In recent years we have seen modular hotel construction follow a similar trajectory as online shopping: At first each was viewed with quizzical amusement, followed shortly thereafter by a traditionalist’s disdain for the new technologies and then, ultimately, an understanding and even appreciation.
The increased durability is making modular construction an intriguing option for those businesses looking to save money without sacrificing quality. While the United Sates faces the tightest labor market in half a century, modular construction is promising to elevate many growing pains. If you want to create the perfect hotel opportunity through modular design, here are a few points to consider.
What is it?
Modular construction is a process in which a majority of the building is fabricated off-site under factory-controlled conditions, using the same materials and design while adhering to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities. The factory built “modules” each include completed structures, with mechanical, electrical, plumbing, furniture, fixtures and equipment, and exterior and interior finishes.
In 2017, Marriott International unveiled an expansion to its initiative to drive adoption of modular construction of hotels in North America. The company said it expects to sign 50 hotel deals that incorporate prefabricated guestrooms or bathrooms – more than 10 percent of the brand’s signings expected for that year.
Reduced Construction Time: Modular construction units are pre-assembled and pre-finished before delivering pieces to a construction site. That means, on average, you can have a building up and running in approximately half the time as compared to the time associated with traditional onsite construction methods. This is primarily due to the modules being built at the factory simultaneously to the site preparation work to include foundation, utilities, etc. Additionally, the time to market is reduced by the labor efficiencies associated with converting construction projects to more controlled assembly line manufacturing processes. With FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) already installed before shipping, the set up can be as simple as erecting a Lego set. Construction time can be reduced significantly, compared with conventionally built structures. This is especially important in dense urban areas, where traffic disruption and noise mitigation equate to significant costs.
Less Cost and Waste: Numerous factors roll up to make modular constructing more efficient. With reduced waste, decreased construction time, and construction taking place in a controlled environment, the possibilities for cost savings are compelling. In addition, there is a distinct environmental advantage in performing most construction offsite.
It’s also a much more predictable process, which is an additional benefit for the bookkeeps. Modular constructions keep variables to a minimum and eases budget planning burdens. While weather can disrupt construction timing at traditional builds, working in a controlled environment reduces delays. And keeping construction limited to a private offsite also can help eliminate Union Labor issues.
Higher Quality and Better Quality Control: By building and finishing modular units in a factory under controlled conditions, final product quality can be enhanced with a more precise fitting of components, with repetitive installation and finishing performed in a dry, climate-controlled environment.
These modules are then transported to a site where they are stacked (typically using cranes), sealed, and connected to mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (by general contractor crews) to form the completed building structure.
The Finished Product: The greatest thing about modular construction is its versatility. It’s sort of like watching your kids play with Legos. They can basically build anything they want, anywhere. Modular construction is the same. The only limit to what you can do with it, is your imagination.