Estimating life cycle plant maintenance costs

Edwards, David J., Holt, Gary David and Harris, Frank C. (2000) Estimating life cycle plant maintenance costs. Construction Management and Economics, 18 (4). pp. 427-435. ISSN 0144-6193

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The financial success or otherwise of a maintenance strategy can be determined realistically only when actual costs are compared with target ‘predicted’ values. This is because, in the absence of accurate cost control mechanisms, maintenance expenditure can exceed capital cost. In order to address this problem, a methodology is presented for predicting life cycle maintenance expenditure over the useful life of tracked hydraulic excavators. First, time series analysis (using a moving centred average) illustrates that the trend in maintenance cost expenditure is difficult to isolate due to large perturbations in periodic unscheduled maintenance. Such expenditure accounts for 92% of total maintenance cost. Second, cumulative costs of maintenance are modelled using a cubic equation, with time (in hours) as the predictor (xn) variable. Model performance is robust with a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.99 and a mean percentage error (MPE) of minus 3.94. The paper concludes with direction for future research in this field, particularly with respect to expanding the model's application to machines of various weights, manufacturers and machines operating in other industries, and determination of criteria with which to predict when a plant item will reach the end of its useful life.

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