11Existing Buildings: Pathology, Upgrading and Demolition

Buildings are a valuable economic asset. They require regular maintenance, occasional repair and from time to time updating and grading to maintain their functionality. Eventually, regardless of the level of care, a building will become unfit for its purpose and hence obsolete. Decisions about whether to demolish an obsolete building and recover/recycle materials, or bring it back to a serviceable condition are usually based on social, economic, technical and (more recently) sustainable factors. The repair, refurbishment, upgrading and/or retrofitting of buildings that have outgrown their original function may, in the majority of cases, be a more culturally sustainable option than demolition and replacement with a new artefact. However, a wide raft of factors such as cost, town planning restrictions, and technical feasibility will affect the decision‐making process. In this chapter, the emphasis is on the technical factors that influence the repair and revitalisation of buildings that are deemed unfit for purpose (obsolete). Attention is also given to the retrofitting of buildings to improve their functional performance, with specific attention given to improving the thermal performance of the existing building stock and accessibility. This chapter concludes with demolition and recycling and reuse of materials.

11.1 The pathology of buildings

Entropy is a rule of nature that states that as soon as something reaches ...

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