UK builds recyclable hotel
LONDON (Reuters) - A British hotel chain is building what is says is the first recyclable hotel constructed from pre-built, container-like crates imported from China, stacked on each other and bolted together.
Budget hotel operator Travelodge said on Tuesday the steel modules could be dismantled if necessary at the end of the 120-room hotel's life and moved elsewhere -- and that the model could ultimately be used to build temporary hotels for sporting events or festivals.
The modules were imported from China with bathrooms already installed, with windows fitted and furnishings and decorations added once the containers have been put together.
But for future hotels, the firm hopes even the furnishing and decoration could be done in China.
"It could facilitate the creation of hotels on a temporary basis at times of peak demand in certain locations -- such as festivals or sporting events," the firm's director of property and development Paul Harvey said.
"A temporary structure to fill such a need would differ to the design of a permanent hotel but it could be built in as little as 12 weeks and removed quickly at the end of the event when the need is gone."
Travelodge says using the Chinese-built modules is 25 percent faster and 10 percent cheaper, making it a core part of their strategy to become the largest hotel operator in London by the 2012 Olympics.
The recyclable hotel, being built in the west London district of Uxbridge, is due to open in June. Rooms will cost just 19 pounds ($38) a night.
The firm hopes to open a similarly built hotel near London's Heathrow airport by the end of the year.
The firms behind the modular design -- Verbus Systems, a joint-venture between consulting engineers Buro Happold and constructor George & Harding -- say the modular system could also be used for student accommodation and urban housing.
"(It) is the first major advance in construction technology for 100 years, since the introduction of the steel frame," said Verbus chairman Colin Harding.
(Writing by Peter Apps, Editing by Dominic Evans)