• “American first”: Chinese steel modules make California apartment block in four days
    A four-story apartment building has been erected in Berkeley, California in just four days using steel modules manufactured in China.
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    “American first”: Chinese steel modules make California apartment block in four days
    Published : 2019-09-17

    Its developer claims it is the first such use of Chinese modules for building in the US, but said the approach did not save as much money as expected.

    The 22-unit building will be leased to graduate students attending the University of California, Berkeley, in a deal that sees developer Patrick Kennedy’s company provide maintenance and cleaning.

    Completed at the end of July, the building is squeezed into a narrow lot measuring just 5,200 square feet at 2711 Shattuck Avenue, near the city’s downtown.

    Having arrived fitted out, the apartments will be open to students in time for the autumn semester.

    In all, the project, took four months starting with site preparation and foundation laying.

    Kennedy, whose company Panoramic Interests specialises in novel and infill developments, told local news site Berkeleyside that he’d have preferred to source the modules from domestic companies, but that their backlogs of orders were too great.

    “This is the first steel modular project from China in America,” Kennedy told Berkeleyside, adding that new tariffs on imported Chinese steel hadn’t affected this project.

    Kennedy has been working on the project, called Shattuck Studios, for some time. It was initially approved by the city in 2010 as a hotel, then re-approved in 2015 as studio apartments. In that guise, Kennedy leased the units to the university student housing.

    He said the modules were shipped to Oakland then trucked to the site, noting that the US leg of the journey cost more than the voyage from Hong Kong.

    Each module is a 310-square-foot studio apartments with a bathroom, pre-fitted with a kitchenette, a sofa that converts to a queen-size bed, flat-screen TVs and coffee makers.

    As for the purported cost benefits of prefabrication, Kennedy said he might actually have saved money building conventionally.

    “Sixty-five to seventy-five-percent of the construction costs are still incurred on the site. In addition to the usual trades, we have crane operators, flagmen, truckers and special inspectors,” he toldBerkeleyside.

    “We are very happy with the quality of construction and the finished product — but we learned that smaller sites posed lots of difficulties — access, traffic management, proximity to neighbours.”

    “We might have saved some money building this conventionally, but we view this more as a research & development project — and in that capacity, it was very helpful and educating.”

    He said prefabrication would likely be better for larger projects.

    Top image: Each module is a 310-square-foot studio apartment with a bathroom, pre-fitted with a kitchenette (Panoramic Interests)As for the purported cost benefits of prefabrication, Kennedy said he might actually have saved money building conventionally.

    “Sixty-five to seventy-five-percent of the construction costs are still incurred on the site. In addition to the usual trades, we have crane operators, flagmen, truckers and special inspectors,” he toldBerkeleyside.

    “We are very happy with the quality of construction and the finished product — but we learned that smaller sites posed lots of difficulties — access, traffic management, proximity to neighbours.”

    “We might have saved some money building this conventionally, but we view this more as a research & development project — and in that capacity, it was very helpful and educating.”

    He said prefabrication would likely be better for larger projects.

    Top image: Each module is a 310-square-foot studio apartment with a bathroom, pre-fitted with a kitchenette (Panoramic Interests)


  • Award Winning Hotel Opens at Birmingham Airport
    Birmingham Airport has just welcomed Hilton Garden Inn as an additional hotel to its existing selection of four onsite hotels.
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    Award Winning Hotel Opens at Birmingham Airport
    Published : 2018-10-15

    Birmingham Airport has just welcomed Hilton Garden Inn as an additional hotel to its existing selection of four onsite hotels. Providing customers with convenience and ease of travel, Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham Airport is located approximately 100 metres away from the airport passenger terminal.


    The hotel held a launch event last week, with guests invited to celebrate officially opening the hotel doors to the general public. Guests included Deputy Mayor and Councillor, Bob Sleigh OBE and Castlebridge Managing Director, Alastair Cattrell. 

    Rooms start in the region of £89 with the hotel boasting 178 guestrooms, along with The Odyssey Bar & Bistro - a restaurant which brings a modern English adaptation to the traditionally known bistro. In addition, the hotel offers amenities and services including; complimentary Wi-Fi, a 24-hour business centre, two meeting rooms over 800 square feet and a fitness room.

