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The “Who Cares” Building Index

The “Who Cares” Building Index

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 106) – All IMHO:

Why are hotel projects frequently difficult? 

I have worked on many hotel and resort projects and my old man reptilian brain has recognized some repeating patterns:

  1. Extreme design value engineering
  2. Lowest of the lowest bid construction contracts
  3. Hard opening dates requiring compromises

Design Value Engineering
I get it, hotels have to be built to a budget. However as someone who travels a lot and is lucky enough to stay in good hotels I always experience issues with my hotel room experience. Hotels should be designed from the perspective of user comfort i.e. temperature, humidity, ventilation, noise level, ease of use with controls, water quality & delivery and finishes. In reality these items, particularly the “embedded technology” (building services), are compromised in favour of “shinny visual finishes” in the common areas.

Why? Because hotel users are in temporary residence and hotel owners are disconnected from customers. This makes poor customer experience a low consequences game. Change and excellence only comes from consequences. 

Lowest of the Lowest Bid Construction & Hard Hotel Opening Dates
In this sector you will never meet a main contractor who will say no to any developer requirements, no matter how “King Joffrey” they are. This results in no corner left uncut and a mexican stand-off on completion date. The hotel owner starts the marketing machine for the opening and no matter how incomplete the hotel is, it will open. This often results in minimal or only life safety commissioning prior to opening. 

Why? Because at the end, the main contractor and hotel owners interests become aligned around the opening. 

When I think about hotels in the context of other building types I see a “who cares building index”. I think it goes something like this:

What is my takeaway from this thought exercise? If I was starting a business within the building design and construction space I would target work in items 1 thru 5 above and ignore everything from 6 thru 8. Another way to look at it would be to try and innovate in the residential, hotels and commodity office space. 

I think the main conclusion is that there is a huge opportunity for a building design and construction firm to innovate and change the market with delivery of high quality, zero defect buildings that generate great user experiences. Any firm that can innovate and deliver this at the going market price point will be rewarded IMHO. 

Twitter: @BLDWhisperer

Related posts & links:

#68 – Hotel Design – How Many Stars? ( )

#59 – Building Design Principals Hierarchy ( )

#43 – This is not OK ( )

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