What is Adaptive Reuse?

Written by Compton Construction on . Posted in Blog, News

Adaptive reuse is the process of taking an old building or site, and reusing it for a purpose other than it was designed. Typically, it is closely related to historic preservation or conservation around cities with rich history. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to taking on an adaptive reuse project.

Why start an Adaptive Reuse project? 

Site location can often be the biggest advantage of adaptive reuse. These building are typically located in the center of cities, and were most likely once a highly visited location. Although often deteriorated in some way, the character and the detailing are found in these buildings are typically unique to the periods they were constructed, that modern building design lacks. These features are often highlighted in the new use, and preserved versus getting hauled off to landfills. The details are what will offer that one-of-a-kind site for the new tenant.

Issues that might arise with Adaptive Reuse. 

Building codes are the biggest hurdle when converting an old building to a new use. Safety and accessibility are the two biggest concerns with old buildings. Redesigning the building is sometimes required to ensure all precautions are taken for the new use.  Today, building materials are better than what was used in the past as well. Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC usually need gutted and replaced entirely. In some cases, ensuring the reuse is both safe and functional are expensive to replace and upgrade. As with all construction, a strong analysis of the specific location should be meticulously reviewed.

Is Adaptive Reuse right for me? 

There are many factors that will play a role in finding the right Adaptive Reuse renovation. Hidden costs and unexpected issues will arise in most projects, and planning for them early on will make the construction process much smoother. Preconstruction services with contractors, architects, and engineers will help you establish constructability and can address issues before signing a lease or purchasing a building. The services before construction can offer you peace of mind, and provide a cost effective way to preparing for construction, without having to commit to the entire project.


Adaptive Reuse Factory

Second Floor of the Columbus Idea Foundry – Currently under rennovation


Examples of Adaptive Reuse Projects: 

Brioso ThumbLineage exterior

the-carvery-frontLand Grant






Have a project in mind?

Let’s Build It


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