What is a Life Cycle Cost?

‘Life cycle cost (LCC)’, often referred to as total cost of ownership (TCO), is a comprehensive financial analysis that evaluates all costs associated with a product, asset, or project over its entire lifespan. The goal of life cycle cost analysis is to determine the total cost incurred from acquisition or construction to operation, maintenance, and eventual disposal or decommissioning. This approach allows organisations to make informed decisions by considering not only the initial purchase or construction costs but also the ongoing costs associated with the asset.


Life cycle cost analysis typically includes the following cost components:

Acquisition Costs: These are the initial costs involved in purchasing or constructing the asset, including the purchase price, construction costs, installation expenses, and any associated fees or taxes.

Operating Costs: These costs cover the expenses incurred during the asset’s operational phase, such as energy consumption, maintenance and repair, labour, insurance, and consumables. It may also include costs related to technology upgrades or modifications.

Maintenance and Repairs: This includes routine maintenance activities, periodic inspections, and unexpected repairs or replacements necessary to keep the asset functioning correctly and efficiently.

Operating Period: The length of time the asset is expected to be in use before it reaches the end of its useful life or is decommissioned.

Residual Value: The estimated value of the asset at the end of its useful life, which can be important when considering potential resale or salvage value.

Disposal or Decommissioning Costs: These costs involve safely disposing of or decommissioning the asset at the end of its life. This can include dismantling, recycling, environmental cleanup, and disposal fees.

Financing Costs: If the asset is financed through loans or other financial instruments, the interest payments and financing charges are considered part of the life cycle cost.

Inflation and Discount Rates: Adjustments for inflation and discount rates are often applied to future costs to account for changes in the value of money over time.


By calculating and analysing these costs over the entire life cycle of an asset, organisation leaders can make more informed decisions when choosing between different options, such as purchasing or leasing equipment, selecting building materials, or investing in renewable energy sources. Life cycle cost analysis helps identify the most cost-effective and efficient solutions that provide the best long-term value while considering both immediate and future financial implications. It is commonly used in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, transportation, and sustainability planning.