In spite of growing competition in the Australian tender market, the indexed cost of public infrastructure projects continues to contract. The need to close contracts faster and cheaper is more pressing than ever, posing unprecedented challenges for the architecture and construction industries. As supply has scrambled to keep up with demand and cost benefits drive product specification, the long-term quality of projects has suffered. Though specifying cheaper products reduces the initial outlay, this is often wildly disproportionate to the eventual total cost of the project once repairs and maintenance are factored in.

To grapple with this growing value disparity, our industry has historically shifted power from one group to another – a dubious trend that recently has seen builders adopt greater responsibility and influence in the specification of products within the construction industry (to such a degree that even specialist decision-making surrounding elements such as plumbing has begun to fall to their control). Unsurprisingly, this trend chiefly promotes not a more intelligent or refined approach to product specification but, rather, decision-making systems that support lowering short-term costs over long-term yield and longevity.

A new whitepaper by specialist plumbing experts, Enware, has been released on the importance of whole of life product specification. Using whole of life costing to specify quality plumbing products in Australia outlines the process and purpose of whole of life assessment and how it is becoming more important as the construction industry becomes more competitive and cost-driven.

The whitepaper discusses whole of life cost analysis as a tool, highlighting its use in the design and construction process of a project to save money in the long term, as well as ensure ongoing compliance and safety during post-occupancy. The paper stresses that whole of life cost analysis is not an exact science, but does assist greatly in facilitating operational excellence and efficiency, which is a philosophy that aims to deliver value to customers.

The paper goes on to focus on whole of life cost analysis in relation to plumbing and Enware’s products specifically. Placing emphasis on the importance of specifying products that won’t require regular maintenance or that don’t encourage microbial growth.

Vital industry reading for architects, designers, specifiers, and builders, the whitepaper is free to download.

For more information on whole of life cost analysis and the importance of specifying products with longevity in mind, especially in relation to plumbing, download Using whole of life costing to specify quality plumbing products in Australia.