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Hotel Developers Look to Steel Framing for Offsite Construction

CFS framing is a solution for hotel owners and contractors with offsite construction projects.


The hospitality segment is using the offsite construction method like no other, says The Modular Monitor, in an article prepared by The Modular Building Institute and presented by Construction Dive.

“Though healthcare and multi-unit residential markets offer opportunities for offsite construction, the U.S. hotel pipeline is proving to be the most feasible and the most scalable,” the article says.

Hoteliers such as Marriott recognize the need to dramatically reduce the pace of hotel completion. Marriott’s hotel builders, the article notes, hope to decrease the construction timelines on projects, and they see steel framing as part of the solution.

Exempla Saint Joseph Hospita

At Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital, panelization cut the exterior wall construction timeframe by at least seven months.

Cold-formed steel (CFS) framing provides many of the benefits hotel owners and developers seek when selecting a material for offsite construction:

  • Durability: Steel is dimensionally stable and does not expand or contract with changes in moisture content. Steel will not warp, split, crack or creep when exposed to the elements.
  • High Tensile Strength: Steel has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of all structural framing materials.
  • Non-Combustible & Resilient: Steel is non-combustible, resistant to extreme environmental and seismic loads, blast threats, and ballistic penetration, making it one of the most resilient building materials available.
  • Easy to install: Steel is light, making it easy to ship, handle, and assemble. CFS wall, floor, and roof sections can also be assembled off-site in a controlled environment, which can minimize costly weather delays and ensure greater quality control.
Holiday Inn Texas - Steel Framing

The window openings of the Holiday Inn were framed into the outside walls at the factory, saving time and ensuring accuracy of construction.

Hotels Using Prefabricated Cold-Formed Steel

Holiday Inn Express, Hearne, Texas

Hearne Hospitality, LLC, used prefabricated CFS to construct a Holiday Inn Express in Hearne, Texas. The three-story hotel is 37,045 square feet in size. It has 64 guest rooms, an inviting lobby, breakfast area, meeting rooms, back offices and an outdoor pool.

CFS offered several advantages, including speedier erection, lower insurance rates and lower ongoing upkeep and maintenance versus wood.

Sophy Hotel, Chicago

The Sophy Hotel in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, features 14-foot ceilings in a column-free lobby, lounge, and restaurant space. The 7-story Sophy Hotel has 98 guest rooms and lots of guest amenities.

To achieve their intended aesthetic, the designers combined prefabricated CFS-framed wall panels with structural steel. The integration of the two systems created a strength and stiffness.

Together, the systems allowed for long structural spans and vast overhead spaces, giving the boutique hotel an open and welcoming feel to its guests.

The Future of Construction

The future of construction includes modular delivery methods. The Modular Building Institute defines modular construction as a process in which a building is constructed off-site, under controlled plant conditions, using the same materials and designing to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities – but in about half the time.

The factory-controlled process generates less waste, creates fewer site disturbances and allows for tighter construction.

Based on data obtained from state modular administrative agencies, the production of permanent construction modules has grown to 22,809 units (2016) to 23,286 units (2017) to 26,269 units (2018). The jump from 2017 to 2018 was 12.8%.

Additional Resources for Offsite Construction

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