Meaning and importance
We cannot of course design for every possible future scenario, but by making some smart design choices we can significantly increase the potential adaptability of the building. The greater the potential to later change the layout or function of the building, the greater the chance that the building can remain in use for a long time without major work. This is how we create value retention at the highest level.
Future-oriented plan and dimensions
A first strategy is a future-oriented plan with smart dimensions. For example, a simple and uniform supporting structure, based on a fixed grid, with sufficiently large spans and enough free height between the floors. This kind of supporting structure enables the building to be used in more ways. We can also incorporate measures with a view to the ability to extend. For example, we can provide technical shafts and rooms with sufficient margin, or oversize certain load-bearing elements in order to be able to add extra floors later on.
Built-in flexibility of use
A second strategy is to build in enough flexibility of use, especially with a view to a changing layout. To make this possible, we need to consider easily movable interior walls (or interior furnishings), sufficient and well-positioned vertical access options and technical shafts and entrances. In addition, the facade design must allow for changes in layout, and we need to consider the accessibility of underlying building components when finishing the interior.
Adaptable technical installations
A final strategy is the design of technical installations that are sufficiently adaptable. Technical installations are closely related to the layout and functions of the spaces within a building. When the layout or function of a building changes, we should ideally also be able to adapt the technical installations accordingly. We can increase this adaptability by already preparing the technical installation for multifunctional use (e.g. zoning, demand-driven, extendable, oversized) and giving enough consideration to accessibility (for maintenance, repairs, upgrades, extensions) and compatibility.