- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 03 Oct 2019
Commercial investments are typically made with funds raised from investors (owners and lenders) in order to generate revenue. A business may an investment in equipment, premises, employees, stocks, and so on.
Investment involves making an outlay of something of economic value, usually capital, which is expected to yield economic benefits to the investor at some point in time. Typically, the outlay precedes the benefits (sometimes by a considerable time), and the outlay is one (or a small number of) large amount, whilst the benefits are derived in smaller amounts over a more protracted period.
Investment decisions are of important because of the resources involved, and the duration of the investment. They can also be very specific to the businesses needs, and so of little future value to others. For example, a construction company might invest in the building of a prefabrication factory to provide its projects with a flow of components. This factory may be difficult to sell on to another user because of its location, size, equipment, and so on. If the company decides that the investment has not recouped sufficient revenues, they may be forced to shut it down or sell at a loss.
 Evaluation methods
Since investment decisions are very important, they should involve careful assessment of all options (including doing nothing). Some of the more commonly-used methods of evaluating investment opportunities are described briefly below:
 Accounting rate of return (ARR)
 Payback period (PP)
This is the length of time it takes for the initial investment to be repaid out of the net cash inflows resulting from the investment, taking into account annual depreciation. Projects that can recoup their costs quickly are economically more attractive than those with longer payback periods.
 Net present value (NPV)
NPV represents the difference between the present value of cash inflows and the present value of cash outflows for an investment. For an investment to be worthwhile it has to yield a positive NPV, meaning that profit will be generated over time as a result of the investment.
For more information, see Net Present Value.
 Internal rate of return (IRR)
IRR is a method of assessing a potential investment’s viability. Anticipated future income and expenditure are used to assess whether or not to proceed. The IRR is the percentage which, when applied to future capital costs and receipts, results in a Net Present Value of £Nil.
For more information, see Internal rate of return for property development.
For more information see: Residual valuation.
For more information see: Development appraisal.
For more information see: Discounted cash flow.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Business plan.
- Cash flow.
- Corporate finance.
- Development appraisal.
- Discounted cash flow.
- Funding options for building developments.
- Gross development value.
- Investment decision maker.
- Residual value.
 External resources
Featured articles and news
How not to upset the planners.
CEEQUAL International and how it works.
Communities across England are being encouraged to nominate heritage assets.
Access control in buildings.
MASTRO project – lifecycle costing and assessment.
Five things to consider before installing solar panels.
New conservation building for the Louvre completed.
A balance between character and climate.
Bamboo pavilion built at London South Bank Uni.
Bringing in an expert.
Why the lowest price isn't sustainable.