Marriott Increasing Modular Construction for Next Generation Hotels

Marriot Hotels, the world’s largest lodging company, is expanding its use of prefabricated rooms in order to expedite faster hotel construction. Prefabricated homes, whether a full-time home or backyard buildings, are a common alternative to traditional housing, but using prefabricated rooms for multi-unit construction is a new development in the industry.

The prefabricated rooms are built in a factory, painted and furnished before they are shipped to the hotel building site. Prefabrication offers economy of scale and cost savings. When building dozens of structures a year, prefabricated and pre-furnished rooms are cheaper, faster and purportedly offer better quality. Prefabricated rooms require less on-site carpenters to install and the inclement weather factor is minimized.

Developers and contractors alike have been impressed with the quality and efficiency of the prefabricated rooms. The teams working on-site as well as in the factory are more adept at their specialties, building rooms that are higher quality in a much shorter time than using traditional construction techniques. The prefabricated rooms are constructed using high-quality materials, for example, the walls are constructed with extra thickness to minimize sound transmission. Influential stakeholders report that prefabrication is a profitable, quick, clean way to complete a multi-unit project such as a hotel.

Prefabrication is especially more advantageous in rural areas, where resources for both materials and labor are often scarce. In much of the U.S., high-quality contractors and sub-contractors left the industry during the economic recession. In today’s market, there’s a labor shortage of craftsman that do finished work. The commercial real estate industry is stretched thin right now; prefabrication helps to address these issues.

Factory fabrication is easier to control, where it is easier for a third-party inspector to review the workmanship as the rooms move through the plant. Once the modular unit is delivered, the contractor expects to only do about 20 percent of the work; 80 percent is completed in the factory.

The prefabricated rooms are built at the same time the ground is being excavated and the foundation is being laid. From a contractor’s standpoint, the details and effort that go into a standard site-built project as compared to a modular project is exponentially greater. The logistics of completing a large project of this scope are dramatically mitigated when the majority of the work is completed in the controlled environment of the factory. Marriot Hotels plans aggressive construction in 2017, including 50 new hotels incorporating prefabricated units.

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