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Building retrofit

We look at each asset afresh – buildings, campuses, property portfolios or entire districts – to find improvements that bring maximum value and resilience.


Over 60-plus years, Arup has worked on more than 10,000 projects around the world to repair, reconstruct, refurbish, reconfigure, re-invigorate and restore value to buildings. These include high-profile models for better building performance such as Unilever House’s award-winning retrofit.

Today, we take a finely honed analytical approach, underpinned by keen appreciation of the real-world needs of building owners and occupants.

Getting more from existing buildings will benefit users, the community, the environment, business and the bottom line.

John Turzynski, Director, Arup

Strategic improvement

Value has many dimensions. We consider financial, environmental and design performance alongside market risk and occupant wellbeing. Our analysis starts building owners and occupiers in the right direction by helping them choose the surest way to make their assets work harder.

Results often exceed expectation. Our interventions at 39 Hunter St, Sydney helped revive a 90-year-old building. It became not only an A-grade commercial space, quickly occupied by blue-chip tenants, but also the first heritage-listed building to attain the top grade in office design under Australia’s Green Star, an environmental rating that also considers productivity and cost.

Expertise that adapts

With integrated skills in consultancy, design and project management, we can take projects from concept to delivery. Or we can bring sharp focus to one element of asset optimisation, such as post occupancy evaluation or retro-commissioning.

For Pfizer, we focused on energy efficiency measures to enhance corporate sustainability and reduce costs at its 38-acre research campus in La Jolla, California. We identified and implemented energy-saving projects that cut annual operating costs by more than US$1m and carbon by 5,000 tonnes. The projects paid for themselves in less than six months.

For Queen Mary, University of London, we designed a strategic carbon management and implementation plan to achieve a target reduction of 34% in CO2 emissions by 2020. The resulting interventions to systems, buildings and infrastructure also improved flexibility, efficiency, user-satisfaction and reputation of the University’s estate.

Solutions for a world of challenges

We have the technical expertise and global insight to meet local requirements anywhere. But our know-how goes beyond solutions with readily quantifiable benefits, such as low or zero carbon technologies. Our building performance and systems specialists analyse occupant satisfaction feedback from buildings worldwide. Knowing what makes occupants happy, healthy and comfortable, we can align technical and human performance to deliver value beyond cost savings.

Whatever the benefits sought by asset managers and owners, we help realise their true value with tailored investment advice and a market-tested approach.

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Global contact

  • Chris Jofeh
  • Building Retrofit Leader

Explore our work


39 Hunter Street looking up from street. Credit Matthew Jeffery.

Project: 39 Hunter Street

Redevelopment and refurbishment of a 90-year-old office building in Sydney, Australia.

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Project: Unilever House

Sustainable refurbishment for a stunning listed building in London.

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Joseph Vance Building. Credit William Wright Photography.

Project: Joseph Vance Building

Renovation of an iconic 1920s Seattle building to LEED® Gold certification.

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P & G, exterior view. Credit: Arup

Project: P&G Facilities

Structural design for a seismic retrofit of existing buildings.

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