Purpose Adaptability studies in the literature include repetitive models and completely independent new model proposals. As a result of the evaluation of these studies, the lack of analysis studies based on a certain algorithm was determined. In this context, in this study, existing models are evaluated in order to contribute to future studies in the context of adaptability. This study is presented as a guide for new studies in the context of adaptability. Design/methodology/approach In the study, first of all, the change of the concept of adaptability in the historical process was investigated by literature review from 1958 to the present. Then, a comparative analysis of the existing adaptability models used in architecture between the years 2007-2020 was made in the context of the main and sub-criteria obtained in the literature research. Findings In the study, the concept of adaptability, the definition of building adaptability and the analysis of adaptability models were examined and findings were obtained under three main headings. The definition of adaptability takes place in the literature on a multidisciplinary scale. In the definition of adaptability, it should cover not only structural but also functional, economic, technological and performance-oriented strategies applied to structures. Although the theories examined within the scope of building adaptability are seen as a guide for future studies, they should be supported by examples that can be applied in a global context. In the study, 7 adaptability models determined by a semi-systematic literature review were analyzed. The matrices of the models based on the adaptability sub-criteria are discussed in the context of scenario, physical life, openness, physical use, barriers and obsolescence. The data obtained is a guide for the models to be used in the future within the scope of adaptability. Originality/value This study presents a semi-systematic analysis of the studies in the literature on the adaptability of structures. In this context, the study serves as a guide for adaptability models to be designed in the future.