Here’s one hotel that made a journey of its own. August 2008, Travelodge opened the first hotel in Europe constructed from modified steel shipping containers. The 120 room Travelodge has been built from 86 high strength steel containers which were constructed and fitted with the hotel room’s fixture and fittings in Shenzen, China. Transported to England by boat, they were then put on a truck and fitted together like giant Lego blocks on the site in Uxbridge.
Paul Harvey, managing director of international and development at Travelodge, said, “The opening of Europe’s first hotel to be constructed from modified shipping containers shows Travelodge’s commitment to innovation and cost-effectiveness. Customers will notice no difference in their room to a traditionally constructed hotel, yet they will benefit from the low prices we charge due to our desire to cut the cost of doing business.”
The advantage of using this modular build technique, pioneered by Verbus Systems in the UK, is the affordability and efficiency gains in the speed of construction. Without this new technique, it is unlikely it would have been possible to construct a hotel on the site. It is land locked and on a busy road, meaning access was limited. The placing together of the 86 containers took a mere 20 days, ensuring the absolute minimum disruption to the local community.
Two different sizes of container were used to build the hotel, creating double rooms which measure 5m x 3m and family rooms which measure 3.5m x 6m. Disabled rooms are available, as they are at all Travelodge hotels. The company has also constructed a new 307 room hotel at Heathrow using the modular build technique.
Harvey continues, “The modular build technique pioneered by Verbus Systems could herald a new dawn for hotel development. Where it is sensible to use, this technique will cut costs and speed up construction times significantly.”
Verbus Systems—a joint business venture between consulting engineers Buro Happold and constructor George & Harding—has developed its modular construction system over the last four years. The manufacture of the modules has been outsourced to the global market leaders in the production of shipping containers, China International Marine Containers (Group) Ltd.
Mark Allies, managing director of G&H Group Ltd said, “In successfully completing the Uxbridge Travelodge project, the G&H Group have clearly demonstrated that multi-story schemes constructed using the Verbus System adds value for all involved no matter the logistical restrictions.
With reduced build costs and programs, the use of the Verbus System drives enhanced cost-effectiveness and hence earlier openings and revenue return. This really is the future of construction.”