Construction Builder Interview - What do you want to know?

6 Replies

Hi BiggerPockets community - 

I'm interviewing a hotel construction builder for a Q&A to answer general questions that investors, developers, and others in the real estate community might have about construction. I already have a few questions lined up of my own that I'm curious about, but I wanted to open up this opportunity to all of you to see if any of you had questions you might want to ask this builder as well! I'm hoping to incorporate these questions into my member blog here on BiggerPockets. 

If you have a question that you would like to ask, let me know! Some questions I'm already thinking of include:

  • What is "value engineering"?
  • What are recent construction trends in the hotel industry (such as modular engineering), and why are these trends on the rise now?
  • Are there preferred building materials that are in use by builders currently?

The builder specializes in hotels, but feel free to ask any questions that might have to do with other commercial or even residential real estate property types. I'm all for learning as much as possible. 

Thanks! Looking forward to hearing your questions!

John

Funny, pre fab building methods is the first thing to come to mind for me as well.  

I would also be curious to see if they are finding the availability of skilled labor challenging, and if so, any strategies to address it.

Originally posted by @Pavan Sandhu :

Can you ask him/her if there are any pre fabricated hotel models he's seen?

I know that modular and paneling construction are becoming more popular, especially since hotel buildings benefit specifically from same-hotel-room modular construction. We are even seeing some hotels that are using pre-fabricated models. However, from the builder's experience, he notes that there are still a lot of restrictions on building through modular construction, specifically in cities and large urban areas. Modular construction is more common in rural regions. 

However, paneling - which is a similar concept that deals with creating more of the skeletal structure of the hotel - is much more commonplace, and builders use this pretty regularly. Instead of building entire rooms off site, they are building just the wall frames, for example. Paneling still carries some of the benefits of modular construction without the same resistance that modular methods face. 

Originally posted by @Richard Z. :

Can you ask what's the cost difference to build a hotel comparing to condo/apartment? In terms of $/sqft. 

This comparison is a little difficult to do, since hotels and apartments have significantly different structures (i.e. you typically don't see people making 100-room apartments or condos). Whereas each apartment would need its own kitchen, living room, etc, hotels typically don't build out a living room or kitchen for each room (with the exception of some extended stay hotels). 

Definitely check out the blog post for a more nuanced answer, but the gist of it is that from a construction standpoint, the costs are fairly equivalent assuming all things are equal between hotels and apartments. However, scale and the ability to regularly pull in multiple guests and revenue streams in a month in a hotel distinguishes it from an apartment or condo. Overall, apartments and condos could be seen as easier to construct because of size, but the revenue they could pull in is also limited.