Wst 06 Functional adaptability

Number of credits available Minimum standards Applicability
1 No

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Yes Yes Yes Yes


To recognise and encourage measures taken to accommodate future changes of use of the building over its lifespan.

Assessment criteria

The following is required to demonstrate compliance:

One credit - Functional adaptability

  1. A building-specific functional adaptation strategy study has been undertaken by the client and design team by Concept Design (RIBA Stage 2 or equivalent), which includes recommendations for measures to be incorporated to facilitate future adaptation.
  2. Functional adaptation measures (see examples in Table 69 ) have been adopted in the design by Technical Design stage (RIBA Stage 4 or equivalent) in accordance with the functional adaptation strategy recommendations, where practical and cost effective. Omissions have been justified in writing to the assessor.

Checklists and tables


Compliance notes




Applicable assessment criteria


Part 1: Fabric and structure All assessment criteria are applicable.


Part 2: Core services All assessment criteria are applicable.


Part 3: Local services All assessment criteria are applicable.


Part 4: Interior design All assessment criteria are applicable.
Simple buildings


Applicable assessment criteria All criteria relevant to the building type and function apply.


Functional adaptation strategy study

This should consider:

  1. The potential for major refurbishment, including replacing the façade.
  2. Design aspects that facilitate the replacement of all major plant within the life of the building, e.g. panels in floors/walls that can be removed without affecting the structure, providing lifting beams and hoists.
  3. The degree of adaptability of the internal environment to accommodate changes in working practices.
  4. The degree of adaptability of the internal physical space and external shell to accommodate change in-use.
  5. The extent of accessibility to local services, such as local power, data infrastructure etc.

For additional guidance, see Table 69 in the Other information section.


Functional adaptation implementation

The implementation will be specific to the building and scope of the project, but information should be made available to the assessor covering:

  1. The feasibility for multiple/alternative building uses and area functions, e.g.related to structural design of the building.
  2. Options for multiple building uses and area functions based on design details, e.g. modularity.
  3. Routes and methods for major plant replacement, e.g. networks and connections have flexibility and capacity for expansion.
  4. Accessibility for local plant and service distribution routes, e.g. detailed information on building conduits and connections infrastructure.
  5. The potential for the building to be extended, horizontally and/or vertically.




Ref Interim design stage
Final post construction stage
All One or more of the appropriate evidence types listed in The BREEAM evidential requirements section can be used to demonstrate compliance with these criteria.
All Functional adaptation strategy and implementation plan report. As per interim design stage.

Additional information

Relevant definitions

Building functional adaptation
Work to an existing building that responds to a required change of use or requirements and goes beyond maintenance and repairs. These changes solve functional problems and could provide significant improvements. The functional adaptation works could include alterations, conversions and/or extensions.
Functional adaptability
The ability of a building to be adapted for a change in operational requirements within the same building type or for use as a different building type.

Other information

The Health Technical Memorandum 07-071 includes guidance on future-proofing healthcare buildings.

Table 69 provides examples of of functional design measures that may be adopted for each assessment part when considering accessibility, spatial adaptability and expandability.

Table 69 Design measures allowing future adaptation

  Accessibility Spatial adaptability Expandability

Part 1: Fabric and structure

  • External walls
  • Cladding
  • Ground and first floor
  • Roof

Use of products or systems which allow easy replacements

Location of structural components within the floor space

Provision to add extensions or alterations to increase building capacity

Parts 2 and 3: Core and local services

  • Mechanical and electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Stairs and lifts
  • Fire

Inclusion of facilities management requirements and CDM feedback for future operational needs


Provision of capacity in infrastructure to enable future expansion and adaptation

Part 4: Interior design

  • Finishes
  • Floors
  • Interior walls
  • Connections

Use of products or systems which allow easy replacements

Layout in standardised grids

Use of inherent finishes to allow replacement

Use of standardised material sizes

Identifying or recognising potential future functional requirements

Efficient use of space to allow for any increase in occupancy