Well OT - expected life of public buildings; leisure/sports centre

This question prompted by the local council proposing to shut both current sports centres as "reaching the end of their useful life" and not economic to refurbish.
One was built in 1985, so just over 30 years of life.
The other was built in "the '90s" with the council being remarkably coy about when in the '90s.
Assuming mid '90s that gives a useful life of 23 years. Maximum is 28 years.
The proposal is to build a brand new leisure centre on a greenfield site out in the countryside which should have a useful life of 30-40 years.
The younger centre is on prime building land in a very desirable area. I am, however, sure that this couldn't be a factor in the decision.
All this made me wonder at the disparity between the projected life of the new facility and the declared life of the older facilities.
Mainly, though, I wondered why modern buildings have such a short productive life. Is there something special about sports centres which makes them wear out but be uneconomic to maintain?
Perhaps it is a change in building regulations which means that bringing a building up to current standards costs more than demolition and a new build?
I know that some '70s and '80s shops, offices and flats have been/are being demolished to make way for new builds so there must be some economic logic.
It all seems a bit bizarre when Victorian mills are being repurposed and Victorian swimming baths are still in productive use.
Have we reached the age of throw away public buildings?
Cheers
Dave R
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On Sunday, 9 September 2018 10:55:16 UTC+1, David WE Roberts (Google) wrote:

I'm guessing the big issue is land value
NT
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On 09/09/18 10:55, David wrote:

It is in fact a fawscinating study. I wasa once involved with some museum coinservatiuionists and indewed received advice about buying a listined building (dion't).
What this man had to say was intersing. After 15 years you tend to need to repaint recarpet, rekitchen rebathroom...spoend 15% of cpaital cost 'modernising'
after 60 years you need a MAJOR refurb with structural issues addressed, and unless the property is a good un, you may actually trash and rebuild.
100+ years the house is almost certainly not worth preserving unless of special interest, not the least because it will have been designed for a lifestyle that no longer exists.
The media age of a house is about 100 years.
Commercial/public property is different. It may have to conform, as public spaces to standards trhat are expesnive to retrofit. Think Grenfell towers ...
I suspect this is why these buildings are being trashed. The actual structure will be dirt cheap, and most of the money will be in the internal fitout.
I've been involved at least peripherally in quite a bit of refurb and rebuild and frankly, rebuild post demolition is a far more predictable cost as well.
Trying to bring an old building up to scratch is expensive. And with mases of virtue signalling legislation WRT to public accessibility, healthj and sfaety, sometinmes its just easier.
And of course the TYPE of space changes fast. Retail shops are alomsot goine - its office or warehouse or resiodential or leisure.
Where the used to be a quarry and a massive scrapyard in Cambridge, is now a leisure centre...

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On Sunday, 9 September 2018 11:40:11 UTC+1, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

you can, and of course some do, but that seems a very foolish practice

most houses aren't suffering structural problems at 60

of course many millions of Victorian properties demonstrate otherwise.
NT
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On Sun, 09 Sep 2018 11:40:09 +0100, The Natural Philosopher wrote:
<snip>

<snip>
I doubt that this is true for houses built around the 1930s.
There was a massive building boom then, and I can't see all those houses being scrapped after the next 12 years or so.
I live in a street of 1930s houses, and although many have been updated to some extent the original structure is still sound.
House(-2) was built in 1896. Still going strong although the current owners have extended quite a bit.
House(-1.5) was also 1930s and still sound - looks good to go another 80-100 years.
House(-.5) - we owned two for a shortish period - was built in the 1950s and was nowhere near the quality of the 1930s houses. Still, we haven't seen anyone trashing and rebuilding around there - although with semi- detached this is a more complex issue.
Current house is 1930s. About 5 years ago we ripped the back out and extended but the rest of the house is still going strong.
Thee are a limited number of houses (quite often 1920s Art Deco) where the large plot is worth far more than the building where people with significant money have knocked down the original and built one (or more) houses on the site but I think this is the exception rather than the rule.
Oh, snipped the bit about 15% of the capital cost modernising. This is a variable figure depending on where you live. A new bathroom in London may well cost more than a new bathroom in Leeds, but 15% of a £150k house doesn't really equate to 15% of an £850k house of similar or smaller size in London. Assuming a capital cost of £350k in a mid range area then this gives you £52.5k for your 15 year refresh. If you spend that much then I would expect it to last a lot more than 15 years.
Cheers
Dave R
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On 09/09/18 12:52, David wrote:

Median is medain.

Some already have been of lower quality in places you never ssw them

Sure. That street.

