From Old to New: Navigating Adaptive Reuse Projects

July 30, 2011
Publication: Structure Magazine p 12-17

Abstract: In many U.S. cities, the alteration of existing buildings has eclipsed design and development of new buildings in both number and dollar amounts. With more stringent credit and financing requirements, initiating new construction has become increasingly difficult. On the other hand, repairing and redeveloping older, existing buildings has become more attractive; not only are the initial costs lower, but intangible factors such as more limited demolition, political issues, and environmental concerns now play a broader role in the decision-making process. Furthermore, since prime locations in large cities are often designated as historic districts, new developments can be limited or prohibited, making adaptive reuse of existing structures the only viable alternative.|Repurposing of buildings, however, often requires special knowledge and effort on the part of the structural engineer. This article describes a number of issues a structural engineer faces during each of the typical four phases of an alteration project: document review, field investigation, structural analysis and design, and construction administration.