Safety first: Investing in improved hotel fire protection

We have just completed a major investment in improved fire safeguards at our Holiday Inn Express in Folkestone.

Our hotel portfolio spans a range of quality assets, from city break stays to rural retreats. The safety of guests and employees is paramount. In addition to compliance with fire protection legislation, we work closely with fire experts and the partner companies who manage our hotels to identify improvements and ensure safeguards are in line with the latest best practice.

Moving quickly to remediate
The need for remediation work at the 100-bedroom Holiday Inn Express Folkestone near the Channel Tunnel was identified during a fire safety review of the hotel’s exterior. The hotel is subject to fire risk assessments annually and has always remained fully compliant. However, what became clear from our external investigations was that the level of cavity wall insulation behind the hotel’s cladding was not in line with best practice and we chose to undertake extensive remedial work to install the appropriate levels of cavity wall insulation throughout.

While the project required extensive stripping back and renovation of the façade, the remediation was completed on time and on budget. We are delighted that the building has now received an EWS1 certificate with a B1 rating from the project’s Fire Engineer, Clarke Banks. This is the highest possible rating achievable for a building with the hotel’s features.
Effective project planning and management meant that the hotel could remain open and occupied whilst the external works were carried out. Disruption to trade was kept to a minimum during the quieter winter months and this has contributed to another year of exceptional performance at the hotel. The hotel generated its highest profit during our ownership eclipsing the previous high the year before.

Next steps
With the hotel’s fire safety now certified and trading performance thriving, we are well placed to explore potential sale opportunities on behalf of our investors, having owned and operated the hotel since 2015.

Meeting the highest standards
David Stein, Investment Manager at Stellar Asset Management, has been working closely with the contractors and hotel manager to ensure that the remediation meets best practice standards, while minimising trading disruption and remaining on time and on budget. Commenting on the completion of the fire safety works, he said: “Nothing is more important than the safety of the guests who stay and employees who work in our hotels. That is why it is so important that this project at the Holiday Inn Express Folkestone provides the best possible protection. I would like to thank the project team for their professionalism. I would also like to thank the staff and management at the hotel for their patience and care for guests while the works were being carried out. The hotel looks forward to another busy year.”