First published in Building, these articles, by Peter Mayer of BLP building defects insurance, are based on the premise that for any component, the market supplies a range of options with different whole life performance and cost consequences. Whole life costs are influenced by durability – component replacement interval, maintenance activities and frequency as well as costs. Other whole life performance factors which make an impact on cost are addressed as applicable, for example thermal or energy efficiency. For each component type: * Common component options are described by the criteria which are expected to determine durability in the UK * Indicative service lives are listed * Key design, installation and maintenance criteria to maximise whole life performance are identified * Pointers are given to further good practice guidance * Generic whole life costs for the common component choices over a 60 year period are tabulated. The longer the whole life performance and lower the whole life cost the better a component performs from a sustainability perspective.