Rethinking how to reduce the long-term costs of services

Published:  11 August, 2004

Whenever building-services engineers concern themselves about the costs associated with their aspects of a building project they generally confine themselves to capital costs (to reduce initial cost), value engineering (to strip out unnecessary cost) and whole-life costs (reducing operating costs such as energy consumption and maintenance).

One set of costs that is generally not considered by building-services engineers is those associated with rearranging offices a topic addressed in a special feature in this issue. The bald facts are that an office building typically undergoes 40% churn a year and that the process is not cheap.

There are many ways of designing services to simplify the process of churn and reduce its costs but all require planning. An indication of the scale of the reduction in churn costs is 25% or more via the use of underfloor air-conditioning with relocatable terminals.

Reducing the costs of churn must be an issue that clients can relate to more readily than whole-life costs and the complexities of arguments such as payback periods.

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