Benefits of Podium Design for Your Hotel
In my last newsletter, I reported on the declining cost of wood framing after reaching historic highs. Today I’ll explain how developers utilize wood in podium construction to increase both the area and density for new-build projects.
What is Podium Design?
- Podium design consists of a 1- or 2-story concrete (reinforced or post tension) podium that allows several stories of light-frame wood framing above it. This design is increasingly becoming a common practice among architects and developers.
- Podium construction works best for 5- to 7-story hotels where it is typically more economical and faster to build than block and plank construction. This height typically allows the project to avoid high-rise construction as well. (How to tell if your project is high rise?)
- The technical reference to a podium building can be made as 4-over-1 (i.e., 4 stories over a 1-story podium), 5-over-2 (i.e., 5 stories over a 2-story podium), and so on.
What are the Benefits?
- The International Building Code allows the podium level to serve as a separation between two different building types. This rule means a construction type, such as wood, can be built higher than typically allowed by code.
- A podium model can be very efficient for hotels as the ground floor of a hotel is where the large, open, common space typically is located. To achieve necessary span lengths, these areas require heavier non-wood framing, such as steel or concrete, and makes the design one step closer to a podium anyway.
- In addition, a podium is required when a building has different occupancy types between floors.
- For example, if a project has parking on the ground floor beneath guestrooms, a Type I podium will be required to provide the necessary fire separation between floors.
- Podiums can be utilized on sites with heavy grade changes as the below-grade portion can act as a retaining wall.
In part 2 of this series on podium design, I’ll explain the current code allowances and recent code changes that have increased opportunities for hotel developers.
Recently Completed Podium Design Projects by Our Team: