cost-benefit analysis

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Cost-benefit analysis

A method of evaluating projects or investments by comparing the present value or annual value of expected benefits to costs; the practical embodiment of discounted cash flow analysis; a useful technique for making transparent the benefits of upfront investments in sustainable design features or technologies.

cost-benefit analysis

a technique for appraising the total economic costs and benefits (and ideally the total social costs and benefits expressed as economic costs) arising from any economic and social activity, especially new projects. Hitherto, the technique has been mainly used to appraise new, large, public projects. But, in an increasingly ecologically conscious era, the proposal now is that many more existing economic and social activities should be subject to full cost-benefit analysis, with many more costs, e.g. environmental, also included to a fuller extent than previously Cost-benefit analysis is far from being a straightforward technique, however, and much depends on the assumptions on which a costing is made. Careful attention has always to be given to the range of external costs and the range of benefits to be included in the calculations, as well as to the basis on which these can be costed. The results usually leave scope for controversy.

cost-benefit analysis

An analysis of a construction contract with the objective of identifying all the included costs and evaluating their benefits.