Flexibility & Adaptability

Waterford Medieval Museum. Client: Waterford City Council. Engineer: Frank Fox Associates. Architect: Waterford City Council.

Increased environmental awareness means that, as a society, we are increasingly being advised to recycle and reuse. This ethos is also increasingly being applied to buildings. Rather than knock down and start again, the option to recycle and reuse buildings is being actively promoted. Due to the flexibility and adaptability of concrete, seemingly redundant structures can often be stripped back to their core and then rebuilt to new, contemporary specifications. In the event of a concrete building having to be demolished, it provides a potentially rich source of recycled aggregate for a range of applications.

Concrete’s inherent robustness, flexibility and minimal need for additional finishes mean that concrete buildings are particularly well suited to reuse. They can easily be updated and future-proofed to meet the changing demands of occupiers. For example, the full structural capacity of a masonry or concrete wall, with its considerable reserve of strength and ability to accommodate future changes, far exceeds design requirements. It is this inherent robustness that enables concrete and masonry buildings to cater for increased loads emanating from alterations and adaptation required to cater for future changes in living requirements.