Zander Muego, Partner at Thomas & Adamson talks hotel projects and highlights the challenges of dealing with change of use, listed buildings and conversion.

“Dealing with the conversion or renovation of existing buildings to form new hotel assets can be a complex and challenging process. Hotel development is a risky business and this risk is only enhanced by the specific challenges that adaption of an existing building creates.

Risk allocation and procurement of construction services
Whilst an experienced project team will endeavour to mitigate the known risks during the pre-construction stage, how risks are subsequently allocated between contractor and employer as the project moves into the construction stage can be key to the successful procurement and subsequent construction process.

An imbalance in risk allocation in favour of the employer can result in either a lack of contractor interest in tendering for the work or excessive pricing, which ultimately threatens the financial appraisal. Whereas retaining too much risk as the employer can result in excessive cost escalation during the construction stage.

Achieving an appropriate balance of risk allocation is essential if the procurement process is to be a success.

Implementation of fire regulations within existing structures
One inevitable risk on every change-of-use or conversion project is the development and implementation of an appropriate fire strategy. In particular, bringing the existing structure up to current standards and achieving the required level of fire protection between floors and walls, can come with considerable time and cost implications.

There can be many challenges both in establishing the performance of the existing frame and establishing the subsequent design solution. If any aspect of this is left to the construction stage, it can cause considerable disruption.

Retention or restoration of listed features
Being headquartered in Edinburgh, where the city centre is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, we have gained considerable experience delivering projects that often involve significant refurbishment works while retaining existing listed features.

Bringing buildings back to life, often from a significantly dilapidated condition, requires intelligent design solutions, early engagement with a specialist supply chain and carefully planned and controlled site works.

While it can be a hugely challenging process, delivering these projects is a hugely rewarding process.”

Collaborating with an experienced team that understand these challenges is critical to the success of a development. At Thomas & Adamson we have delivered and are currently working on several complex hotel projects. If you would like to find out more about our experience and how we can support your project, contact