Call for Research Participants – Significance of Building Adaption through Sustainability

A call for survey and interview participants relating to building adaptation and sustainability, including the importance of factors which influence building viability versus demolition, from Daniel Wiley; a student in Town and Regional Planning (MA) at Leeds Beckett university.

Information/ Input Needed:

Participants will complete a survey to assess the built environment, focussing on building adaption in relation to sustainability, to assess building adaptions contribution towards sustainability. There will be an online survey and follow up short interview. This should take 30 minutes and can be conducted at a convenient time and date to be arranged online. All answers and results from the research are kept strictly confidential and the results will be reported in a research paper available to all participants on completion.

For more information, or to participate, please contact Daniel at

Research Summary:

The built environment poses challenges as we move into modern times such as environmental challenges which imposes onto our lifestyle of consumption of finite resources and reliance on car culture has prompted policy interventions to find new solutions to mitigate this impact on our built environment and possibly change our lifestyle away from decentralised spatial planning towards sustainable directions of living within cities. Small scale policies aimed at improving our own inner cities and reducing impacts of vacancy of buildings represents a potential opportunity for reviving inner city living, impacts of vacancy of buildings has been noted by researchers including Bullen et al (2011,2009) on adaptive reuse of heritage buildings, this trend in building adaption has been received by many authors including Ball (1999,2002), Barlow et all (1996,1995), Kurul (2007), Heath, (2001), Remoy et al  (2010, 2012, 2011). The benefits towards building adaptive reuse are seen through the eyes of environmental and social tenants of sustainability and the drivers are cultivated through the energy efficiency benefits of using existing structures and recycling material which would inevitably be wasted through demolition. The argument against building adaption focuses predominantly on costs over longer-term economic feasibility of maintaining a building with such outdated infrastructure, hidden externalities of costs involved with demolition such as decontamination and remedial costs need to be incorporated into viability assessments, Bullen (2009). The demolition decisions should incorporate social and environmental factors into the decision-making process when considering a building for adaption as the environmental and social benefits weigh very strongly as an argument to justify the need for the adaption.

Significance of adaption through sustainability

Buildings are linked to sustainability through reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency of environmental goals of sustainable development, alongside social and economic goals. We can incorporate the social and environmental goals of sustainable development into decision making for adaption and use this as a benchmarking tool to evaluate the viability of buildings from sustainability perspectives. The drivers towards adaption have been based around sustainability goals, building adaption according to Binder (2003) saves approximately 95% of the materials of existing buildings and is a strong argument in favour of building adaption over demolition or redevelopment in contrast to the economic argument over finance, the social and environmental opportunities shine light onto adaption, (Ball, 2002). Wilkinson (2011) argues similarly that demolition is wasteful processes if materials are not reused or recycled through adaptation. Obsolescence within buildings presents two opposing factors, an opportunity to trigger buildings adaption and improve a building but also it presents a threat to the built environment through negative threat of vacant buildings being disused and prone to vandalism and graffiti, Wilkinson (2011). Bullen (2007) presents the idea of embodied energy is a key response to environmental problems and presents a sustainable solution to the problem of new build which is seen as a highly inefficient use of resources. My research aims to identify barriers and opportunities through a stakeholder analysis of perceptions and experiences of decision-making appraisal processes which buildings undergo for transformation. The need to focus on the existing stock of buildings given the rising energy costs around the world has prompted this trend, extending the lifecycle of buildings represents a new life for some buildings that undergo transformation, Remoy et al, (2007).

I’ve just given a brief summary of my research I am doing above. This is my survey I have produced through google forms which I will use to distribute my survey. (I am hoping this link will work). This is the link I will use but I will collect email addresses from participants who can access the survey. After the survey is complete, I am trying to gain a follow up 10-15 min interview into some detail about the answers given from the survey. The data and email addresses will be kept safe online through google form account, I will use my google account ( to send out survey request so it might not come from my university email here. The main input I am looking for is finding out the importance of factors which influence building viability versus demolition.