An international standard that will bring consistency to lifecycle costing for buildings is to be issued in the next few months.

At present the industry and clients cannot compare lifecycle cost estimates because there is no standard definition of the length of a lifecycle. Assumptions about the future value of money and what is included in a lifecycle costing also vary. Clients and cost consultants are expected to welcome the standard, which will provide more clarity.

The standard, ISO 15686 Part 5 for Lifecycle Costing, has been drawn up by a range of industry experts including cost information service BCIS, cost consultant Faithful + Gould and client Defence Estates.

Joe Martin, executive director of BCIS, said he expected the standard to come into effect in November after it was finally approved.

He added that the standard wouldn’t prevent cost consultants from including variable costs such as facilities management. Citing the example of a prison, he said: “There is no reason why it shouldn't include the cost of prison warders in a lifecycle costing, but you will need to say you have done it.”

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