Hotel and leisure: Butlin’s, Wave Hotel, Bognor Regis, Sussex

Case study
Wave Hotel, Bognor Regis, Sussex

The challenge

The seven-storey, 215-bedroom, 29-apartment Wave Hotel at Butlins, Bognor Regis, cost £22.5 million to build and used a unique lightweight modular system to save on costs and materials. It opened in July 2012 and is a crucial part of the ongoing redevelopment of the West Sussex resort. It is designed to look like an ocean liner, complete with a nautical theme throughout – even the lifts play nautical music!

The objectives

To build a fully accessible hotel using a unique modular construction system, while meeting all the latest building regulations, particularly structural integrity, and fire safety. The hotel site was surrounded by existing accommodation on three sides and had to be constructed with minimal disruption to the resort and its guests.

How local authority building control helped

The delivery of the project required close cooperation between the client, contractor, architect, and Arun District Council Building Control to manage the project and deal with any issues around the modular construction. A key aspect of the design was ensuring the building could be accessed and used by all so ramped access provides routes from the High Street to the entrance and lifts and extra-wide corridors give access to all floors.

The modular construction was highly sustainable, with excellent air tightness, high levels of recycled materials used, and waste designed out. Traffic movements to and from the site were reduced as the modules were delivered already fitted-out. This approach also shortened the on-site construction period which minimised the impact upon the resort.

But this lightweight modular structure pushed the boundaries of construction and needed the input of Arun District Council's building control team to help make sure the innovative approach met the latest building regulations – particularly regarding the strength of the modular construction as this was the first time the approach had been used in a non-standard way. Previous projects had only used modules in rectangular student accommodation blocks.

A bespoke solution was developed to enable the balconies to be supported from the lightweight structure without any visible means of support. And to make sure the building met fire safety regulations a single fire fighting stair was included along with an additional dry-riser and concerns about fire resistance in the voids between modules were addressed.

The results

The building’s iconic design is now a highlight of the Bognor Regis skyline, a key part of the town’s recent regeneration, and has given Butlin’s a new hotel that offers its customers a 21st-century holiday experience.  Its innovative modular construction sets new standards for lower cost, highly sustainable, and flexible commercial buildings.

Find out how LABC can help progress your development

View case studies, a photo gallery, and real-life examples of how we can save you time and money on your development

Visit our Commercial Developers section


Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Sign up to the building bulletin newsletter

Over 48,000 construction professionals have already signed up for the LABC Building Bulletin.

Join them and receive useful tips, practical technical information and industry news by email once every 6 weeks.

Subscribe to the Building Bulletin