IDC Construction has experience as an owner and operator of hotels.
Many contractors can boast about their experience delivering construction work within the hospitality sector. IDC Construction, however, was founded as the renovation and construction division for a hotel owner/operator group, so the company has firsthand knowledge of the unique demands the hotel business presents to its clients.
“We possess a different approach to a renovation than a typical general contractor because our history as past owners and operators of hotels provides certain insight to the daily operations that most builders – through no fault of their own – would not possess,” says Robert Buczek, assistant operations manager for IDC Construction. “This understanding of the negative effects associated with the renovation of an operating hotel is just one factor that sets us apart from other general contractors.”
IDC Construction has completed more than $800 million in hotel renovations in 40 states and Canada since its inception in 1999. With its track record as the former renovation arm of one of the largest owner/operators of hotels in the United States, IDC can identify the challenges inherent in every hotel renovation project. The company has performed work for hotel brands including Starwood, Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental Hotels and their affiliated brands.
“This experience has created a solid foundation for successful renovations in the hospitality industry by understanding the challenges within the hotel itself,” Buczek says. “By knowing how hotel managers think, what is important to them and their customers, we can tailor the renovations around their occupancy.”
Even in dire situations, hotels need to remain operational and as occupied as possible to generate revenues. With this in mind, Buczek says IDC Construction never approaches a job with a failure option or movable target in the budget or schedule.
For example, IDC Construction was responsible for bringing back online one of the first hotels in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005.
To start this daunting task, IDC Construction first secured the building, then began trucking in tankers of water from Georgia daily in order to get the plumbing online again. This allowed the construction crews to get accommodated for the duration of the project.
“We were not able to just wait for everything to return to a pre-Katrina state,” Buczek says. “We had to get that hotel operating again – even if it meant bringing water in from hundreds of miles away to do it.”
“THIS EXPERIENCE HAS CREATED A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESSFUL RENOVATIONS IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY.” - Robert Buczek, assistant operations manager for IDC Construction
IDC Construction also took on the renovation of a 438-room property in New Orleans that was damaged badly by Hurricane Isaac in 2012. This hotel was very active and fully occupied most of the time. Nevertheless, the company mobilized a dedicated and capable project team that completed the restoration in just six weeks.
“Hotels have to generate revenue, period,” Buczek says. “Whether they are operating in a renovation or not, they have goals to meet. Our job is to not interfere with them and allow them to operate without disruption.”
Another benefit of IDC Construction’s experience in the hotel industry is its longstanding relationships with manufacturers of materials. Through these relationships, IDC Construction often can save clients significant amounts of money by purchasing materials itself instead of leaving it up to the trades or buying supplies themselves.
“Over the years, we have bought enough material direct from manufacturers to where we are able to be more competitive than even some specialized trades,” Buczek says. “This removes at least one layer of extra material handling and profit.”
IDC Construction also reviews its clients’ materials and finishes requests with them to determine where they can cut costs. For example, IDC Construction saved one client thousands of dollars in a hotel restaurant by requesting an alternate for flooring.
“It may not sound like much, but changing a pre-engineered hardwood floor out in an area with as much traffic and wear as a hotel restaurant to an architectural porcelain that mimicked wood not only saved money on the initial cost, but we also recommended a particular grout that doesn’t need constant cleaning and sealing, as well, which helps minimize maintenance cost,” Buczek says. “Combine that with the longevity that porcelain provides versus a wood floor that may require maintenance, and owners start seeing that you genuinely have their interest at the forefront, not just profit.”
IDC Construction doesn’t just point out savings opportunities within the materials list. Buczek says the company also alerts owners, designers and architects about potential problems that certain products could create down the road.
“In most cases, the materials are owner- , designer- or architect-specified, so we may not be involved in the product selection,” Buczek says. “However, if we run into a product specification that we know will be detrimental to the long-term performance of the property, we bring that information to the owners and get them engaged on where we foresee any issues that may occur. By speaking up and making our concerns known to them, it illustrates our commitment to their long-term satisfaction with our organization.”
Have Work, Will Travel
Since hotel construction work is based on repeat clients, IDC Construction’s employees have the opportunity to see North America as the company fields jobs for national brands with properties throughout the United States. That means IDC Construction will continue to grow alongside its loyal clientele.
“Working in the hospitality market, we do not get to choose what markets we work in,” Buczek says. “Our business is built on traveling. We are fortunate to work in a true nationwide industry, one that offers a lot of opportunity because of our willingness to work from Alaska to Florida and all points in between – which we have.”