    Passengers and holiday seekers looking for short or long stay accommodation have a range of hotels to choose from. Seven hotels are available, all within proximity to Birmingham Airport, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), and Resorts World – providing visitors with a range of restaurants, bars and shopping options. The city centre is also a short 10-minute train journey away for those wanting to explore what the area has to offer further.

    Hotels located within the airport site include Travelodge, Novotel, Holiday Inn, Ibis, Ibis Budget as well as the newly opened Hilton Garden Inn. The Genting Hotel at Resorts World is situated less than two miles from the airport.


    Jo Lloyd, Business Development Director, from Birmingham Airport said: “Last year, we experienced our busiest year to date with nearly 13 million people travelling through our airport doors. With this figure set to increase, it’s important we have hotel facilities available either onsite, or near the airport to accommodate customers who need to stop over.

    “We’re delighted to have added Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham Airport to our overall hotel offer and hope our customers enjoy the award-winning Hilton brand.”

    Jonathan Smith, General Manager at Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham Airport commented: “We’re delighted to offer travellers convenient and great value accommodation on the airport’s doorstep and are excited to grow the Hilton Garden Inn experience in Birmingham.

    “We look forward to enriching travellers’ time with our renowned approach to hospitality, whether it’s dining at our unique restaurant or taking comfort in our spacious and fully equipped guestrooms with uninterrupted views of the airport runway.”

  • Newcastle University’s largest accommodation site officially opens
    Completed in under two years, Park View Student Village has been officially opened by Newcastle University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Chris Day.
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    Newcastle University’s largest accommodation site officially opens
    Published : 2018-12-10

    Completed in under two years, Park View Student Village has been officially opened by Newcastle University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Chris Day. The opening ceremony was attended by University staff, teams from the principal contractor, Galliford Try plc, and members of the public.

    Paul Bandeen, Director of Accommodation Services at Newcastle University, said: “We were very excited to see Park View Student Village open its doors and welcome our students to this high-quality facility, designed to meet their needs and expectations.

    “This has been a major project for Newcastle University and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to bring atop-class living environment to all of our students. I think everybody involved should be very proud of what has been achieved.”

    Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President, added: “Access to high quality accommodation is an important part of student life and a significant factor in defining students’ university experience. As a University, we have a long-standing commitment to delivering an outstanding experience for our students, not only through the excellence of our teaching and learning provision, but also by providing facilities of the highest possible standard, and that includes safe, affordable, comfortable living accommodation.


    “We recognise that students making the transition to University require support and guidance, so our Accommodation Services team are implementing a Residences Life programme that’s designed to educate and support students while they are living in our accommodation. This means we can ensure they develop the skills they will need to enable them to move on to living within the wider community when they leave University accommodation.

    “I’m pleased to say that our students already consistently rate the standard of their accommodation very highly, and I feel sure that with the addition of Park View Student Village to our portfolio, our standing can only improve.”


    Newcastle University’s largest capital project

    Replacing the 1970s buildings in Richardson Road, the £75m Park View Student Village is Newcastle University’s largest capital project. Almost 800 modules have been assembled together to create the halls of residence, making the biggest project using pre-fabricatedunits in the UK.

    Cliff Wheatley, Managing Directorof GallifordTry North East and Yorkshire, said: “Park View student village has been an outstanding project to be a part of. The team has pushed the envelope in terms of the technical excellence and response to the challenges presented by such a significant build process and I congratulate them for that. I genuinely believe that we have produced a high-quality development that provides a fantastic place to live for the students of Newcastle University for years to come.”

    The six accommodation blocks are namedafter local rivers: Alwin, Breamish, Derwent, Irthing, Pont and Rede.

    Park View Student Village provides 1,261 self-catered en-suite bedrooms in four, six, seven and eight-bedroom flats, as well as 16 single studios across six residential blocks.

    As part of the redevelopment, Newcastle University worked with charities to donate 6,500 out of the 10,000 items off urniture from the Richardson Road site - students have been involved in the planning and design project.

