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Title: What is meant by adaptability in buildings?
Authors: Pinder, James
Schmidt III, Robert
Austin, Simon A.
Gibb, Alistair G.F.
Saker, James M.
Keywords: Change
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Citation: PINDER, J. ... et al, 2017. What is meant by adaptability in buildings? Facilities, 35 (1/2), pp. 2-20.
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 therefore examines 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 in order 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.
Description: This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Facilities and the definitive published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/F-07-2015-0053
Sponsor: This paper is based on research undertaken as part of the Adaptable Futures project at Loughborough University. We would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Research Centre at Loughborough University, together with the input and case studies provided by our industry partners. Further information about Adaptable Futures can be found at www.adaptablefutures.com
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1108/F-07-2015-0053
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/20404
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/F-07-2015-0053
ISSN: 1758-7131
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering)

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