Least First Cost

Definition - What does Least First Cost mean?

Least first cost is a criteria for selecting construction materials when planning large industrial projects. All costs of the structure, including the cost of the materials, transportation of the materials, construction, corrosion prevention, supervision and inspection are usually considered in the analysis.

A least first cost methodology ensures that the derived construction cost is the lowest possible. The selection criteria are usually based on the minimum level of corrosion resistance that meets safety and reliability requirements. Least first cost is sometimes inappropriate because it only considers the cost of the initial construction phase of the project; some type of total life cycle cost analysis is usually preferred.

Corrosionpedia explains Least First Cost

Least first cost methodology is used to select the construction materials to be used on industrial structures. For example, if one compares the relative cost of a structure reinforced with epoxy coated steel to a structure constructed with stainless steel, then the following costs must also be considered:

  • The labor costs associated with handling epoxy coated steel
  • The labor and material costs associated with repairing any coating defects
  • The cost to repair any damage that occurred prior to pouring the concrete

Such labor and material costs might be absent when constructing with stainless steel.

Least first cost construction usually does not result in the lowest life cycle costs after maintenance, repair and facility life are taken into consideration. This type of cost analysis is usually based on prior experience, but such an approach is prone to error where the prior experience is from a different geographical location or for structures with different service conditions.

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