Design for Lifecycle Costing

In times when cash is tight and outlooks are bleak, it is a brave person who decides to invest for the future.  Yet, that is exactly what anyone does when they start a new infrastructure project.  John Ruskin (1819-1900, Author and Scientist at Oxford University) is quoted as saying:

“It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little.  When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do”.

The answer, then, is to look holistically at your investment.  Planning becomes a critical exercise, understanding feasibility and viability are both important.  Feasibility is the assessment of what is possible, whereas viability talks to its sustainability.

The world’s recent identification of universal environmental issues, global warming and recently pandemics shows that sustainability is breaking ground over quick pay-backs.  We are generally more interested in whether an opportunity has the capacity for good and profit than the opportunity for profit alone.  Vast sums of money are available for “impact investing” (the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) estimates the current market size at USD 715 billion), and this talks to a desire to look to the future.

Why is this important to us?  It is because it affects the way MBB design.  In our agricultural and irrigation projects specifically, this dictates the decisions we make on the size of infrastructure we design.  If we are not constrained by up-front costs alone, we can design better systems that ensure sustainable enterprises.

A study by the Consulting Engineers of British Columbia & Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (2009) identifies that Operation and Maintenance activities to amount to between 80 and 93% of the lifetime cost.  By contrast, construction only accounts for between 6 and 18% and Engineering between 1 and 2%.  This unequivocally demonstrates how important the holistic approach is – time and cost spent in planning wisely can leverage significant savings during the life of an infrastructure project, moreover, it should optimise the benefits for years to come.



Please contact us for your needed designs.  Our contact details can be found on