This is part 2 of 3.
The inherent flaw in the situation is that brands claim their standards are only guidelines. They believe the designer or contractor on site is ultimately responsible for interpreting how the regional climate might impact brand standards.
Ideally, the design and construction teams who are responsible for making sure everything works should be able to know which elements are at risk in certain climates. In reality, however, brand standards are so specific and tied so closely to the economics of the project, plus the brand has such influence in the way it conducts design peer reviews, that design and construction teams typically migrate to brand standards adherence, even if it is contrary to best practice for that climate.
Liberty Vice President George DuBose explained that, with the recent emergence of new hotel construction, his firm is seeing a recurrence of mold and moisture problems.
“A vacuum appears to exist in the institutional memory of design firms, construction firms, ownership groups, and brands that are currently flooding the marketplace,” he said. “What we knew to work so well in the 1990s has been forgotten in today’s hotel design and construction. This poses a significant risk of new hotel failures that could mirror what we experienced in the 1980s and 1990s in warm, humid climates.”
DuBose believes Liberty serves as an excellent institutional memory for those who don’t have the benefit of over 30 years of experience in the industry.
“We learned about the predictable cycles of hotel failure in the 80s. We wrote a book about it in the 90s,” he said, referring to the popular mold and moisture manual Preventing Moisture and Mold Problems: Design and Construction Guidelines which the firm produced along with the Disney Development Company. “We can bring that expertise to today’s design and construction process, working to help hotel owners avoid building failures or remediate existing mold and moisture problems as quickly and affordably as possible.”
For example, Liberty recently assisted in the remediation of a three-star hotel in Austin, Texas. The hotel ultimately experienced north of $7 million in damage, even though the design and construction teams had adhered to the brand’s recommended standards for the wall and HVAC design and construction. Because of climatic challenges, the combination of the bathroom exhaust system, interior finish (vinyl wall covering), and building envelope issues resulted in the development of negative air pressure and costly repairs.
To be continued…