Re-using listed buildings through conversion : a process mapping approach
Re-use is the fundamental means of sustaining and thus conserving modest architectural heritage (Grade II listed buildings). Currently, it remains a marginal activity within property development as the direct agents perceive the re-use process to be more complex, construction and project costs to be higher, and the project duration to be longer than new built projects. As a result, the risk of vacancy and obsolescence in architectural heritage Increases. The author asserts that understanding the actual dynamics of the process, and identifying the factors that increase the chances of overcoming challenges associated with re-use, and thus achieving a successful outcome, would be Instrumental In firstly evaluating the validity of the above perceptions, which are widely published in the related literature, and then proposing a 'good practice re-use process' that can be adopted to similar projects. Hence, agents would become equipped with the know-how of carrying out re-use projects. Eventually, re-use would move towards the centre of the property development domain, and subsequently our capacity for sustaining architectural heritage would have increased. Therefore, this thesis focuses on the process of re-using listed buidings. It adopts a process mapping approach m a case study context. The development processes of three re-use projects in London are mapped. The process mapping approach adopted is novel to the property development sector. Its novelty lies in two areas. Firstly, it maps the actual processes instead of proposing a normative process protocol. Secondly, it devises a methodological approach, which is both flexible enough to allow data to 'speak for itself', and systematic enough to allow for rigorous and consistent analysis of rich and extensive qualitative data. Comparative analysis of the maps follow process mapping. Here, the aim is to assess process performances and project outcomes. Then a 'good practice guide for re-use process' is proposed. This is based on the findings of the comparative analysis. The research has shown that the re-use process is complex, but is still possible to achieve success if the development team is competent in managing complexity, flexible and responsive, and adopts a holistic project perspective. Even if the development teams do not have these attributes, they can successfully complete a re-use project if the market is buoyant. The buoyancy of the market can thus counter-balance the direct agents' reluctance to get involved and increase the opportunities of re-using listed buildings. The challenge is to establish and sustain the attributes the development team needs to possess to achieve success in the development/construction industry where short-termism still overrides. Until this is achieved, re- - use is likely to continue to be a marginal activity dominated by a small number of development teams with expertise in the field at locations and times of market depression.