As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of the value of recycling, reusing, and repurposing materials. The building sector has also embraced this environmentally-friendly trend by re-using building materials where possible and repurposing existing structures where it is cost-effective.
Adaptive reuse is the term being given to the process of retrofitting an old building for a new use. Adaptive reuse projects still only make up a very small niche in the construction industry, but they are becoming more common as we seek to be more mindful of using our resources wisely.
As technology and lifestyle change, construction and design are constantly changing. Older buildings can be left in the wake of these changes, no longer meeting modern demands.
Restoring old buildings to their original glory can be cost prohibitive, but adaptive reuse allows for the reuse of existing structures to meet a new purpose. Adaptive reuse changes the intent of a building to meet a new need.
As we pursue more sustainable development, there is a lot to gain from adapting and reusing existing buildings. Demolition and reconstruction can be a wasteful process when compared with adaptive re-use. Adaptive reuse also has the capacity to invigorate the community as it seeks to meet the changing needs of the population.
Repurposing an existing construction requires careful consideration. It can save on materials and also costs. There may existing infrastructure that has real value – the frame of a building for example. In some cases, the savings versus a new construction can exceed 30% of the overall cost.
However, conversion projects are often more complex and difficult than a new build. While the savings on materials is obvious. labour costs may outweigh the benefits. One of the biggest factors in deciding whether to repurpose a building is a cost analysis.
Shadforth Lythgo is currently transforming an old home in Caloundra into an Allied Health Centre. Watch this space!