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Located in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3, the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel completed a free standing 10-storey extension of their facility, last year. The extension, commisioned by OUE Airport Hotel Pte Ltd, was designed by Singapore-based WOHA (the architects behind the existing hotel) and features 243 additional guestrooms on 10,000 sqm GFA (gross floor area).

What is most notable about the project, however, is the use of Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (ppvc) technology, the first of its kind for a private sector commercial project in Singapore.

The construction, executed by Dragages Singapore in collaboration with Unitised Building employed this alternative approach with the entire project designed, manufactured and installed in 17 months. Over 250 shipping containers were used to build fully pre-fabricated room modules (complete with finishes, fixtures and fittings), in a quality controlled Chinese factory, before being shipped over to Singapore to be installed on site. The installation involved lifting the modules into position via crane, and took about 26 days to complete, under the tightly controlled airport environment, with severe height and traffic restrictions.

“…The site was small and access was limited owing to its location in the airport. Delivery traffic to the worksite was allowed only from 10pm to 5am. But PPVC requires much fewer vehicle trips – 300, compared with 1,250 for conventional building methods. As less work was needed on-site, the small site area was less of an issue. Assembly of the modules was also quieter, which meant less disturbance for hotel guests….So we felt that, overall, this project was very suitable for the use of PPVC.”

-Senior VP, Development & Projects, OUE, Ms Irene Meta

With this new technology, high-rise residential, hotel or healthcare construction projects are broken up into transportable units that are manufactured in a quality controlled factory environment, and then craned into position on site.
The PPVC system enables buildings to be delivered in up to half the time of traditional methods of construction. It also provides up to 75% savings in manpower, a more sustainable construction process through a reduced carbon footprint, as well as lower running costs. With the bulk of the installation activities and manpower moved off- site to a factory controlled environment, site safety is also highly improved.

“The Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel extension project demonstrates that it is possible to significantly reduce the number of workers required, shorten construction time, improve building quality and even overcome site constraints by changing the way we build,….We are very keen to move the industry to manufacturing and assembly rather than doing everything on-site because the working conditions on the site are not the most conducive. So the more you do off-site, the better off you are, in many ways…..You can do better quality control, the working environment is much better and at the same time, the work on site is less disruptive to the residents and people around the construction site. So there are many of these benefits that we are looking for and it’s quite important for us to do as much as possible.”

-Singapore BCA CEO John Keung.

Here’s a look at the prefinished interiors of the hotel extension including a nice short video highlighting the guest room courtesy Allen Lew. [Image sources: hpility, channel news asia, today online, straits times]

PROJECT DETAILS (courtesy prefab market)

  • Total Project Cost: $82 Million (source)
  • Shipping: 252 containers @ $950 usd per = $240,000
  • Size: 10 storeys and 243 hotel rooms
  • Construction Period (Foundation-2nd Floor): 10 months
  • Offsite Manufacture Period: 6 months
  • Installation Period: 26 days
  • Manufactured: Beijing, China
  • Final Location: Singapore
  • Architect: WOHA
  • Civil & Structure: RSP Architects Planners and Engineers
  • Mechanical & Electrical: Surbana
  • Completed: 2016
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