AbstractThe primary goal of this paper was to answer the question: Do empirical data from real-world projects align with Design for Adaptability (DfA) strategies reported in the literature? The data and analysis presented herein suggested that when DfA strategies are present in building design (intentionally or otherwise), they indeed facilitate adaptation. Similarly, when the strategies were not present, the adaptation project was impeded. DfA strategies can contribute to circular economy by designing today’s buildings with the potential to be modified for future needs. Thus, DfA embraces the inevitability of change and allows buildings to be revitalized according to society’s evolving needs and wants. While previous journal papers, books, and design guides on this topic were based on theoretical reasoning, expert opinion surveys, practical experience, and case studies, the current paper contributed to the discussion by comparing DfA strategies from the literature with empirical data from 89 real-world building adaptations. Data were provided by 76 industry professionals and included short descriptions of the buildings’ physical features that facilitated or impeded the adaptation projects. A thematic analysis method was used to evaluate the data. Finally, the research provided practical steps for implementing adaptable design: quality documentation, open floor plans, large floor-to-floor heights, and simple designs.

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