These costs should have been addressed at the initial stage of the project (see planning) and a contingency plan put in place to counter them. It is worth revisiting the information because it illustrates how fluid the initial financial plan needs to be so it can be continually reassessed and revised as the project progresses and its demands change.
The nature of long-term or ongoing costs will obviously depend on the type, size and scope of the project. A good project will always have looked at these and planned accordingly. It may be worth revisiting the planning section at this point for some basic guidelines and to ensure everything you need to consider is being considered.
Planning for the future
If the initial planning was good any ongoing costs should have been accounted for but we can never predict future costs and future income with 100% accuracy. A plan therefore needs to be continually revisited and updated to ensure that the project can adapt to change while never forgetting its original aims and objectives.
Below is a list of some potential ongoing costs that may change over a projects life span and as such need to be taken account of:
- Consultants and Contractors - Costs incurred through outsourcing any of the project work to an external person or organisation.
- Materials – You may have priced the original project build but what is required for ongoing maintenance to ensure sustainability.
- Services - The cost of non-tangible products. The list of such services is potentially very long and can include the cost of borrowing, bank charges, rental or lease costs, insurance costs, audit costs, utilities (such as gas, water, electricity, telephone, cable), local taxes or rates, licences.
- Staff costs - Wages, recruitment etc. These costs are only applicable for larger-scale projects where people are employed.
Perhaps the biggest pitfall here which brings many projects to an end is not planning for ongoing maintenance. Simple things like weather-proofing materials can save a lot of money (and headaches) in the future. Give thought to who will provide this maintenance and how much it will cost. All too often a project can initially show impressive results only to become forgotten and fall into a state of disrepair. Not only is this sad for project deliverers like you to see, it is also a pretty terrible waste of money.
This list is not exhaustive and is meant as a guide to a few of the ongoing costs and issues the project may encounter. Think about how you will curtail these costs so that they don't affect the sustainability of your project.
All of the above considers costs which might reasonably be anticipated or planned for. There is another category of project cost though, the costs which could materialise, but where the likelihood is very low. Much like in life it is always useful to have some sort of plan for dealing with these. This may include keeping a small surplus in the budget and ensuring that you have taken out the appropriate insurance cover (see Insurance). It may also be worth ensuring that you are up to date with any liabilities relating to the land associated with the project. The legal aspects of liabilities associated with land use or ownership varies across the European Union and it is therefore important to consider this whole subject within the context of relevant national laws. For more specific details please see previous section Land rights and consents.
As you can see a sustainable project will contain variables that a project with a time specific plan will not necessarily have to contend with. It is therefore crucial at this point to account for the maximum potential costs that could be incurred and find some way to mitigate them. This will create the framework going forward that will ensure the continued sustainability of your project.
Go to the next section - Long term funding