Steven Vaux, CMYA nominee and project manager at Morgan Sindall, on his latest project
This project – building a major mixed use development including two new hotels in the centre of Slough, has meant navigating logistical hurdles, ranging from socially distanced working and availability of materials, through to managing the final fit out and ordering bed linen for all 244 rooms to ensure the hotel could open on time.
The development was delivered through Slough Urban Renewal (SUR), a joint venture between Slough Borough Council and Muse Developments. The council is the two new hotels’ long-term investor, with Cycas as their operator and franchises with Marriott International for the Moxy and Residence Inn brands.
The new site forms part of a £48m regeneration of the town centre, transforming the iconic former library site into a mixed-use community hub. Featuring an ambitious double-decker design by Franklin Ellis Architects, the nine-storey complex sits alongside shopping and restaurant space to give a view of Windsor Castle and the London skyline.
“I found myself buying everything from coffee mugs to bed linen to ensure the customers could meet their opening dates”
Morgan Sindall Construction took on the unusual task of overseeing the entire fit out of the hotel accommodation. I found myself buying everything from coffee mugs to bed linen to ensure the customers could meet their opening dates.
Being careful to adhere to Marriott International’s strict interior design branding standards, the project team also built two model rooms to showcase the new fit out. We had concrete still being poured on the eighth and ninth floors, while on the first floor making the beds!
There were three big inspection dates planned throughout the build programme; we switched one of those to completely virtual checks so we were speaking to the end user in Italy and using laptops and iPads to show them the rooms. This was the first Marriott hotel to be signed off virtually.
As the build progressed, the team identified opportunities for more sustainable design features. Photo-voltaic solar panels were installed to the roof of the building, and the building’s air circulation is improved by combining a mix of mechanical air-handling units (AHUs) and mechanical ventilation with heating recycling units (MVHRs) to minimise energy use where possible.
CV: Steven Vaux
Steven Vaux has been a senior project manager for Morgan Sindall Construction since 2018.
He graduated from the University of Plymouth in 2004 with an HND in civil engineering and has 16 years of construction management experience and a strong portfolio of involvement in over 15 projects across a range of sectors.
The Slough Moxy hotel development has also seen his first nomination for CMYA.
The project was originally designed to receive a BREEAM rating of Good but thanks to these strategies the building exceeded expectations to achieve Very Good.
Offsite construction methods were also used to help us overcome challenges with the room layouts. Given their double-decker placement, a careful design blueprint had to be followed to facilitate the size difference between the two brands, with the Residence Inn’s longer-stay rooms 150% larger than the Moxy units. This was complicated by the installation of a large riser in the middle of the building – a crucial component in the electrical and wiring system.
We used prefabricated bathroom pods, which gave us factory-accurate measuring and reduced waste. Each pod has a full three-function en-suite so they took up a minimal amount of space and could be retrofitted into some tricky alcoves to keep the Residence Inn and Moxy rooms aligned atop one another.
Their use also gave us a faster fitting time and lower carbon emissions as fewer team members had to travel to site to carry out installation tasks like tiling; it was just an endless list of added benefits and something we’d look at again for multi-room projects.
The hotels were handed over on budget and two months ahead of schedule in March 2021.