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Marriott's Big Bet on Modular Hotel Construction

Jan. 22, 2020
Marriott has seen some huge cost & time savings with modular construction. What might this trend mean to the electrical market?
At this week's NAED Western Conference in Phoenix, the association ran this fascinating video (see below) on Marriott's commitment to modular construction during the general session.

Electrical Wholesaling has previously reported on the modular construction trend, and our editors think it’s one of the most interesting new technologies now on the scene. Marriott has found that modular construction can drastically reduce the time and cost it takes to build a hotel and is currently building its AC Hotel New York NoMad in midtown Manhattan with this construction technique. The company says will be the world’s tallest modular hotel. It’s expected to be completed in late 2020.

According to a press release on the project, “The 168-room, 26-story AC Hotel New York NoMad is scheduled to rise at 842 Sixth Avenue with prefabricated guestrooms arriving at the hotel site fully constructed, inside and out. Besides finished, painted walls, each 'module' will contain a fully outfitted guest room – with beds, sheets, pillows, flooring and even toiletries. The hotel’s roof and rooftop bar are expected to be produced using modular construction, and its more customized public areas such as the restaurant and lobby are expected to be constructed using traditional methods.”

"This is the moment where modular construction takes center stage," said Danny Forster, a leading modular building advocate whose firm, Danny Forster & Architecture, designed the project, in the press release. "This hotel takes every advantage of off-site manufacturing, as you might expect. But it does so in a way that defies expectation. We wanted to demonstrate that modular building can do more than just harness the efficiencies of the factory. It can produce a graceful and iconic tower. And yes, it can do so at the rate of an entire floor a day." Forbes magazine posted an interesting article on the project late last year that said modular construction can reduce build time by 25%.

The prefab hotel rooms are built in Poland and are shipped to the  U.S. The press release said Marriott began researching modular construction in 2014 to offset lengthening hotel construction times – a trend attributed to the nation’s building boom and resulting labor shortages. Since 2011, Marriott has seen the average time to build and open a hotel in North America increase by as much 50%, depending on factors such as location and size of property.

Since the launch of Marriott’s initiative, the company’s development partners in North America have opened 31 Marriott-brand hotels – all low-rise structures – that incorporate prefabricated guestrooms and/or bathrooms, including a Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites in Folsom, Calif.; a Courtyard by Marriott in Pullman, Wash., and three AC Hotels in Oklahoma City, Louisville, Ky., and Chapel Hill, N.C. To date, the largest Marriott-branded modular-built to open is the 354-room, dual-brand Courtyard and TownePlace Suites by Marriott property in Hawthorne, Calif., while the first to also incorporate a prefabricated elevator bank was the Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites in Prairie, Wisc. Later this year, a developer will start stacking the first modular-built Moxy hotel in the United States in downtown Oakland, Calif.

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