HOW THE HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL IN LJUBLJANA WAS BUILT
from the perspective of Project Manager
Hotel InterContinental Ljubljana was built in the period from July 2015, when the contract with Architect was signed, until August 2017, when the hotel welcomed the first guests. This is a really short period for the construction of this type of building, so staying on schedule of the work was a major challenge on the project. Designing, contracting and execution of works mainly took place at the same time.
About the building…
Hotel is located about 10 minutes’ walk to Tromostovje on Prešern Square, the city centre and the main tourist destination in Ljubljana.
The building has 4 underground floors, ground floor and 21 above ground floors. Hotel rooms, total of 165, are from 2nd to 17th floor, on other floors are public area, "back of the house" and technical rooms. The total gross area of the building is about 23,500m2. Footprint on the above ground level is approximately 580m2.
The load-bearing structure is made of monolithic reinforced concrete. Due to architectural requirements some of the columns are slanted and steel vertical hangers support the overhanding parts of the slabs in the areas with the slanted columns. The strength class of the concrete is up to C60/75. The thickness of the concrete walls of the structural cores decreases gradually towards the building's higher storeys from 100 to 30cm. The floor slabs in the above-ground levels are, due to large spans and long consoles, pre-stressed with unbonded tendons.
Around the core and the tall part of the building, jet grouting pilots have been implemented and on thusly improved foundation ground, a foundation slab in thickness of 2,0 - 3,2m is built.
The building comprises a few types of the façade, element façade, structural, ventilated facade… Element façade is constructed from 2nd floor to the roof - full height glass elements in system Schüco Façade USC 65 (Unitised System Construction) with specific print on glazed surfaces.
Investor: “Delta Holding”, Belgrade (Serbia) represented by “Bavarski stolp”, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Investor Consultant: “Delta Real Estate”, Belgrade (Serbia)
Project Manager: “Boyden”, Belgrade (Serbia) - branch office in Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Cost Manager: “Bates”, Belgrade (Serbia)
Designer: “Ofis arhitekti”, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Interior Designer: “Wrightassociates”, Munich (Germany)
Site Supervision: “Elita”, Sežana (Slovenia)
General Contractor: “CGP”, Novo Mesto (Slovenia)
Hotel Operator: InterContinental Hotel Group
How the things were going...
"Boyden" was engaged on the project in September 2015. In the period until the end of 2015, we coordinated the development of Space Plan and Technology Design, with Investor, Designers and IHG team. In late October, Investor contracted interior design. During this period, we conducted a tender procedure for structural works and the selection of the General Contractor.
Construction site was opened In January 2016. At that time, the Execution Design was completed only for the foundation slab. In March, the waterproofing of the foundation pit ended, and foundation slab was performing. Interior Designer held a "Table top" presentation. At the end of May, the floor slab at a level of ± 0.00 was done. In June, the works on mechanical and electrical installations has started. In that period the delay of about 30 days has occurred, in relation to the agreed Time Schedule, so we insisted that the Contractor reduce the time required to perform the structural works.
Facade erection and works on mock-up rooms started in July 2016. We still coordinated design of kitchen technology with the IHG team. At the end of the month, floor slab of sixth floor was completed, and the structure of next 12 floors was made in schedule one floor per a week.
The works in the mock-up rooms were completed in September. Based on IHG's comments, the Designer continued to work on the interior design. The Contractor has done temporary waterproofing on the 12th floor to prevent leakage on the lower floors, since he started with construction of partition walls on the 3rd floor. Installation of suspended ceilings has started in September and ceramic tileworks in November 2016.
By the end of 2016, the Interior Design was completed. With the MEP designers we had to align the MEP Execution Design with the interior design, according to the priorities set by the construction site. Concrete structure was almost completed, as well as facade above second floor. Installation and finishing works were carried out up to the 12th floor. There were issues on the critical path: erection of the structure of partition walls - MEP installations in partition walls - wall cladding, cement screeds, installation and connection of fan-coils, waterproofing of bathrooms - ceramic tileworks, stone works, suspended ceilings - painting of ceilings, wallpaper - carpets - built-in furniture - stone embedded in furniture, etc.
