Boom in repurposing projects risks escalating error, GIRI warns

19 May 21
Boom in repurposing projects risks escalating error, GIRI warns

The predicted boom in projects to repurpose redundant buildings could undermine efforts to reduce error and get things right first time, participants in GIRI's latest forum agreed. Such projects usually involve multiple cycles of analysis, design and construction that all increase the likelihood of errors occurring; unexpected problems may be uncovered when construction work begins; and the increased demand on building services of adapting a retail unit for residential use adds an extra layer of complexity.

Watch the event on the GIRI YouTube channel.

The forum, which was hosted by Nick Francis of GIRI Training & Consultancy, began with a group discussion of repurposing projects that participants had worked on, and their reflections on the challenges they had faced. A poll confirmed that all of those present anticipated a sudden and significant rise in the amount of projects involving repurposing of existing buildings over the coming months and years.

After reviewing the root causes of error that GIRI research defined for traditional construction projects, and the tools that GIRI recommends for reducing the occurrence of error, participants discussed how repurposing projects differ from the standard new-build or renovation schemes that have until now been more prevalent.

In small breakout groups the delegates considered what the main differences in programme were, and also the implications of these differences for all the parties involved - architect, contractor, client etc - and what impact they might have. 

As well as the challenge of unknowns that might be uncovered during the course of the work, participants discussed the higher likelihood of late changes to design, the lack of knowledge and experience among team members, and the increased risks in terms of programme and cost in such a context. Collaboration and interface management would be even more important to reduce the possibility of errors on these schemes, they agreed.

But as well as the sustainability arguments for reusing existing buildings, the opportunity to reuse existing foundations and eliminate risky groundworks could be a benefit. 

Download the Mural board in pdf format here

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