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Modular Construction Gaining Traction in Hotel Industry

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Glenn Hasek

Modular construction is trending. I heard this week from S2A Modular, a California-based company that designs and constructs electrically self-sustaining residential and commercial buildings. The parts of the homes and commercial buildings are constructed in the company’s MegaFactory. Unique to the company is its net zero approach. Each structure pairs Tesla’s Powerwall system with solar technology to produce zero emissions. Modules are scalable and stackable. The company says it has constructed hotels.

Says Brian Kuzdas, Co-founder and CEO, S2A Modular, “When I reveal to people that world-class hotels from globe-leading chains, such as Marriott, are being built ‘modular,’ there’s a real sense of shock because the finished product is visibly identical to any other hotel…Cost-efficiency challenges associated with traditional construction are eliminated immediately—dramatically cutting down build times, complexity and overall expenses, while offering better quality, customization and real sustainability. We’re changing the game, plain and simple.”

I have reached out to S2A Modular and am waiting to hear back. I will provide more details when I have them.

To view a video of a Ramada hotel being constructed using modular construction, click here.

Marriott’s Commitment to Modular

In May 2017, Marriott unveiled a comprehensive expansion to its initiative to drive adoption of modular construction of hotels in North America. “Construction is the next frontier for innovation, and modular is leading the way,” said Eric Jacobs, Marriott International’s Chief Development Officer of Select Brands, North America, in a press release. At the time, Marriott had opened one hotel under its modular initiative—the 97-room Folsom Fairfield Inn & Suites in Folsom, Calif.

In downtown Seattle, a citizenM hotel is being constructed using modular units stacked atop a traditionally constructed concrete podium. This past summer, Home2 Suites by Hilton, part of Hilton’s All Suites portfolio, announced that the brand will open its first hotel using modular construction in early 2019. Developed by Southern Hospitality Services, LLC., and constructed by Akshar Development Inc., the Home2 Suites by Hilton San Francisco Airport North represents the Bay Area’s first modular build hotel, and the first Home2 Suites by Hilton modular build.

“Staying at the forefront of building trends has translated to faster construction and ramp-up times, making Home2 Suites one of Hilton’s fastest-growing brands,” said Adrian Kurre, Global Head of Home2 Suites by Hilton, in a press release about the project. “The unmatched efficiency of modular building allows us to provide a consistent, high-quality product constructed in as little as half the time of a traditional build, allowing owners to see an even faster return on their investment.”

Modular construction is a process in which a project is built off-site in a controlled environment to produce “modules” which are then assembled on-location. This building technique allows for faster construction time without sacrificing quality, especially in high-barrier-to-entry markets where available skilled labor is limited.

Seattle Hotel Uses Modular Technique

The size of modules vary from the entire guestroom to just the bathroom. In the case of the citizenM hotel in Seattle, modular units—entire guestrooms—were assembled at citizenM’s factory in Europe. Hotel units left the factory finished—down to the toilet paper holder.

At the 612-room Omni Hotel that opened in March 2018, bathroom pods were built off-site in a controlled factory setting, then trucked to the job site for “plug and play” installation. The largest green building benefit of using modular bathrooms is reduced construction material waste—in the short-term during initial construction and in the long-term during hotel remodels and upgrades.

Other projects utilizing modular construction include an employee residence in Old Faithful Village in Yellowstone National Park, and the Days Inn by Wyndham Sioux Lookout in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. The 60-room Days Inn is comprised of 120 sea shipping containers on two levels. The modular units were prefabricated off-site in Calgary, Alberta. The location of the Days Inn, in a remote northern Ontario area where the winters are long, helped sway the owners to build as much of the hotel off-site. By building the hotel that way, the overall construction time was reduced from 2.5 years to 13 months. The modular approach also reduced the cost of the project.

Most of the interior finishing—about 80 to 90 percent—was done in Calgary. Once the containers arrived in Sioux Lookout, they were connected in “Lego-like” fashion. There, electrical connections were made, and final finishing was conducted on the interior and exterior. A spray-foam insulation was used to ensure energy efficiency. Also making the property efficient: LED lighting throughout and low-flow water fixtures.

Got a story to share about modular construction? Write to me at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Green Lodging News Adds BioBag Americas to Product & Service Directory

Green Lodging News welcomes BioBag Americas, Inc. to its Green Product & Service Directory in the “Cleaning & Maintenance/Bags” category. BioBag compostable liners can alleviate cleanliness issues that come alongside collecting organic waste and reduce landfill tipping fees. BioBags:

• Reduce labor costs, keeping containers clean;
• Offer a very high penetration barrier against bacteria, viruses, spores and mold;
• Are Star sealed for extra strength and durability;
• Manufactured in the USA with resin sourced from Italy;
• Non-GMO Project Verified;
• Certified Compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute, meet the US Standard ASTM D6400; and are available in different sizes.

Call (727) 789-1646 or e-mail info@biobagusa.com for samples.

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