London & South East

Premier Inn Heathrow project lands ahead of schedule

Premier Inn T5 Heathrow Entrance

The Premier Inn Terminal 5 Heathrow project has been completed an impressive three months ahead of schedule.

Main contractor McAleer & Rushe and White Ink Architects delivered the Dexter Moren £18m design for Arora Hotels. Practical completion of the project was achieved in 46 weeks, against a scheduled timeframe of 59 weeks. The three-star hotel will now be operated by Premier Inn, part of the leading hospitality and leisure group Whitbread.

Arora Hotels was founded by Surinder Arora in 1999 and has since become the largest hotel company at the Heathrow and Gatwick airports, boasting over 1,000 employees. Their impressive portfolio comprises a range of luxury hotels across the UK, including the recently opened 605-bedroom Sofitel London Heathrow.

Commenting on the early completion of the Premier Inn Heathrow project, Surinder Arora said:

“It is very exciting that this project has been completed in just eleven months. I am extremely pleased with what has been achieved and would like to extend my thanks to all of those involved on the project.”

The new Premier Inn Heathrow is located north of Heathrow Airport and is bound by the A4 Colnbrook bypass to the north and Bath Road to the south, from which the site is accessed. A public right of way adjoins the site to the western side and the eastern boundary adjoins the neighbouring site of a McDonalds restaurant.

Comprising around 128,550 sq ft of space, the 400-bedroom hotel extends to five storeys and has incorporated an 18,000 sq ft bar/restaurant/coffee area. Landscaping has included the provision of 80 car parking spaces, soft landscaping to the site boundary and the creation of a courtyard.

Referring to the importance of quality control on such fast-tracked programmes, Claude Maguire of White Ink Architects explained:

“Quality control was paramount throughout and certain measures were put in place to ensure the workmanship by sub-contractors was maintained at the highest standards.

Premier Inn Terminal 5 Heathrow Exterior

“In particular, the cladding and window subcontractors were asked to construct a one-storey sample of the elevation. Once all parties were satisfied with the build ability, responsibility and quality of the sample panel it was signed off and used as a measure against which the rest of the facade was judged acceptable.

“Inside the frame, a fully finished sample bedroom and section of corridor was constructed to specification. The sample room was then inspected, tested and signed off by Premier Inn before work proceeded within the other rooms. Within 16 weeks, the first of 400 fully finished bathroom pods were hoisted into place.”

In order to ensure that the development was sustainable, an energy strategy was developed by Caldwell Consulting. In addition, rainwater recycling was introduced and construction materials were chosen with the lifecycle cost in mind. As a result, the completed building has achieved a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’.

Other challenges included the discovery of contaminated soils, which ultimately required testing and management. Due to the site’s proximity to Heathrow Airport the development required careful detailing in order to meet the set acoustic regulations, whilst it was also necessary to work with the Local Authority, Highways Department and Transport for London to agree works required under Section 106.

Premier Inn Terminal 5 Heathrow Exterior

As one of the UK’s leading hotel developer contractors, the company has completed in excess of 12,000 bedrooms for a range of leading investors and operators, with clients including Starwood, Accor, IHG, Jurys Inns Group and Premier Inn. Current projects include three further Premier Inn hotels for Arora Hotels including a flagship 630-bedroom hotel linked to Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal, a 182-bedroom Novotel and a 297-bedroom Ibis on Blackfriars Road.

Mark Elliot, Project Manager for McAleer & Rushe, said:

“This 400-bed scheme at Heathrow is the first of over 2,000 rooms that we will be completing for Arora Hotels over the next two years.

“We are extremely pleased that the scheme was completed over three months ahead of schedule, which was due in no small part to an excellent working relationship with the client (Arora Hotels), Whitbread and all of the contractors on the site.

Premier Inn Terminal 5 Heathrow Restaurant

“The non-adversarial approach of McAleer & Rushe towards every project that we undertake creates a friendly yet professional atmosphere. Our ultimate aim is to complete a first class product for our client.”

McAleer & Rushe were appointed at the outline planning stage, allowing the firm’s design and build team to implement the amendments necessary to achieve a more efficient building. Workmanship on the scheme also had to meet the standards demanded by Premier Inn, with these standards eventually proving to surpass the operator’s expectations.

The on-airport location led to some unique challenges and as a result, bespoke specifications were employed in order to meet the requirements of the scheme. Construction methods were devised in order to achieve the necessary acoustic quality, whilst careful consideration had to be given to landscaping, car parking and external lighting proposals.

Martin Magee, Construction Director for McAleer & Rushe, commented:

“This project is testament not only to the McAleer & Rushe team, but also to the seamless working relationship we have with Arora Hotels and Premier Inn.

“With any project such as this, the end user requirements are paramount. Premier Inn has clearly defined brand standards and rigorous specifications to be achieved, but their straightforward approach combined with a clear brief from Arora Hotels has allowed us to deliver an efficient, high quality building.

