Financial and real estate crises and “new ways of working” reduce the need for office space. For example in Amsterdam, currently 17% of the office space is vacant, of which 60% is structurally vacant. As a consequence, office markets have become replacement markets without a quantitative need for new office buildings: Good buildings drive out bad buildings.

When relocating, office organisations consider buildings and locations within geographically defined markets that optimally facilitate their main processes, reduce costs, optimise flexibility, and support image and financial yield. Sustainability is important for organisations to define their image and comply with customer expectations. Hitherto, new office developments were the response to this demand. Meanwhile, vacancy, financial scarcity, public opinion and governmental policy oppose new office construction in locations with high vacancy. New strategies are needed to respond to the demand for sustainable office space and limit new developments. Adaptive reuse of the existing building stock and new adaptive buildings could be the key.

The revealed preferences of office users and organisations are important to understand office building obsolescence and lifespan. In former research the relationship between property characteristics and office user preferences was revealed. This paper aims at answering the question: which physical characteristics are found to reduce the risk of office building obsolescence?

To answer this questions, an extensive literature review is done on revealed preferences, location and building quality, and obsolescence studies. Henceforth, empirical studies are conducted in the Dutch office market to outline the relationship between physical characteristics and reduced risk of office building obsolescence.