Form, function and the economics of change

Chapter 1 explored the forces and pace of change facing organisations and the implications for those responsible for managing their buildings. This chapter looks in more detail at the relationship between buildings and change, and examines how this relationship can be managed. In doing so, it provides a foundation for Chapter 3, which looks at how we can prepare for possible scenarios based on change readiness. This chapter begins by looking at a way in which buildings can be a catalyst or constraint to change, both physically and symbolically. It then goes on to look at the impact of changing demands on building performance and how this is manifested in terms of obsolescence – the operational costs and constraints borne by occupiers – and depreciation – the reduction in rental income and capital values experienced by building owners. The third and fourth parts of this chapter discuss two inter-related approaches for coping with changing user demands: designing buildings for adaptability and adaptive re-use. This chapter concludes by discussing the implications of obsolescence, depreciation and adaptability for facilities managers and the importance of maintaining a feedback-loop between facilities management and design.