The information in this article was presented by Stephen J. Kirk of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls Associates Inc. At the Third National Concrete and Masonry Engineering Conference (NCMEC III), co-sponsored by Brick Institute of America, Masonry Contractors Association of America, National Concrete Masonry Association, Portland Cement Association, The Aberdeen Group, and other industry organizations. When deciding which exterior wall system to choose for a building, you can compare initial construction costs relativley easily. But to select the wall system that will be the most cost-effective over time, you need to estimate the costs to be incurred during the building's anticipated life. Life-cycle costing (LCC) is an economic analysis of building-system alternatives, in which projected costs are expressed in present-year value.In 1994, the Council for Masonry Research (CMR) commissioned Smith, Hinchman & Grylls Associates Inc. (SH&G) to conduct an LCC analysis of four exterior wall systems: 4-inch brick with 8-inch concrete masonry; glass curtain wall; metal panel system; heavy-duty exterior insulated finish on steel studs. SH&G based the initial costs on actual product data from a recent project--a 310,452-square-foot university research facility in Minneapolis. Of the four wall systems analyzed, the masonry alternative was found to have the lowest estimated annual costs and the second-lowest initial and cyclical renewal costs. SH&G found the masonry system to have the lowest total life-cycle costs overall.