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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Kirsten Arge

The importance of adaptability in office buildings has increased during the past years, mostly due to factors like rapid change, both in private and public organisations…

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Abstract

Purpose

The importance of adaptability in office buildings has increased during the past years, mostly due to factors like rapid change, both in private and public organisations, new and innovative work place design and growing environmental concerns about building redundancy.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design of the study presented here is a comparative case study, where recently built office buildings by 11. Norwegian real estate developers are assessed with regard to 16 different adaptability measures.

Findings

The study shows that office buildings built by owner‐occupiers are more adaptable than office buildings built by the group who develop property for renting and management, and considerably more than the office buildings built by the group who develop property for sale to investors. A short‐term perspective on property investment, i.e. that of the group who develop property for sale to investors, does not favour adaptability concerns. A long‐term perspective as well as a use‐value perspective on property investment, i.e. that of the owner‐occupier stakeholder group, on the other hand, do favour adaptability in office buildings.

Research limitations/implications

Whether this research can help making buildings more adaptable, depends on whether the real estate customers, i.e. the users, they who pay for using the office building, understand the value of adaptability and are willing to pay the extra cost of adaptability. The building professions, including the real estate developers, claim that they know how to make office buildings adaptable.

Originality/value

The value of this paper may lie in demonstrating that this knowledge is not used in practice.

Details

Facilities, vol. 23 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

Oliver Heidrich, John Kamara, Sebastiano Maltese, Fulvio Re Cecconi and Mario Claudio Dejaco

This paper provides a critical review of developments in the adaptability of buildings. The purpose of this paper is to determine the current “state-of-the-art”, describe…

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1151

Abstract

Purpose

This paper provides a critical review of developments in the adaptability of buildings. The purpose of this paper is to determine the current “state-of-the-art”, describe current thinking and trends in research and practice, and identify issues and gaps that further research can address. It provides a basis for a scientific and practical understanding of the interdependencies across different design criterion. This paper increases the awareness of architects, engineers, clients and users on the importance of adaptability and its role in lowering impacts over the lifecycle of buildings as part of the infrastructure system.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws mainly from the literature as its source of evidence. These were identified from established databases and search engines (e.g. Scopus, ISI Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar) using keywords such as adaptability, adaptable, adaptation, and flexibility. Over 80 sources including books, journal papers, conference proceedings, research reports and doctoral theses covering the period 1990 to 2017 were reviewed and categorised. An inductive approach was used to critically review and categorise these publications and develop a framework for analysis.

Findings

The concept of adaptability includes many dimensions which can broadly fall into two categories: changes to buildings and user adaptations to buildings. However, previous research has mostly focussed on the former, with many attempts to identify building attributes that facilitate adaptability, and some considerations for its assessment. Key areas that have not been adequately addressed and which require further research include: user/occupant adaptations, cost, benefits and implications of various adaptability measures, and the development of a standardised assessment methodology that could aid in decision making in the design stage of buildings.

Research limitations/implications

The adaptability strategies considered in this review focussed mainly on building components and systems, and did not include the contribution of intelligent and smart/biological systems. The coverage is further limited in scope due to the period considered (1990-2017) and the exclusion of terms such as “retrofit” and “refurbishment” from the review. However, the findings provide a solid basis for further research in the areas identified above. It identifies research issues and gaps in knowledge between the defined needs and current state-of-the-art on adaptive building for both research and practice.

Originality/value

This paper is a review of research into a highly topical subject, given the acknowledged need to adapt buildings over their lifecycle to environmental, economic or social changes. It provides further insights on the dimensions of adaptability and identifies areas for further research that will contribute to the development of robust tools for the assessment of building adaptability, which will enhance the decision-making process of building design and the development of a more sustainable built environment.

Details

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. 35 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4708

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Article
Publication date: 7 February 2017

James A. Pinder, Rob Schmidt, Simon A. Austin, Alistair Gibb and Jim Saker

Despite being a common term in the literature, there is little agreement about what the word “adaptability” means in the context of the built environment and very little…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite being a common term in the literature, there is little agreement about what the word “adaptability” means in the context of the built environment and very little evidence regarding practitioners’ understanding of adaptability. This paper aims to examine what practitioners in the building industry mean when they talk about “adaptability”.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted a qualitative approach, involving 82 unstructured face-to-face interviews with practitioners from a range of professional disciplines in the construction industry, including architects, engineers, facilities managers, property agents and planners. The interview transcripts were coded inductively to identify themes in the qualitative data.

