May 16, 2020

Turner & Townsend to manage Hilton refurbishment in South Africa

5-star Hilton Hotel Durban
Marc Binns
Project Manager for Turner & Townsend
Markus Fritze
2 min
Turner & Townsend to manage Hilton refurbishment in South Africa
Global professional services consultancy Turner & Townsend has been appointed to project manage a major refurbishment of the 5-star Hilton Hotel in...

Global professional services consultancy Turner & Townsend has been appointed to project manage a major refurbishment of the 5-star Hilton Hotel in Durban, South Africa.

The multiple award-winning hotel is undergoing a modernising programme over five phases – due to be completed by May 2017.

Turner & Townsend has been brought in at phase two to project manage the entire refurbishment. Work so far has included the lobby and restaurant, conversion of what was formerly a pub to a business lounge, ripping out fixtures and fittings, and restyling suites – including the Presidential Suite - with a fresh, new aesthetic feel, and overhaul of the executive lounge. Still to be completed are floors one to three, which includes refurbishment of the ballroom, meeting and business room levels.

The independent consultancy, which has led projects for the Hilton Hotel group in Abu Dhabi, Europe and America, has introduced a benchmarking schedule and policy to align the contractor with Hilton Hotel group expectations and quality standards.

This includes a rigorous snagging and de-snagging programme and policy to alleviate delays of phased room handovers to the Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) team to meet the hotel’s deadlines, occupancy requirements and stringent quality standards.

The Durban Hilton Hotel has hosted numerous national and international events and held prestigious awards including South Africa’s Leading Business Hotel for four consecutive years (2013-2016) at the World Travel Awards.

Marc Binns, Project Manager for Turner & Townsend, said: “The Durban Hilton Hotel project is not without its challenges. This is a working hotel with a high occupancy, which means that noise levels must be controlled and limited to certain hours, while contractors can only be on site from Mondays to Saturdays.”

Markus Fritze, General Manager for the Hilton Hotel, added: “The refurbishment is the first carried out since the Durban hotel opened in 1997 and was initiated in order to align it with the Hilton brand values and architecture, which have changed over the years.”

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Jul 30, 2021

University of Dresden constructs carbon concrete building

2 min
The Technical University of Dresden, collaborating with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the world’s first carbon fibre and concrete building

The Technical University of Dresden, in partnership with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the first building to be made out of concrete and carbon fibre, rather than traditional steel. 

The combination of materials, known as, “carbon concrete” has the same structural strength as its steel-reinforced alternative but less concrete is used, according to researchers at the university. 

The building, called “The Cube” is currently under construction at the University of Dresden’s campus in Germany, and is believed to be the first carbon concrete building in the world. Strengthening the concrete, the carbon fibre yarns are used to create a mesh into which the concrete is then poured.

Unlike steel, the mesh is rust-proof meaning that the lifespan of carbon concrete is longer than that of the more typical steel-reinforced concrete. This also allows the layers to be much thinner than steel. 

The design and shape of The Cube 

According to the companies, the flexibility of carbon fibre allows the walls to fold up and become a roof. In a statement talking about the building’s design elements, Hen said: “The design of The Cube reinterprets the fluid, textile nature of carbon fibres by seamlessly merging the ceiling and walls in a single form, suggesting a future architecture in which environmentally conscious design is paired with formal freedom and a radical rethinking of essential architectural elements.

"The wall and ceiling are no longer separate components but functionally merge into one another as an organic continuum.” Displayed as a showpiece for TU Dresden’s major project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, The Cube aims to explore the potential uses of carbon concrete in construction. 

"Carbon concrete could contribute to more flexible and resource-saving construction processes, and switching to carbon concrete could reduce the CO2 emissions from construction by up to 50%," Henn said in a statement. 

Bio-based carbon fibre under development to reduce carbon footprint

While carbon fibre may be lighter and stronger than steel, it has a much higher carbon footprint. Describing the material’s impact on the environment, Dr Erik Frank, Senior Carbon Scientist at the German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF), said it is “usually very bad.” To reduce the carbon footprint, Frank is finding ways to make carbon fibre out of lignin, a common plant-based substance found in the paper manufacturing industry. 


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