The Construction Clients Forum is telling members to use whole-life costing to judge “best value” for all construction projects.

The forum will send a letter to its members explaining the benefits of examining the maintenance costs of building components as well as their initial cost.

The letter is being prepared by the Building Research Establishment and is due to be circulated by the end of the month.

Forum executive secretary Tony Pollington said: “The letter is an idiot’s guide to what whole-life costing is and why it should be the basis of procurement.” The letter suggests that whole-life costing should be used at the feasibility study stage of projects. When used at all, whole-life costing was usually employed at the design or tender stage, said Pollington.

The letter will be followed by a digest of cost data that will be published by the end of the year.

This is also being prepared by the BRE as part of a £160 000 government-backed research project.

Whereas the letter is aimed at the 80% of clients who do not procure buildings regularly, the digest is a practical guide aimed at suppliers, said Pollington.