Findings

The interview data revealed a wide range of perspectives on adaptability, particularly regarding terminology, the meanings practitioners associate with adaptability and the way in which these meanings are communicated to others in the industry. The applied meaning of adaptability varied depending on context.

Practical implications

Conflicting language, and different interpretations of adaptability, is a potential barrier to the development of adaptable buildings. A clearer articulation of the meaning of adaptability (particularly by clients) during briefing and design could give rise to a more appropriate level of adaptability in the built environment.

Originality/value

This study has addressed a gap in the existing literature by foregrounding the voices of industry practitioners and exploring their (sometimes very different) interpretations of adaptability in buildings.

Details

Facilities, vol. 35 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2011

Toru Eguchi, Robert Schmidt, Andrew Dainty, Simon Austin and Alistair Gibb

This paper explores the adaptability of buildings in Japan from the perspective of three distinct practice typologies: large general contractors, large architectural…

Abstract

This paper explores the adaptability of buildings in Japan from the perspective of three distinct practice typologies: large general contractors, large architectural design firms, and small design ateliers. The paper illustrates the cultivation of adaptability in Japan revealing a maturing of concepts into current innovations, trends, priorities, and obstacles in relation to adaptability in design. The paper contextualizes the situation by reviewing the evolution of residential development in support of building adaptability, and the ways in which these policies and concepts have shaped practice and transcended residential design. This evolution is then explored through non-residential case studies undertaken by the three practice types, and supported through a review of critical themes emerging from the interviews. The importance of particular physical characteristics are examined including storey height, location of services, planning modules and structural spacing/spans. The interviews expose the critical relationship between adaptability and different social variables - the state of the market, the role of planning regulations and other legal frameworks; as well as, the misconceptions and variations in the perceptions on the role and meaning adaptability has in practice. The paper is concluded by revealing the lessons learnt, including the unfolding of dependencies outside the ‘black box’ of adaptability (e.g. practice culture, material and, stakeholder mindsets) and the requirement of effective communication of concepts to allow an informed conversation between professionals and with clients and users. Like many other philosophical design concepts in complex processes, adaptability benefits from a mutual understanding, good relationships, communication, integration, and shared goals amongst team members.

Details

Open House International, vol. 36 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0168-2601

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Article
Publication date: 3 October 2018

Zoraya Roldán Rockow, Brandon Ross and Anna K. Black

The purpose of this paper is to present a review of existing models and tools for evaluating the adaptability of buildings. A baseline of the current state of the art in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a review of existing models and tools for evaluating the adaptability of buildings. A baseline of the current state of the art in adaptability evaluation and adaptation decision support is established; from this baseline, gaps for future research are recommended.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review was conducted to identify papers describing adaptability models and tools. The identified models were characterized based on their focus (new buildings, existing buildings, building life cycle), considered variables (physical and/or context features) and degree/type of validation.

Findings

Models can be grouped as those focusing on: evaluating adaptation decisions for existing buildings; the design of new buildings for future adaptation; and understanding adaptation throughout a building life cycle. Models focusing on existing building evaluation are further in development and validation than the other model types; as such, they are more suitable for use by practitioners. Another finding is that modeling of adaptability in buildings is still in its nascent stage and that data-driven quantitative modeling is a prime area for future research.

Originality/value

This paper is the first comprehensive review of models and tools for evaluating adaptability. Other works have evaluated the topic of adaptability more broadly, but this is the first paper to systematically characterize existing models and tools. Based on the review future, research topics are recommended.

