What Is Construction Retrofitting?

Published on
May 14, 2022

If you're new to the industry, or just haven't heard the term before, you may be wondering: what is "retrofitting" when it comes to construction? Simply put, it's essentially the modification of an existing structure to make it safer, more durable, and often more energy-efficient. Let's take a closer look at construction retrofitting below.

Why Would I Need to Retrofit a Structure?

There are a few key reasons why you might need to retrofit your building or structure.

Bring Old Buildings Up to Code

First and foremost, it's important to remember that our understanding of building materials and construction techniques is always evolving. What may have been considered "safe" a few decades ago may not meet today's standards. As a result, retrofitting can help bring an older structure up to code and improve its safety.

Better Quality Materials

Similarly, construction techniques and materials also continue to get more durable and efficient. By retrofitting an existing structure, you can take advantage of these advances and make your building more resistant to wear and tear, weather damage, and other threats. 

Save Money on Energy Bills

Finally, many construction owners are retrofitting their buildings to save money on energy bills. Newer, more energy-efficient windows, insulation, and HVAC systems can help lower your monthly expenses, and in some cases, may even help you qualify for tax breaks or other incentives.

What Are the Different Types of Retrofitting?

Now that you have a better idea of its purpose, it's time to take a look at some of the most common types of construction retrofitting projects.

Seismic Retrofitting

Seismic retrofitting is a popular option in areas that experience a lot of seismic activity like earthquakes. This type of retrofitting often involves adding steel or concrete reinforcement to the building's foundation to improve its stability and prevent it from collapsing during an earthquake.

Wind Retrofitting

Another common type of retrofitting is wind retrofitting, which helps improve a building's resistance to high winds. This can be done by adding hurricane straps or shutters to windows and doors, as well as reinforcing the roof.

Flood Retrofitting

If you live in an area that's prone to flooding, you may want to consider flood retrofitting. This is often done by installing flood barriers and/or raising the elevation of the building.

Fire Retrofitting

Finally, fire retrofitting helps improve a building's resistance to fires. This may involve installing fire sprinklers, installing fire-resistant materials, and implementing other types of fire safety measures.

Are There Any Downsides to Construction Retrofitting?

While it certainly has many benefits, like anything, construction retrofitting does have a few potential downsides.


The biggest downside of construction retrofitting is the cost. In many cases, retrofitting can be quite expensive, especially if the building is large or complex. However,  it's important to remember that retrofitting can actually save you money in the long run by improving the safety, quality, and energy efficiency of your building.


Another potential downside of retrofitting is the disruption it can cause. Since retrofitting often involves making changes to the structure of the building, it can be disruptive to the people who live or work there. In some cases, it may even be necessary to temporarily relocate residents or businesses during the retrofitting process.

The Bottom Line

Overall, construction retrofitting is a great way to improve the safety, quality, and energy efficiency of your building. While it can be expensive and disruptive, the long-term benefits often outweigh the short-term costs. If you're considering retrofitting your building, be sure to consult with a qualified professional to get started.

Ready to start your custom project? Contact JA Custom Homes today to discuss your needs!