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Retrofit, Refurbishment and Repurposing: The Action Gap

28th June 2022

Retrofit, Refurbishment and Repurposing are all different approaches that can contribute to sustainability by minimising reliance on planetary material resources for our built environment. Whether deemed worthy of conservation or not, our existing stock of buildings has an inherent positive carbon footprint that increases with longevity.

Maintenance, repair, adaptation and upgrading incur a fraction of new-build energy costs, from the disposal of construction/demolition waste through to the extraction, manufacture and freighting of new-build materials. However, the new-build option still takes precedence over RRR in many cases.

The objective of this Leeds Civic Trust series of webinars is to open up a discussion about the RRR action gap between opportunity and delivery in the construction industries, and to explore identified obstacles and inspiring solutions in Leeds and the North.

Join Leeds Civic Trust for a new series of FREE lunchtime webinars running over the next 7 weeks!


WEBINAR 1: Retro – “Fit for the Future”?

30 June 2022, 12:45 to 14:00

Older buildings were built in a myriad of different ways and RRR can prepare them for an equally long future. This introductory session introduces a range of building typologies through case studies presented by a specialist builder, a project developer and an architect.


WEBINAR 2: Myths and Realities

07 July 2022, 12:45 to 14:00

If properly maintained and repaired, some old buildings may be a lot more thermally efficient than previously thought. This will be discussed by a building physics expert, a structural engineer and an architect through case studies.


WEBINAR 3: Technicalities and Expertise

14 July 2022, 12:45 to 14:00

Upgrades require more labour input, at conception and at construction stage, with a wider range of specialist experts – on the drawing board and on site. This will be discussed through a conservation expert, an expert in Post WWII buildings, and a services engineer.


WEBINAR 4: The Whole House Approach

21 July 2022, 12:45 to 14:00

The word retrofit is usually thought of as a term for domestic dwellings, but there is a lot of confusion about how this should be achieved. A range of experts in domestic retrofit are here gathered to discuss the various options.


WEBINAR 5: Innovative Briefs and Initiatives

28 July 2022, 12:45 to 14:00

Old buildings have a reputation for being unpredictable creatures, not only in terms of budgetary and methodological certainty, but also in terms of statutory compliance and business structure. Some experts discuss here some creative alternatives that suggest otherwise.


WEBINAR 6: Educating the Next Generation

4 August 2022, 12:45 to 14:00

The construction industries often favour new build for a variety of reasons. As a consequence, the sector has been in decline for many decades, with the requisite knowledge and skills in increasingly short supply. This session discusses the future for builders, designers and specialists who are currently being trained.


WEBINAR 7: Heading for the Future

11 August 2022, 12:45 to 14:00

This concluding session will reflect on the ways in which the RRR industries have slowly declined over the last three decades, and will propose some suggestions for how it can be revived and invigorated.

To book webinars

All of these webinars will be recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel for later viewing. Each session will also allow time at the end for a discussion amongst audience members and the opportunity to network virtually. If you have any issues with joining, please contact