Details

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. 37 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4708

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2014

Roel Gijsbers and Jos Lichtenberg

Most buildings are hardly ever technically equipped to adapt to ever changing user demands. Adaptability of building components is known as an essential technical aid to…

Abstract

Purpose

Most buildings are hardly ever technically equipped to adapt to ever changing user demands. Adaptability of building components is known as an essential technical aid to facilitate flexible use. However, for designers and developers it is very difficult to foresee how design decisions related to flexible use effect the efficiency of the technical system, especially when adaptations have to be realized in the future. Due to the large number of variables and interrelations, a structured approach is indispensable to translate (future) user demands into technical solutions for flexible use. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to present a novel method that can assist designers to systematically find suitable measures for flexible use. This method, named comparative selection method for adaptability measures (CSA method), is developed specifically to impartially select and compare adaptability measures.

Design/methodology/approach

The CSA method is principally based on a performance approach, where technical solutions are compared and matched to performance requirements. To accomplish that, specific tools and theories were transferred from industrial product development. The CSA method displays the benefits of lifespan-oriented design, since a distinction is made between initial, once occurring effects and the effects that come with each expected adaptation.

Findings

In contemporary building practice the initial phase is critical for decision making. By a number of case studies, the application of the CSA method reveals that tailor-made solutions with a high degree of adaptability are in fact the most efficient for the long term. Hereby the view is confirmed that a lifespan-oriented approach in design decisions is essential for a sustainable and future-proof building stock.

Originality/value

The CSA method is a newly developed and unique support tool that assists in optimizing flexible building design through the search for best fit adaptability solutions.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

Rosi Fieldson

The retail sector is one of the largest property concerns in the UK at 154million m2 and worth almost £300billion in capital value (IPF, 2015). Whilst it continues to be a…

Abstract

Purpose

The retail sector is one of the largest property concerns in the UK at 154million m2 and worth almost £300billion in capital value (IPF, 2015). Whilst it continues to be a growth sector, many retail developments and supermarkets which have been constructed in the UK since a major boom in the 1980s have seen interventions to replace envelope fabric, update their appearance and be re-configured to suit changing tenant requirements. Others will be demolished to make way for new developments. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

If the cost of adaptations to meet the required outcome is too great, or other drivers are stronger, adaptation becomes conversion or renewal. This process may be more damaging to the environment in terms of energy use, emissions and material wastage but may enable better quality and performing buildings to replace older stock. These decisions will be managed by cost benefit analysis and return on investment (feasibility, viability, risk and market appetite). This paper seeks to understand if it is possible to extend retail building life by anticipating future needs in the retail sector by forecasting what happens after the building is no longer required by the initial user.

Findings

This research has attempted to capture the knowledge and experience of those responsible for advising the stakeholders that make the significant decisions in retail development. Whist the methods may have been less satisfactory in extracting data, it has shown that predicting adaptability is quite difficult for many reasons. A direction towards increasing long-term adaptability the development is summarised in a list of key deliverables.

Research limitations/implications

This study has demonstrated a clear need to increase the consideration of defining design life as part of the performance information of a building or development, particularly in terms of whole life cost and asset value beyond the viable term of the end user and the value of the asset in terms of materials and resources (such as embodied CO2 emissions or sequestrated timber). Assessment of the design and evaluation process adopted when existing buildings are in the process of refurbishment is necessary to demonstrate this benefit.

Practical implications

There remains a major contradiction in the design approach for retail development; the choice between bespoke design which extends the design life and flexible design which maximises the interchangeability of end user. Buildings or parts of buildings may function better for longer if they are purpose built for key operators, anchor retail tenant or leisure use such as a cinema. However, these spaces are more likely to be changed most radically during an intervention to meet alternative functions in the future.

Social implications

For adaptability to be possible and demonstrable it needs to be clearly communicated at all project stages by definition of design life phases in the brief, specification, construction contract and facilities management documentation. Adaptability can be monitored in the longer term by land registration mapping, planning and building control functions in the local authority as these extend above and beyond the scope of each owner or user, however it would be advisable for facilities managers to adopt clear documentation regarding the performance parameters expected at first occupation and how modifications and interventions can be applied for flexibility and adaptability to changing requirements.