At the beginning of 2017, the most critical issues on the construction site were the installation of ceramic tiles, natural stone slabs, and "custom made" carpet. Installation of built-in furniture on the 3rd floor started in February. At this time, works were done in public spaces from 18 to 20 floors. In March 2017, a transformer station has started operating.
Installation of kitchen equipment started in April. In May, works in BOH area ("back of house") were completed and the staff of the local IHG team entered the hotel and started training. In July 2017, the rooms were finally cleaned, examined and the snags were remedied, food preparation was started in the kitchens, external works were almost completed, the installation systems were intensively tested and fine-tuned. The hotel welcomed the first guests on August 24th.
Among other things…
Designing and constructing a hotel belonging to the InterContinental hotel group, must comply with IHG standards and procedures. The IHG team consists of architects, MEP engineers, H&S consultants and other professionals. At the beginning of the project, the IHG team analyses the location and gives the main directions for the design. At each design stage, the design solutions are analysed and corrected in accordance to the instructions of the IHG team. The final design of the hotel rooms is confirmed only after the mock-up rooms are done.
IHG team reviews the execution of works on the construction site throughout the construction period, especially in the final phase. During this phase they finally check technical documentation, certificates for installed materials and equipment, and particularly for materials and equipment related to safety standards, including fire safety. Before the Investor gets permission to open the hotel, the IHG team checks the operation of all installation systems, in particular the systems whose work affects the safety of guests, such as the operation of elevators during a fire, the operation of sprinklers, smoke exhausting, the operation of panic lighting, the position of signs for evacuation, fire alarm, etc. A month before the hotel welcomed the first guests, the IHG team spent several nights at the hotel to make sure the hotel is ready for operation.
Learned on this project…
This project has shown the difficulties that can occur if Interior Design is not contracted in time. Interior Design should be contracted immediately, or very soon, after the Execution design is contracted. Otherwise, if Execution Design is completed before the Interior Design, then the adjustment of the Execution design is additional work for the designers and additional costs for the Investor. On this project, due to short deadlines and because the designers and contractor were not experienced enough, we were forced to adjust the Architectural Execution Design by ourselves and coordinate the alignment of MEP Execution Design.
After this experience, I will always insist on the Interior Design to be contracted on level "Schematic Design", and that the Architect (who designed Execution Design) develops "Detailed Interior Design".
In such a complex project, for the General Contractor can be selected company which has no similar projects in their reference list if it is financially and organizationally strong, and if you are sure that their management has a strong motive for successful completion of such project, for the companies’ references. But, in this case, the Investor and Project Manager should know that they will have to perform some services that usually belong to the General Contractor. On this project we knew that from the beginning, so we decided to coordinate all issues with the operator (IHG), the work of the nominated subcontractors, especially subcontractors for equipping hotels with furniture, decoration, kitchen equipment and other issues that the building company usually is not familiar with, to explain to the subcontractors the interior design etc.
We are dealing with Project Management, Cost Management, supervision of works. Most of the people in "Boyden" team worked previously in contractor companies and they are aware of all contractor's concerns. We have a good experience both in paper work and on the construction site. We are not "forward managers", we take responsibility, solve problems and make decisions. We spend a lot of time on the construction site and communicate with subcontractors, foreman’s, workers... We adapt our procedure to real situations on project and we do not burden the project by formal procedures only to justify our engagement. It is normal for us to work more than we have contracted, and we usually do not submit offers for additional services. That's why we continue our cooperation with the clients after the cooperation on first project. With “Delta Real Estate” we are already working on the fifth project...
When we summarize the results of this project, as Project Managers, we can be proud that the quality of the work is highly evaluated by the IHG team, that the project was completed within the Time Schedule and with budget that has been even lower than originally approved by the Client. We are also proud of the cooperation with the Client's team and the trust they have given us. At the time I write this text, the hotel has been working well for about ten months.
Boyden, Belgrade - branch office in Ljubljana
Bojan Stanojevic, Dragutin Mijovic, Sinisa Vuckovic, Ivana Aleksandrovic, Iva Pavlovic