You dont put a £3k kitchen in an £1.2m london penthouse

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Is that really true given that that was the depths of the Great Depression ?
and I can't see all those houses

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Many older cities have Victorian suburbs, built when the railway came along. Most obviously places like London. So already 150 years old or so and still in excellent condition if maintained. And plenty much earlier.
Wouldn't like to guess how long a modern timber framed house will last - given the timber used these days.
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On 09/09/2018 10:55, David wrote:

Yes. NT explained why.
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30 years is a very typical life for commercial premises. By that point, the heating/aircon will be knackered, lighting worn out and out of date, infrastructure out of date, rooms wrong size, etc. Basically, everything dies at about the same time. So you either have to do extensive rennovations (and maybe still have a building which is wrong layout or size) or demolish and rebuld.
Now, you can design a building from the outset where all those can be replaced and reconfigured for future needs, but that adds a lot of price and tends to only be done in the case of a building where rebuilding the shell is partcularly expensive due to something like special location. Most commercial buildings are not designed that way, and just get demolished and rebuilt to current standards and requirements every 30 years or so.
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On 09/09/2018 12:42, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

With a steel frame building it's long been the practice to gut it and replace all the floors and walls. Some office building are remade as blocks of flats.
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writes:

That hasn't been the case with the buildings built from scratch as a supermarket, those have mostly continued to be used as a supermarket for much longer than 30 years.
And there are quite a few examples of radical reuse of a building without demolition too. In one case it started off as a supermarket, was a picture theatre for a decade or so and is now a supermarket again, without the building ever being demolished.
Another was a the biggest department store in town, with a supermarket on the ground floor, which is now multiple stores with what used to be the supermarket now a large clothing store. That building is now almost 80 years old.
Yes, some have been demolished and replaced entirely, but that's less common than a refub.

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On 09/09/2018 18:38, Josh Nack wrote:

Retail space may be a bit of a special case as bricks-and-mortar shops are mostly low-tech.
And there is of course a spectrum. Eg the target life of new British Library was (from memory) 250 years.
But a lot of office space is designed with 30 years in mind and (especially if the area has unmet demand) redeveloping rather than refurbishing *is* better value for money. Hence eg the fuss when the Britain-in-Aspic tendency want to list buildings such as the 1980s Broadgate complex at Liverpool Street which owners want to demolish and rebuild. A fuss which has resurfaced this summer.
<https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/new-calls-for-listing-protection-as-more-of-broadgate-faces-demolition/10033916.article
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On Monday, 10 September 2018 09:34:22 UTC+1, Robin wrote:

But retail is getting more high-tech and traditional high street shops aren 't closing just because retail is diminishing, but also because retail is m oving to edge of town retail parks and trading estates, with customer parki ng and flat floor-plans for fork-lifts. Compare a Screwfix branch with a "F our Candles" hardware shop.
Owain
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- and by that point, the plant will be difficult to repair or replace like-for-like. The plant is likely to be more of a challenge to replace than a domestic setting, where central heating is pretty modular these days, there's no AC, etc. Also swimming pool plant will likely suffer a similar fate.
Also, if you have to do renovations you either have to shut the building for months or organise the building equivalent of a contraflow while it is renovated while the building is still occupied. If you can build a new one elsewhere, you just need to shut for the weekend, move all the kit over, and open on Monday morning in the new place. The old one is then free to be demolished/repurposed/asbestos-stripped/whatever at its own pace, rather than expensively doing it while open.

Also a 1980s shed looks like a 1980s shed. Sooner or later people will start complaining it's 'outdated' - a problem you can solve better with a cheap rebuild than an expensive refurbishment. It will take a while before 'bog standard 1980s shed' becomes 'architectural heritage'. (I think we're probably there with 'bog standard 1880s shed')
Theo
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On Sunday, 9 September 2018 10:55:16 UTC+1, David WE Roberts (Google) wrot e:

Not particularly sports centres, but a lot of public buildings.
Running costs are a big issue for councils, and a lot of buildings over 20 years old (or whenever they updated the Building Regs last) are very therma lly inefficient. Sports centres and similar buildings often have large flat roofs which were poorly specified at the time and have been a pain to main tain ever since.
Security is another issue - older buildings are often not designed as easil y-segregated sections to which access can be controlled. Instead of giving the Old Codgers' Group a key to the meeting room (which lets for £15 f or the hour) a caretaker has to open up the building (which means a 4-hour half shift at £15 an hour minimum wage + on-cost) so lets to community groups become uneconomic, so the building becomes under-used.
Disability access of course, and this is not just a ramp at the entrance bu t often internal doors need to be widened or power-assisted, new changing r ooms and showers, etc.
Anything built before 2000 may still have asbestos in it.

"It's for the kiddies, so worth destroying the green belt for"

It may be a very sensible factor if the value of the land would effectively pay for the new leisure centre, but they'll never admit that.
Owain
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Ours is part of the library, so no wages are involved in allowing them to be used.

One of our supermarkets did, but they just redid the floor when the previous tenant moved out.

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On Sun, 9 Sep 2018 12:12:29 +0100, Nightjar wrote:

A civil engineer for British Rail (as it was then) told us that all infrastructure work was designed for 100 years without major maintenance, but I suppose a railway bridge is a more serious job than a sub-station (electrical, that is).
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On 09/09/18 17:30, PeterC wrote:

Nukes are designed with a 40 year life, but they are turning out to be pretty good for maybe 60 years.
The critical thing seems to be how much neutron flux the steel peressure vessels have absorbed.
It amazes me that some aircraft - Douglas DC3 - are still going strong at 80 years old, whereas others are dead in 15...
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On 09/09/2018 17:41, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Are there many Dakotas still running? And are they like Trigger's broom (ie had so many parts replaced that none of the original aircraft is still there)?

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