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 on-going 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!
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 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 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 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 their customers a 21st century holiday experience. Its innovative modular construction sets new standards for lower cost, highly sustainable and flexible commercial buildings.
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