    Prior to building works, an ecology survey was carried out where it was found that the site was an active area for bats. Two bat houses with solar panels were built for the bats to encourage the animals to stay on the site.

    Only weeks after opening its doors,Park View Student Village has started winning industry awards. The accommodation site won the Most Innovative Project of the year and was recognised with a Special Commendation in the Large Project Category at the Northern Counties Institution of Structural Engineers Award.


    Newcastle University’s newest and largestaccommodation site has welcomed its first student residents.

    Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellorand President talks to a PVSV resident


    "This has been a major project for Newcastle University and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to bring atop-class living environment to all of our students"

    ——Paul Bandeen, Director of Accommodation Services at Newcastle University





    Park ViewStudent Village facts and figures


    • Stacked together, the pods wouldmeasure 2,178 metres in height, which is approximately seven times the size ofthe Shard in London (310 metres)
    • The pods total size is 37,000 squaremeters (that’s around 5.2 times the surface of St James’ Park)
    • If put together end to end, the totallength of all modules would be 12.2 metres (around 6 miles) in length
    • This means we could lay them out fromRichardson Road beyond Wall send
    • At the busiest period of the buildthere were 271 people on site in a single day
    • The construction company was on sitefor a total of 110 weeks (up to intake), which equals 550 work days (work week)or 770 days including weekends and holidays
    • The site has a dedicated common roomand gaming lounge
    • The gaming lounge features a customdesigned wallpaper showing the Newcastle landscape as a retro video game
    • Staff enjoy access to a modern,spacious staff break area




  • New hotel open for business near AberdeenInternational Airport ...
    New hotel open for business near AberdeenInternational Airport Hampton by Hilton Aberdeen Airport generalmanager Sandra Brooks...
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    New hotel open for business near AberdeenInternational Airport ...
    Published : 2018-07-02

    The first of twonew hotels has opened in a £34million-plus investment creating more than 100jobs in the north-east.

    Hampton by HiltonAberdeen Airport, with 155 bedrooms, is now welcoming guests following itsconstruction on the D2 Business Park at Dyce.

    A 173-bedroomHampton by Hilton is due to open in Westhill in May, joining a brand portfolioof more than 2,000 hotels across 17 countries.

    The investment byinternational property developer Bricks Capital, which has offices in HongKong, London, Manchester and Glasgow, adds more than 300 rooms to anincreasingly competitive hotel market in and around Aberdeen.

    It also takesBricks’ investment in Scottish properties to date to £100million.

    Bricks is helpingthe US-based Hilton group grow its Hampton brand in the UK, and the pair hopeinvestment in the north-east will pay off when the local economy picks up.

    Hampton by HiltonAberdeen Airport general manager Sandra Brooks said: “This fresh, contemporaryhotel represents a new dimension to the Hilton family, which will be very wellknown to many people.

    “It is asignificant step forward for the company to open in a key Scottish market suchas the north-east, where green shoots of recovery make this a great place tobe.

    “We very muchlook forward to the opportunities and challenges which lie ahead as we buildour reputation in the area.”

    Bricks chiefexecutive Peter Prickett added: “We are extremely excited to have joined forceswith (third-party hotel management company) Interstate to open the first of ourHampton by Hilton branded hotels in Aberdeen, and grow our Scottish portfoliofurther.

    “We hope this isthe first of many as we continue our expansion throughout the UK.”

    Interstate UKmanaging director Nicholas Northam said the operator’s involvement underlinedits “commitment to supporting the growth and development of the area’scorporate and leisure markets”.

    The builder forboth new hotels is Robertson Construction Eastern (RCE), part of Elgin andStirling-based Robertson Construction Group.

    RCE managingdirector Keith Taylor said: “It has been a pleasure to have been involved inthis project.

    “Our teams haveembraced the modular construction techniques and we are pleased to havecompleted it within a shorter timeframe than is usually expected for this typeof development.”

    Hilton’s otherbrands include Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Doubletree by Hilton, Hilton GardenInn and Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts.

    The group’slatest offering in the Aberdeen area comes at a time when most hotels in thearea are struggling to shake off a severe downturn in business since oil pricesslumped.