hotel construction project

10 Things to Know Before Starting Your Hotel Construction Project

By Alexandra Westby Palutsis, Project Manager

If you are a hotel Developer, Owner or Operator that’s building a new or renovating an existing property, consider these 10 things to know before starting your hotel construction project. It’s important to get your project online and to start generating revenue as soon as possible.

The stronger your pre-planning process, the greater the chance your hospitality project performs well and sets you up for long-term success. Strong pre-planning helps eliminate unforeseen issues and contributes to informed, prompt decision-making.  Delaying decisions often results in increased risks to a project’s successful outcome. A general rule for all construction decision-making is “the earlier the better.”

1. Choose the right team with hospitality experience to get your hotel construction project moving. This includes contractors, vendors, and consultants. Make sure that they can perform above and beyond the quality expected and that guest experience is always top of mind.

2. Establish an organized change management process. Whether you’re building a franchise or a boutique hotel, all properties require customization that can’t always be captured in design development. Cotter has extensive experience tracking changes on complex projects, and hospitality projects are no exception.

3. Model the details. On the Sophy Hyde Park, Cotter managed the installation of an off-site model room before the interior build-out of the hotel. Whether it’s the mockup of a few details or a full model room, spending the time and money upfront on the appropriate model will reduce the negative cost and time impacts caused by change orders late in the project.

4. Don’t forget about the “Owner Provided Items.” Be sure to include furniture, artwork, AV, phone, and security systems, fitness equipment and other amenities into the design coordination. Cotter managed the execution, coordination, and implementation of these types of contracts on the Sophy Hyde Park to ensure seamless inclusion into the overall project.

5. Introduce the operations team early on to make operational decisions. For example, kitchen space is a very personal thing to a chef, so early inclusion in the team will avoid design changes at the end of the project when you’re trying to get a kitchen inspection. Understand those preferences upfront.

6. Consider the functionality of the space. Invest in robust finishes for high-traffic/high-visibility areas; consider cleaning procedures for materials chosen; include adequate storage areas, and review the functionality of office spaces. Whether or not you will be operating the hotel or handing it over to an operator, reducing maintenance costs, the need for upgrades or the frequency of renovations is always a value-add.

7. Review MEP design and installation throughout the project. This plays a large role in guest comfort from water pressure and temperature, to airflow, light temperature, and outlet locations. Ensure that the MEP engineer and Commissioning agent will be hands-on. Vet the MEP subcontractors, their scope of work, and any value engineering options they are proposing extensively.

8. Establish a pre-opening schedule as soon as possible between the construction team and the operations team. Cotter worked with the Developer/Operator to establish the pre-opening schedule for the Sophy Hyde Park months before project completion. Turnover and startup are critical points in determining the success of a project. Discuss where there will be an overlap of these teams onsite, what each team will need to succeed and the logistics to stay out of each other’s way. Ensure that inspections are considered during this phase. Cotter provided an on-site presence to assist with turnover and start-up at the Sophy Hyde Park. This was a great experience getting to know and support the end-user of the project and ensuring a smooth and successful opening!

9. Establish a Standard for Finish Quality. Models help in this area as well. When doing repetitive work such as hotel rooms, it is helpful to have a standard of quality that all parties agree on so as not to delay the turnover of guestrooms.

Hotel construction project management

10. Don’t skimp on signage. It can add a lot to the guest experience, while also reinforcing your brand. On the Sophy Hyde Park, Cotter fast-tracked the signage necessary for city inspections to spend more time on specialty signage design, including the integration of a doorbell system into the guestroom entry signs.

Treat the pre-planning of your hotel construction project the same way you plan for the comfort of your guests. You are creating more than functional spaces. You are setting the stage for memorable experiences.

Get in touch with Project Manager Alex Palutsis to learn more about hotel construction project management.