On the St Helier Marina in Jersey over the past few months, contractor Cameron Building has been erecting Bell & Webster's Fastbuild accommodation pods at a rate of nearly 14 bedrooms a week.
The units will form part of the capital's newest four star hotel, and will be the focus for the marina's regeneration. Client for the £21M six-storey building is Waterfront Hotel Development and Ironbridge Estates.
The Fastbuild technique is being used on 166 of the 198 bedrooms. This includes prefabricated bedrooms, bathrooms, stairwells and liftshafts that are craned into position on top of a first floor steel frame structure.
Contractors are currently installing the last of the roof panels for the pods.
'If we'd built the hotel using traditional construction techniques, it would have taken seven months, ' says Cameron Building commercial director Marc Burton.
The refabricated accommodation makes use of factory-engineered concrete for every vertical and horizontal element.
Panels are craned into position and connected up using hidden xings with small amounts of grout to hide the joints.
This provides good acoustic properties with a high quality internal surface ready to paint or carpet, and an external face that can be clad. Window openings were specied at design stage and will span the full floor-toceiling height.
The pods were installed with riser spaces already cut out, but filled with polystyrene and capped with a thin layer of concrete, ready to be broken out to accommodate mechanical and electrical services.
'This prevents the ingress of water into the structure, ' says Bell & Webster marketing manager Roy Spurgeon.
'Once the windows are installed, the structure itself will have a high degree of weather tightness and hence the other trades can be greatly accelerated compared to a traditional build programme.' The main challenge for the contractor was to ensure that the prefabricated elements arrived on site in good time and in the right order. The Fastbuild units were manufactured in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and took three days to reach Jersey by road and ferry.
The rest of the complex is still being built, ready for opening in 2007.