Circular building adaptability in adaptive reuse: multiple case studies in the Netherlands

Mohammad B. Hamida*, Hilde Remøy, Vincent Gruis, Tuuli Jylhä

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The application of circular building adaptability (CBA) in adaptive reuse becomes an effective action for resource efficiency, long-lasting usability of the built environment and the sped-up transition to a circular economy (CE). This paper aims to explore to which extent CBA-related strategies are applied in adaptive reuse projects, considering enablers and obstacles. Design/methodology/approach: A stepwise theory-practice-oriented approach was followed. Multiple-case studies of five circular adaptive reuse projects in The Netherlands were investigated, using archival research and in-depth interviews. A cross-case analysis of the findings was deductively conducted, to find and replicate common patterns. Findings: The study revealed that configuration flexibility, product dismantlability and material reversibility were applied across the case studies, whereas functional convertibility and building maintainability were less applied. Low cost of material reuse, collaboration among team members and organisational motivation were frequently observed enabling factors. Lack of information, technical complexities, lack of circularity expertise and infeasibility of innovative circular solutions were frequently observed obstacles to applying CBA. Practical implications: This paper provides practitioners with a set of CBA strategies that have been applied in the real world, facilitating the application of CBA in future adaptive reuse projects. Moreover, this set of strategies provides policymakers with tools for developing supportive regulations or amending existing regulations for facilitating CE through adaptive reuse. Originality/value: This study provides empirical evidence on the application of CBA in different real-life contexts. It provides scholars and practitioners with a starting point for further developing guiding or decision-making tools for CBA in adaptive reuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Adaptability
  • Adaptive reuse
  • Circular building adaptability
  • Circular economy
  • Circularity


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