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When modular timber construction specialists Carbon Dynamic were asked to supply garden units for a four-star spa hotel there was only one wall and ceiling finish they were prepared to use - fermacell.
The square-edged gypsum fibreboard panels have been used to line 13 modular 26m2 garden lodges, including one accessible unit, and each comprising a king-size bed, en-suite and indoor and outdoor seating areas, as well as a plant room module at the luxury Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness.
Working with the hotel’s engineers and architects Keppie Design, each of the five-star lodges was manufactured and fully fitted out in Carbon Dynamic’s factory in less than three weeks. They were then delivered to site and installed in less than two days onto pre-prepared, low-impact foundations in the hotel's rear garden.
With manufacture and site works able to take place concurrently the hotel was able to realise the letting potential much quicker than with a traditional on-site build and disruption was minimal. In fact, weddings continued to be celebrated in the garden throughout the project.
The project, managed by Pat Munro Construction as main contractor, is constructed entirely from Scots timber and laid out in an exciting, sculptural curve, each room having a unique view and a high level of privacy as affords the £1 million fourth phase of the nine-year redevelopment of the Edwardian hotel.
The hotel’s brief to Keppie Design was to create bedroom accommodation that integrated the hotel experience with the landscaped gardens and provide a unique experience within the context of the five-acre site.
This was met by designing the accommodation as individual units that each had direct access from the landscaped gardens and their own external garden spaces that provided an integration between the internal and external.
The garden-facing elevation of each module is fully glazed while a new natural stone wall was constructed as an extension to an existing garden wall to create a bookend to the 400m2 development, concealing it from general view and allowing the new modular constructions to nestle into the landscape.
Untreated larch was chosen for the external cladding to create a softer, more rustic and sympathetic aesthetic to blend the building into its environment. The fermacell boards which clad the interior are fire resistant to Class A2-s1, d0 and perform to thermal conductivity 0.32W/mK.
Award-winning Carbon Dynamic, who always use fermacell boarding for their projects, completed the detailed design, off-site construction and installation of the modules from its 4,000m2 off-site factory in Invergordon.
Managing director Matt Stevenson said: “We specify fermacell for all our projects except where clients specify a timber finish. We have always resisted a switch to plasterboard.
“In this project it was used as a fine, crisp, high-quality modern wall and ceiling finish and as a contributor to the fire resistance and acoustic insulation.”
He added: “It give superior performance in terms of fire, insulation, acoustic and environmental credentials. Critically, fermacell does not move or crack when we move our modules and so requires little if any remedial work.”
Keppie Design divisional director Mike Lawson said: “The planners were very receptive to the sensitive integration of development into an established garden setting and fully supportive of the utilisation of Modern Methods of Construction.”
Quickly becoming the place to stay in Inverness, the garden lodges have extremely high occupancy rates and are often block-booked for weddings and other group events.
A video of the project is available via https://vimeo.com/128417828.