Buildings & Facilities

An Overview of Life Cycle Cost Analysis

Life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) is the holistic investigation of facility costs to assess the total cost of ownership. This includes building, maintenance and operations costs as well as the residual value of a building or a portion thereof. This process becomes useful during design as architects and engineers evaluate possible alternatives that differ in cost (both initial and long-term) but offer the same performance. For example, this calculation would be used when analyzing whether it makes sense to invest in a higher efficiency HVAC system with a greater initial cost but lower maintenance and operating costs.

To determine the answers to such questions, design professionals utilizing LCCA look at multiple factors and make recommendations based on an individual owner’s prioritized goals. The owner may be seeking to decrease hard maintenance costs, increase asset value or produce an overall savings. Each of these scenarios would necessitate a different decision.

In most cases, LCCA looks at the overall cost over the expected life of the building – i.e. “If X is implemented instead of Y, Z will be saved over so many years.” This is usually the value owners are considering when evaluating alternatives. In addition, owners often also need to know […]

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    Why is the Roof on My Equipment? A Primer on X-Bracing and Lateral Force Resisting Systems

Why is the Roof on My Equipment? A Primer on X-Bracing and Lateral Force Resisting Systems

In manufacturing and heavy industrial organizations, the focus of all production facilities is the process and equipment within the structure. When upgrading or expanding systems, engineers attempt to best utilize as much existing space as possible, often resulting in the need to remove or modify the existing building structure. The most common casualty of process modifications is an x-brace, which appears to be “useless”; however, removal of x-braces and other lateral force resisting systems (LFRS) can create a life safety hazard and risks destroying equipment in your facility. These catastrophic problems may not be apparent until it is too late.
An x-brace is part of a structure’s LFRS and is typically used to resist wind, seismic loads and other less common types of lateral loading. The brace is how the forces applied in a horizontal direction at floors or the roof are transferred to the ground. (Seismic works slightly differently, but for the purposes of this discussion, we will ignore this.) Due to life safety considerations, the current building code in Ohio requires buildings be designed to a mean recurrence interval of 700 years (5% probability of exceedance in 50 years) for wind and two-thirds of the 2,475 year (2% […]