The Challenge:

Reducing construction time on site and the cost of developing a new hotel at Bristol Airport, by using innovative structural design and engineering methods.

At the time, this was the most ambitious project in the UK to use shipping container modular units manufactured in a factory in China and transported to the UK by boat, before being slotted together on site.

The Solution:

Kier used advance construction techniques to deliver a ground-breaking solution for the development and construction of a hotel for Hampton by Hilton at Bristol Airport. Pre-manufactured shipping container modular units, built and shipped from China, were slotted together on site to form the accommodation element of a 201-room hotel, built above a traditionally constructed reception area.

When the project started there was limited practical knowledge on the use of pre-manufactured shipping container units. The team quickly gained an understanding of some of the issues and found ways to correct them. For example, it was not possible to fix the roof using adhesive resin, as suggested by the manufacturers, so the team developed a solution using special fixing points.

They also found that some of the containers would not line up accurately, which meant aesthetically adjustments were required when cladding. The workmanship of individual containers varied so supplementary activity was required to put this right, including additional insulation to meet thermal performance metrics.

The Impact:

The pre-manufactured solution meant that it was easier to gain accurate information about the building’s structure and load bearing capacity ahead of construction on site. This helped with the design of the steel frame and to locate detailed design features. Modelling also made it easier to plan the complex routing of services as part of the design.

At the time the hotel was built, this particular technique had only been deployed in two other projects in the UK and both were less complex structurally. This meant that the team needed to develop their own solutions when issues occurred, and these are now available to inform modular builds in future. This project succeeded in reducing the construction time on site and also the cost was considerably less than a traditional build.