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BCIS launches whole-life carbon and costs tool

Screen grab of the new BCIS whole-life carbon and costs tool

The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) has launched a tool that can simultaneously report on whole-life costs and carbon.

The Life Cycle Evaluator brings together BCIS’s knowledge of whole-life costs and carbon data from the Built Environment Carbon Database (BECD).

It features a “comprehensive component database”, according to BCIS, to which users can also add their own. It includes activity build-ups relevant to the project’s life, from initial construction to planned and reactive maintenance and replacement, and finally disposal, which could include reuse or recycling of materials.

Crucially, BCIS has developed the evaluator in alignment with the whole-life carbon assessment for the built environment standard from RICS.

The evaluator is the second spin-out from BCIS’s work on the cross-industry BECD, the database of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and project carbon data that was launched in 2023. The first spin-out was the Cost and Carbon Materials Database, which provides comparative cost and EPD details for thousands of materials and components.

James Fiske, BCIS chief executive and chair of the BECD steering group, said: “By combining reliable and consistent cost and carbon data, which crucially complies with industry standards and is fully auditable, Life Cycle Evaluator empowers professionals to make informed decisions that optimise both project budget and environmental impact.

“Everyone in the industry, regardless of their role, can play a part in reducing harmful emissions. Realistically, though, we know it’s not always easy to incorporate carbon assessments into project planning, especially where there is limited experience within the team. Anything we can do to make that process more streamlined and efficient will be of significant benefit.”

Too many carbon tools?

He noted that the industry is awash with carbon measurement tools. He said: “The inevitable consequence of everyone realising we need to address decarbonisation is that we’ve ended up with a multitude of carbon calculators, be they publicly available or developed by firms in-house.

“The lack of consistency between these calculators, which anyone who has used more than one will recognise, makes any meaningful use of these assessments more difficult.

“Standardising the way everyone carries out whole-life carbon assessments is really important. Enabling professionals to be able to do them at the same time as whole-life cost assessments is something that will hopefully improve efficiencies and ultimately reduce emissions.”

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