Originality/value

This review of current practice in UK retail development has demonstrated that although design teams are thinking about the future of developments, they are also driven to meet current requirement because the immediate future is more important than the extended future for generating retail turnover. They are not expected to document any evidence of adaptability considerations. Retailers are equally unable to speculate far enough into the future and depend on immediate annual sales results to remain economically sustainable. This impasse will ultimately prevent any change in the status quo, and legislative intervention may be necessary if society prefers to see buildings within the urban fabric last longer than the terms of a 15-year lease.

Details

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. 35 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4708

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

Vladimir Ladinski

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of early design decisions made in the 1980s upon the future adaptability of the Gateshead Civic Centre building and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of early design decisions made in the 1980s upon the future adaptability of the Gateshead Civic Centre building and the implementation of a workspace strategy in the 2010s, and how they have supported the efficiencies achieved through the increase in office workspace numbers, and the associated advantages of accommodating more employees within the Civic Centre.

Design/methodology/approach

Available documents related to the original development of the Gateshead Civic Centre and the 2010s workspace-related adaptations were examined to establish potential links between the two, and compare the findings with designing for adaptability-related research.

Findings

The results show that the early design decisions made in the 1980s have contributed to the future adaptability of the building and thus facilitated the implementation of a workspace strategy within Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council in the 2010s. In addition, they have supported the achievement of other efficiencies through the increase in office workspace numbers and location of more employees within the Civic Centre. The findings can guide future trends within the Council, as well as inform organisations on the potential benefits of designing for adaptability.

Originality/value

The study provides a prospective consideration of how an early design decision influenced the long-term adaptability of the building.

Details

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. 35 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4708

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2011

Hilde Remøy, Peter de Jong and Wiechert Schenk

Across use adaptation is a possible way of dealing with long term vacant office buildings, albeit previous research shows that there are many obstacles to be thrived. In…

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2448

Abstract

Purpose

Across use adaptation is a possible way of dealing with long term vacant office buildings, albeit previous research shows that there are many obstacles to be thrived. In The Netherlands several successful transformations of offices into housing were completed. Nevertheless, transformations do not take place on a large scale. High building costs are the main reason. Hence, new office developments should anticipate future programmatic transformation. This paper seeks answers to the questions: Is it possible to anticipate future programmatic change? To what extent will anticipation on future possibilities influence building costs?

Design/methodology/approach

The authors reviewed existing studies to gather information about transformation building costs and the critical success factors of transformations. The building design and costs for new office buildings were then studied, designed with enhanced transformation potential, focussing on two standard office building types, the central core tower and the single corridor slab, using the cost model PARAP.

Findings

The outcome of this research proposes an approach to office development that deals with adaptability as a means of realising enhanced future value.

Research limitations/implications

To limit the research, only two standard office building types were studied.

Practical implications

Next to changes in the construction method of standard office buildings, the research suggests consciousness in the design phase of office developments to improve adaptability.

Originality/value

Based on studies of completed across use adaptations, the paper gives recommendations on how to improve the adaptability of new office buildings.

Details

Property Management, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-7472

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

Rand H.M. Agha and John M. Kamara

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the adaptations that have been made to traditional courtyard houses (TCHs) in Baghdad, Iraq. The aim is to develop an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the adaptations that have been made to traditional courtyard houses (TCHs) in Baghdad, Iraq. The aim is to develop an understanding of various factors in the adaptation of these buildings to suit contemporary lifestyles, which will contribute to the wider field of building adaptability.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical evidence was collected through case studies of 12 TCHs in the Al-Kadhimiya area of Baghdad, which involved a physical survey of buildings and semi-structured interviews with 24 occupants.

Findings

Case study analysis show that building adaptability involves both a change to physical spaces and also to lifestyles; with the latter being more likely when there are limitations in how much change can be made to the physical structure.

Research limitations/implications

The focus of this research is mainly on users’ adaptation of spaces and therefore does not consider the full range of stakeholders involved in the adaptation process. The findings also only apply to the cases considered and may not be applicable to other house types or locations.

Originality/value

Studies on building adaptability mostly focus on the ease of change to the building fabric, although the role of users is acknowledged. This study provides insights into the complexity and variety of changes that users can make, which are influenced by lifestyles and driven by the need for comfort. These insights are represented in an adaptation model, which can serve as a basis for further research.

Details

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. 35 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4708

Keywords

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