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Conversion of large office buildings to residential will require revamped regulations

Post-1960 offices present ventilation, daylighting, and other challenges.

June 03, 2021 |

Courtesy Pixabay

Transforming older commercial buildings for residential use can be a fairly straightforward endeavor.

Office buildings built after 1960, however, present more challenges, and if a trend to convert these spaces to condos and apartments gathers steam, a rethinking of regulations will be required, say John Cetra, cofounder at New York-based architecture firm CetraRuddy, in a GlobeSt report. Developers and architects will have to be particularly creative in redesigning larger buildings for residential use.

Because the plates are much deeper in large post-1960s office building, there are long spaces where an apartment would be 50 feet in depth from the window. So, the distance between the windows and walls might have to be changed to make up for the ventilation that would have come through a window.

HVAC zoning would likely have to be readjusted, particularly in a post-COVID world with more concern over maintaining healthy indoor air quality. Interior spaces would have to be re-zoned to maintain a higher level of fresh air.

The large floor layouts mean that small studio apartments would have to be very narrow and deep. This will reduce the potential for daylighting.

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