Rethinking how to reduce the long-term costs of services
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.