Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on May 16, 2017
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on June 5, 2017
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 29, 2017


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) encourages the owners of all civil infrastructure, public and private, to become performance-based owners through:

  • Use of performance-based standards for the procurement, design, operation, maintenance, and reuse/decommissioning of infrastructure;
  • Use of infrastructure rating tools, such as the Institute of Sustainable Infrastructure's Envision, that encourage sustainable engineering practices and life-cycle performance of infrastructure projects;
  • Inclusion of a comprehensive life-cycle cost analysis in the decision-making processes;
  • Encouraging the use of innovative technologies; and
  • Consideration of the effect of the overall resilience on the affected community.

ASCE believes that broad adoption of the principles of performance-based-ownership will lead to significant reductions in the life-cycle cost of all civil infrastructure, increased public safety, and improved sustainability.


Performance-based ownership emphasizes the desired characteristics of the final system, structure, component, material, product, service or activity rather than the processes and other inputs required to produce it. The benefits include fostering innovation, encouraging new technology development, transparency, efficiency, and a focus on life cycle costs.

Life-cycle performance is a methodology for assessing the total cost of ownership of an asset (civil engineering project). It takes into account all costs for acquiring, planning, permitting, engineering, procuring, constructing, owning, operating, maintaining, and disposing of the asset. Thus, capital costs are only one facet of the total life-cycle costs.


As the profession most responsible for the built environment, civil engineers have a responsibility to make the most efficient use of public and private infrastructure investments. This can best be achieved by improving the life-cycle performance of civil engineering projects.

This policy has worldwide application
ASCE Policy Statement 543
First Approved in 2014