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Sun 1 Apr 2007 12:02 PM

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Easy building: inside easyHotel.com

In a bid to lower the impact of market forces such as rising prices and a scarcity of contractors and constructors, the easyHotel.com concept features construction methods that could be considered a world-first for the hotel industry, according to Istithmar Hotels chief executive Joe Sita.

In a bid to lower the impact of market forces such as rising prices and a scarcity of contractors and constructors, the easyHotel.com concept features construction methods that could be considered a world-first for the hotel industry, according to Istithmar Hotels chief executive Joe Sita.

He said the concept was simple: whole rooms are assembled in a factory, shipped to the site, assembled together and then cladded.

"By the time we have the superstructure built on the site - in other words any excavation and the concrete slab - we can have a 200-room hotel built within 20 weeks," Sita explained.

"It's just a matter of bringing the pod to the site, then the pods are designed so they are a steel frame structure and you assemble them on site, and then you clad them and away you go."

Looking closer at each room - each of which is delivered complete, even including linen - Sita said there were several design characteristics which were unique to the projects.

"It's a steel frame structure with a door at one end, and inside is a sliding panel that effectively acts as your window," he said. "The beds are single [and mounted] on a sliding rail, so you can either slide them together and lock them for a double bed, or slide them apart to make two. "Even the work area has a table that folds down, to give you more space, and again no moving furniture, because it is a fixed bench where you sit.  You can work there, eat there, and do whatever you need to do."

Sita added that the bathroom and bedroom were separated by an opaque piece of glass with graduated transperancy that allowed light to flow between the two rooms.

"In the bathroom you have a very efficient and spacious shower cubicle, and a basin and toilet," he said. "The light for the room comes from the back of the room, from a light well. What ends up happening is you stack [the pods] just like a Leggo set, and they can go up to 12 storeys."

The use of light wells allowed for increased site efficiency, Sita explained, because rather than sticking to traditional hotel designs of double loading corridors or building in a U-shape formation to give each room a window, the easyHotel.com concept relied on reflected atrium light for rooms.

"What we are able to do is effectively quadruple load a site," he said. "We are able to achieve about an 80% efficiency on site."

Sita said they had developed four prototypes for the hotel, with options for low-, medium- and high-density sites, and a further option where the pods "plug-in" to an existing structure such as a car-park.

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