“This has been the first of four buildings to be constructed on behalf of Arora Hotels and, after the success achieved on this project, we look forward with confidence to completing the other properties in the development programme in a similar fashion.

Premier Inn Terminal 5 Heathrow Restaurant

“We are very appreciative of the excellent relationship we have with Arora Hotels and hope that this relationship can be extended beyond the existing contracted properties.”

Sinead Hughes, Head of Developments at Arora Hotels, added: “We were delighted to work with McAleer & Rushe on this turnkey project. Completing the project to exacting standards, ahead of time and within budget augers well for the remaining properties in the development programme.”

For the design of the new Premier Inn, architects Dexter Moren Associates created a ‘doughnut’ form that is centred around an inner courtyard in order to provide an acoustic buffer zone from the busy roads that bound to the north and south. Public areas – including the main entrance, restaurant and bar – are located on the ground floor and the bedrooms are located on the four levels above.

The ground floor is a mix of glazed curtain walling and masonry construction, whilst the upper floors are clad in a colourful rainscreen skin. As a result, the building takes the form of a rainscreen coloured box that hovers on a glazed/solid masonry base. An array of colours has been carefully selected to create a dynamic and animated facade, with hues chosen in order to complement the proposed and landscaping. The strips of colour also serve to emphasise the verticality of the elevation, subsequently providing some relief from the horizontal form.

Although the new hotel is significantly larger than the average Premier Inn, it has been designed to make the most of the efficiencies provided by modular and other modern methods of construction.

Wan Yau, Director of Dexter Moren Associates, said:

“The brief was for the design of an efficient and contemporary 400-bedroom Premier Inn Hotel incorporating a restaurant, bar and cafe on the site of the former Longford House office and associated car parking on Bath Road.

“With a number of other airport-site Premier Inns being designed concurrently, the efficiency of detailing and suitability for delivery using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) was an important aspect of the design brief.

 “Through careful planning and consideration of all aspects, we have produced a design for an elegant, contemporary and robust hotel in an airport setting. We have created a calm and quiet environment in which guests can enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Premier Inn Terminal 5 Heathrow Reception

“Every site has its own unique set of challenges and the Premier Inn at Heathrow is no exception. One of these challenges was the acoustic conditions across the site. Accurate survey and extensive acoustic modelling of the proposed facades were undertaken to meet this challenges.

“However, proactive engagement with all stakeholders and a flexible approach to the design brief has allowed these challenges to inform and enrich the design brief. Dexter Moren Associates has completed several hotel developments within the confines of airports. This experience has enabled us to provide appropriate solutions to overcome design challenges and ensure that the guests’ experiences are maximised.”

In 2010, White Ink Architects were appointed by McAleer & Rushe to develop the outline plans by Dexter Moren in order to maximise the efficiency of the building and to develop construction details that responded to the technical challenges of constructing a hotel within 200 metres of a major UK airport.

Claude Maguire of White Ink Architects said:

“White Ink’s initial task was to refine the design thus accumulating savings not only for the construction budget but also for the long-term management and running costs of the hotel.

“Having agreed design amendments with the local Council our primary challenge was to ensure that the hotel met the acoustic specification for Premier Inn, who guarantee their guests an undisturbed night’s sleep or no charge.

“Acoustic reports showed noise levels in excess of 90dB at the edge of the site and it initially seemed that the only solution was to construct a mechanically-ventilated building with a fully sealed envelope, secondary glazing and acoustic window units. This would have resulted in a development that was expensive to construct, inefficient to run, costly to maintain and generally unsustainable.

“We, along with M&E engineers Caldwell Consulting, researched and developed a number of construction details to ensure that the completed building could be naturally ventilated whilst meeting the stringent acoustic requirements of Premier Inn. In the completed building, fresh air is drawn in through specially developed slots which are incorporated into the rainscreen facade panel. The fresh air is then directed through a sound attenuator and heat exchanger before being ducted into the en suite bathrooms. Stale air undergoes the reverse process before being exhausted through the facade.”

In addition, the team ensured that the dense concrete blockwork that supports the rainscreen facade was built to a very high specification. All of the joints were fully filled and sealed in order to eliminate air-gaps which would compromise the acoustic quality of the building envelope, whilst special attention was also paid to the joint between the blockwork and the window surrounds which were fully filled with acoustic insulation before they were sealed. The windows themselves were provided as a fully-sealed, acoustically-lined unit that incorporates secondary glazing.

Upon completion, comprehensive acoustic testing by independent consultants revealed that the building surpassed Premier Inn’s acoustic requirements, illustrating that the measures taken by the team during the design and construction periods were extremely effective and worthwhile.

 McAleer & Rushe : helping the country ‘Sleep Tight’

 The McAleer & Rushe Group was established in 1967 and is one of the leading privately-owned construction and property development companies in Northern Ireland.

