Feedback and Engagements

Barriers to the reuse of empty buildings

Written by Gillian Armstrong School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Adelaide 16/05/2017
City scape of SA

All stakeholders involved in change-of use adaption for obsolete buildings are invited to share their professional views and experience in a survey being conducted by the University of Adelaide.

The Survey

Research is underway on key barriers to the feasibility of ‘change-of-use’ conversions of non-heritage buildings within Australia. The case study will be based on Adelaide’s CBD, where commercial building vacancy rates are persistently reported as significant problems. The research study however is interested in gathering data from professionals across Australia.


Obsolete buildings stand empty and fall into disrepair or face premature demolition if a change-of-use is not feasible. This has economic, social and environmental consequences. Some state governments are starting to take steps to acknowledge the benefits of adaptive reuse. However, there is significant industry discussion of barriers to change-of-use conversion. There are broad brush claims that barriers often stem from building regulation and its enforcement. But beyond the rhetoric, there is a lack of detail and hard evidence to back-up claims of regulatory barriers to ‘change-of-use’ conversion.

Who should participate

Participation in the survey is welcome from all stakeholders involved in adaptive reuse developments, including regulation officials, building owners and built environment consultants. This research is led by Professor George Zillante, Professor Veronica Soebarto and researcher Gillian Armstrong, University of Adelaide, South Australia.

More information

A short smart-phone compatible podcast explaining the research is available. The research was recently featured by SA’s InDaily newspaper.

The results of the research will be shared with participants at the end of the study, if they so wish.

Access survey

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