The Life Cycle Costing (LCC) credits in BREEAM (Man 02 – Life Cycle Costing and Service Life Planning) aim to promote the business case for sustainable buildings and deliver whole life value by improving design, specification, building maintenance and operation. Anthony Waterman reports.
By including life cycle costing requirements, BREEAM aims to provide greater confidence in future operational and maintenance costs and focus design decision-making on whole life costs throughout a project’s lifetime.
In BREEAM, life cycle costing analysis is divided into three sections, namely:
- Elemental life cycle cost
- Component level life cycle options appraisal
- Capital cost reporting
Credits for each one of the three sections are awarded independently from one another. Under BREEAM UK New Construction 2018 (Man 02 Life Cycle Cost and Service Life Planning), there are 2 credits for the Elemental LCC, 1 credit for Component Level and 1 credit for Capital Cost Reporting, so a potential 4 credits it total.
There are similar requirements in the BREEAM schemes for refurbishment and for BREEAM internationally.
For the ‘Elemental’ life cycle cost, a competent person creates an outline, entire asset LCC plan at RIBA Stage 2 (concept design) and provides design option appraisals. This will include an indication of future replacement costs over a period agreed with the client and in line with the design life expectancy of the building, whether that be 30, 50 or 60 years etc. This should include service life, maintenance, and operational cost estimates.
Design option appraisals should demonstrate, using appropriate examples from the design team, how the Elemental LCC plan has been used to influence building and systems design and specification to minimise life cycle cost and maximise value. In our opinion, this is the most valuable part of the credit, to assess and compare alternative design and specifications and ascertain which has the lowest Life Cycle Cost and also those which maximise critical value.
The ‘Component’ Level life cycle options appraisal should be completed at RIBA Stage 4. It should address the following components of the building where present:
- Envelope (e.g. cladding, windows and roofing)
- Services (e.g. heat source, cooling and controls)
- Finishes (e.g. walls, floors and ceilings)
- External spaces (e.g. landscaping)
The Component Level appraisal should review all of the above component types, however, you do not need to consider every single example cited under each component – only a selection of those most likely to draw valued comparisons is required.
This is to ensure that a wide range of options are considered and help focus the analysis on components which would benefit the most from appraisal, which also needs to demonstrate how whole life thinking in the choice of these components has minimised life cycle costs and maximised value.
The idea behind the component appraisals are to compare alternative specifications and identify which will have the lowest LCC. To this end we look at metrics such as lowest LCC Payback and return on investment to show which alternatives are best over the short and longer term.
Finally, for Capital Cost Reporting, the capital cost for the building, in pounds per square metre of gross internal floor area (£k/m²), needs to be submitted to BREEAM. This information is held confidentially and is collected to assist research into the cost and savings of developing sustainable or BREEAM-assessed buildings, to inform the business case for sustainability. This is a very straightforward credit and most schemes target this. Commercial conflicts are mitigated because BREEAM keep this data confidentially and non-disclosed. We often discuss this with the project team and advise on the merits (or otherwise) of targeting this credit for those clients who perhaps feel commercially sensitive about this issue.
Life Cycle Costing in BREEAM is even more valuable when it is carried out alongside a Life Cycle Assessment analysis (Mat 01 Environmental Impact from Construction Products – Building Life Cycle Assessment – ADW link) because they are so intertwined and also additional exemplary credits can be awarded if the two approaches are fully aligned. The LCA appraisal will evaluate and report on the environmental impacts of the design, including the carbon footprint. It provides an opportunity to discuss alternatives with the design team, and when combined with Life Cycle Costing provides an immensely powerful tool for the project team.