With offices in Cookstown, Belfast and London, the company are well renowned for large scale mixed-use developments and have successfully completed projects for a range of clients throughout the UK and Ireland.

Key activities and achievements include the design and build construction of hotel and commercial buildings for retained clients and McAleer & Rushe Group Property companies and the development of commercial, residential, retail and mixed-use schemes. In addition, the company carries out property investment through the retention of completed developments and an active programme of new acquisitions.

McAleer & Rushe undertake all projects on a design and build basis. A highly experienced specialist team is in place to interpret operator requirements in order to ensure compliance with brand standards up until turnkey finish. Furthermore, all contracts are completed on a fixed programmed with a guaranteed maximum price.

The company have the requisite experience and capabilities to provide a one stop service for the procurement of hotels, an aptitude which has been proven time and time again.

Recent highlights have included the completion and subsequent sale of the Maldron Hotel in Central Cardiff (May 2011), Jury’s Inn Gateshead (August 2011) and the UK’s first ALOFT hotel.

 Dexter Moren 

Dexter Moren Associates is regarded as one of London’s leading hotel and leisure architects and interior designers. In 2011, the company was recognised as the IHF (International Hotel Investment Forum) Hotel Architect/ Designer of the Year.

The practice works across the entire spectrum, from limited service through to luxury hotels, conference venues, resorts and spas for leading brands such as Shangri La, Guoman, Intercontinental, Hilton, Accor and Marriott and Premier Inn along with developers and operators globally.

Current projects include the Shangri La Hotel at The Shard London, Westminster Intercontinental, Hilton Southbank and the redevelopment of Guoman Tower Bridge in London.

Dexter Moren Associates provide an individual approach to each project and have developed a reputation based on an ability to deliver intelligent and creative solutions which meld both developer and operator requirements.

White Ink Architects 

 Belfast based White Ink Architects is an RIBA award winning practice which has a reputation for producing carefully-crafted, sustainable and innovative building designs. White Ink Architects pride themselves on their understanding of the technical aspects of buildings, their ability to produce efficient designs, their skill in unlocking the full development potential of difficult sites, their track-record of delivering within budget and programme and their practical approach to designing attractive buildings that surpass their client’s aspirations.

White Ink Architects have helped McAleer & Rushe deliver a number of exciting projects throughout the UK and Ireland including a 200-bedroom hotel in Watford for Jurys Hotel Group, a 216-bedroom hotel in Cardiff City Centre for Maldron Hotel Group and a Nursing Home in Malahide, Dublin.

  Temperature Control Limited 

 Temperature Control Limited has been established since 1926, when the company began under the name of E O Walker Refrigeration.

Since then the company has been at the forefront of the industry, from being one of the first Kelvinator dealers in the UK to recognising the growing commercial air conditioning market in the early 1980s, which ultimately led to the name change to Temperature Control Limited.

Steady growth throughout the 1980s and 1990s has established Temperature Control Limited as one of the leaders within the UK air conditioning contracting industry. This growth has been built on solid engineering principles; therefore it comes as no surprise that the company is still run by engineers.

Along with providing national coverage, the company has built solid business partnerships with leading companies such as McAleer & Rushe. This was illustrated by Temperature Control Limited’s close involvement on the Premier Inn T5 Heathrow project, which enabled the company to pass the impressive mark of having completed seven thousand air-conditioned bedrooms.


For future growth, Temperature Control Limited anticipated the expanding R22 replacement market and therefore invested company resources into research and development on R22 replacement. As a result of this, Temperature Control Limited is now one of the leading companies in this field. This impressive foresight is also being applied to their Sustainable Environment and Data Centre divisions, subsequently securing the company’s future for another 80 years.

 Hasco Europe Limited 

 Against the background of the CDM Regulations, Hasco Europe Limited was established in 1995 to provide an independent service of planning supervision, later to become CDM coordination.

All of the firms’ principles are registered members of the Association for Project Safety and the company has provided CDM coordination / planning supervision / PSDP&CS services for more than 750 projects, ranging from complex public works (hospitals, schools, universities etc) to industrial, commercial, retail and housing projects throughout the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic.

Hasco have undertaken over 100 consultancy assignments for clients and principal contractors, providing site audits, designer CDM audits, tenant packs and digital building manuals.


“AirconMech was delighted to partner the McAleer & Rushe Group on this particular project. Following on from a number of previous projects with the Group, we have established a name that is synonymous with quality, safety and professionalism. Our capacity to handle large projects comes from 16 years of operation across a range of industries; from specialist works on pharmaceuticals to food production right through to hotels and large-scale retail developments. Within AirconMech we adopt a culture of learning from previous projects and identifying where new processes can be used across other industries / sectors. This gives us a competitive edge in designing engineering solutions that work and create value for our clients. We look forward to working with McAleer & Rushe again in the near future and wish them all the best in the future.”

Seamus Murphy M.D. AirconMech UK

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