective of defending the maintenance and investment outputs.
  • Implement – scheduling, tendering, implementing and cost managing works, including review against budgets.

The primary purpose of lifecycle costing is to calculate costs over a period of analysis, for a specific outcome, such as maintaining the asset(s) in a state fit for function. It is typically used for budgeting and obtaining funding for annualised and longer term plans, and occasionally sinking fund or asset depreciation requirements. The key decisions on maintenance are: do, defer or not do.

All too often, in a budget-constrained organisation (and which organisation is not?) – maintenance seems one of the easier budgets to cut. The new standard assists users to defend the budget on the basis of their own organisational priorities and policies. It can be used from high level (evaluation of the level of investment for a whole facility or building), or evaluation of maintenance as part of a wider consolidation or relocation strategy, right down to repair/replace decisions or component option comparisons. It can also assist with auditing or monitoring for due diligence or funders’ review boards.

Facilities managers will particularly welcome the focus on guidance that takes account of the strategy of the organisation, and recognises the important distinction between maintenance works which are:

  • Compliant – necessary to meet regulatory/compliance obligations
  • Optimal – works necessary to meet business needs or critical functions
  • Discretionary – works which could be deferred or put into a “run to failure” group
  • Vacant space strategies – mothballing or decommissioning levels of maintenance

“In the UK the vast majority of buildings are reaching a stage where major reinvestment will be required…”

The guidance is aligned with both BS 8210 (Guide to facilities maintenance management) and PAS 55 (Optimal management of physical assets) on development of a maintenance strategy and service level. It also cross-refers to other guidance on maintenance and facilities management, such as BS 8572 (Procurement of facility-related service – Guide) and BS 8587 (Guide to facility information management).

Other welcome aspects will include the explanation (and worked example) of condition function indexing – which provides a visually powerful and easily understood index of condition, which allows the impact of different funding levels to be readily presented.

For those grappling with the issues of adoption of BIM, the mapping of maintenance cost structures from the B&ES SFG20 maintenance task schedules to Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBIE) will no doubt be welcome. This also comes with a detailed worked example. Now that the Government Soft Landings (GSL) policy has been adopted the need to align operational asset management with clear performance criteria, and to feed post-occupancy evaluation into the BIM will increasingly become the norm on public sector projects.

Handy checklists of key information are also included in the appendices, which have been designed to summarise the guidance at each stage from brief through to implementation.

In the UK the vast majority of buildings are reaching a stage where major reinvestment will be required, either to ensure continued functionality or to meet changing objectives such as policies to reduce carbon emissions or provide better functionality and value for money. Equally the economic downturn has left maintenance budgets tighter stretched than ever.
The new BS 8544 will help facilities managers to provide a better service in difficult conditions, and provide better facilities for their users.

 

About Sarah OBeirne

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