UBC Graduate Research

Life cycle costing & analysis of two UBC research buildings : Earth Sciences Building vs. Pharmaceutical Sciences Building Moguin, Aaron; Chu, Anne-Mareike; Zheng, Echo; Glaser, Leo


UBC aims to provide an exceptional learning environment while exemplifying economic, environmental and social sustainability in its the built environment. One of its main goals is to enhance infrastructures to support leading edge research. In 2010, laboratory buildings accounted for almost ten percent of UBC core buildings but consumed disproportionately higher resources and contributed significantly to UBC’s financial investments. This project performed a life cycle cost analysis for two high-performance laboratory buildings on the campus of the University of British Columbia, the Earth Sciences Building (ESB) and the Pharmaceutical Sciences Building (PSB). The propose of this project was to test current assumptions about life cycle costs of new research buildings on campus and also to attempt to verify an observation that one building’s energy performance (ESB) was significantly better than the other (PSB), despite many similarities across the two buildings. Additionally, this initial life cycle costing was to provide a basis and platform for further analysis of data, testing of various assumptions and hypotheses, and opportunities to create recommendations for improving UBC’s LCC standards, with the larger goal of finding ways the University could increase its confidence in long-term performance from designs for future buildings. For a base-case LCC actual energy consumption data was used along with estimations for maintenance and repair costs to estimate operation costs for the two buildings. On a net present value basis, it was found that operation and maintenance costs account for approximately 40 percent of the total life cycle cost over 50 years for both buildings. When two industry standard cost estimation systems (Whitestone CostLab, and the Whitestone printed reference volumes) were used to refine this analysis, the operation and maintenance costs increased to between 50 percent and 60 percent of the total life cycle cost. The results of the industry reference tools indicate that a more detailed evaluation of operation costs for research buildings at UBC are required. Furthermore, it was found that the average annual operation costs for laboratory buildings as indicated by Whitestone Research is significantly higher than UBC’s current building operation budget of $8.60/ft² and approximately $0.66/ft² for capital renewal differed maintenance (CRDM) per year. While Whitestone Costlab suggests average operation cost of approximately $14/ft² per year, calculations based on Whitestone Reference Books indicate average annual operation cost of approximately $21/ft² for laboratory buildings. Additionally, multiple primary data gaps necessitated the use of rough assumptions and heuristics in order to fill these areas lacking in empirical information, leading to opportunities for improvement in standards for LCC. Based on this, the following improvements are recommended for further LCC’s at UBC: 1) Acquire more detailed operation cost information for new buildings on UBC campus using local Whitestone Research data to provide a better foundation for the extended life cycle costing and to obtain a more realistic operational budget than the current standardized value of $8.60/ft² and approximately $0.66/ft² for capital renewal differed maintenance (CRDM). Information could be acquired either through the use of available operation cost tools such as Whitestone Costlab or through the collection of additional primary empirical data. 2) Investigate further the potential advantages of adopting a preventive-maintenance and scheduled-replacement regime for campus assets, rather than continuing the present practice of implicit cost saving through deferred maintenance. 3) Raise the budget for building operation to ensure scheduled maintenance can be done more frequently according to Whitestone operation costs assumptions. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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