Pod bathroom, Farnham House Hotel, Cavan, Ireland.
The decision was made to specify pod bathrooms for this new-build three-storey hotel. The concrete frame could be erected, the bathrooms craned into place and finally the windows fitted to seal the rooms.
In addition to the speed of construction, the other major advantage of factory-made bathrooms is the aspect of quality control, as well as eliminating the need for snagging when the hotel is due to open.
The process was design-led and five companies were asked to tender for the 146 pods. There are a number of different systems available, from a lightweight concrete frame to steel construction.
The chosen supplier was Fusion, which specialises in light-gauge steel-frame structures, which meet recent Part L thermal requirements as well as Part E acoustic standards. The 46mm-deep floor is made of a steel tray, 9mm of plywood and insulation. An electrical underfloor heating system comprises a 7.8m-long x 5.5m-wide x 4mm-thick cable, delivering 120W/m 2. All the pipework connections are made on the outside of the pod using a plastic 'snap' system. Within, the walls are finished in a 5mm glass mosaic and the floor in a non-slip black ceramic tile.
The sanitaryware is sourced from Italy by Althea Ceramica and the brassware is made in South Africa by Feliu Boet. One redundant element to the installation is the lifting eye and dynamo bolt to each corner, required for lifting into place on site. The only problems that have occurred post-installation have been connected with the protection of the pods before the rooms were sealed. Some pods sustained water damage which will have to be repaired in due course. Overall, the most successful aspect of the pod construction is the sense of solidity that the system offers. To the end user there are no clues that these elements were made off site and brought in.