Standard Historical Last Updated: Sep 25, 2013
ASTM E917-05(2010)

Standard Practice for Measuring Life-Cycle Costs of Buildings and Building Systems

Significance and Use

LCC analysis is an economic method for evaluating a project or project alternatives over a designated study period. The method entails computing the LCC for alternative building designs or system specifications having the same purpose and then comparing them to determine which has the lowest LCC over the study period.

The LCC method is particularly suitable for determining whether the higher initial cost of a building or building system is economically justified by reductions in future costs (for example, operating, maintenance, repair, or replacement costs) when compared with an alternative that has a lower initial cost but higher future costs. If a building design or system specification has both a lower initial cost and lower future costs relative to an alternative, an LCC analysis is not needed to show that the former is the economically preferable choice.

If an investment project is not essential to the building operation (for example, replacement of existing single-pane windows with new double-pane windows), the project must be compared against the do nothing alternative (that is, keeping the single pane windows) in order to determine if it is cost effective. Typically the do nothing alternative entails no initial investment cost but has higher future costs than the proposed project.


1.1 This practice establishes a procedure for evaluating the life-cycle cost (LCC) of a building or building system and comparing the LCCs of alternative building designs or systems that satisfy the same functional requirements.

1.2 The LCC method measures, in present-value or annual-value terms, the sum of all relevant costs associated with owning and operating a building or building system over a specified time period.

1.3 The basic premise of the LCC method is that to an investor or decision maker all costs arising from an investment decision are potentially important to that decision, including future as well as present costs. Applied to buildings or building systems, the LCC encompasses all relevant costs over a designated study period, including the costs of designing, purchasing/leasing, constructing/installing, operating, maintaining, repairing, replacing, and disposing of a particular building design or system.

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Book of Standards Volume: 04.11
Developed by Subcommittee: E06.81
Pages: 19
DOI: 10.1520/E0917-05R10
ICS Code: 91.010.20