New promising markets for current common shipbuilding solutions were identified. The new market areas are in hotels, flats, trains and refurbishment of passenger vessels. A solution in response to the demand for refurbishing old office buildings and flats is the modular hotel concept for building low- and mid-range hotels, as well as dormitories using existing building frames and modular cabins. The modular hotel concept is a comprehensive package for modular building. The concept combines conventional building methods, using steel frame and concrete slabs, with modular accommodation rooms.The focus is on hotels in the lower middle-class range, where price level and execution time are especially critical.
Several technical panels were developed for use in refurbishment of bathrooms in passenger vessels. Further development of the technical panels included a highly modularized WetRef shower toilet cabin and vanity unit modules. The panels are feasible in many other applications, such as offshore accommodation units and trains.
Also three patent applications were introduced: one for a cabin installation method, a second for a new concept of bathroom design, and a third for an integrated cast mould for the cabin.
The aim was to find ways of improving and expanding the use of modularity in cabins, hotel rooms and bathrooms within the perspective of new business opportunities, serviceability and sustainable solutions. A further problem for research laid in how to implement current common shipbuilding solutions in other business areas, incorporating lessons learnt from current trends e.g. in hotel solutions. The target was to identify the trends and possibilities for modular accommodation in different business areas.
The business potential of new identified market is tens of millions of euros annually and commercialisation of the results looks bright. It has been estimated that within the next 5 years the potential for new solutions in hotels, apartments and student houses is:
Furthermore, there is significant potential for refurbishment projects implementing the Vanity Unit or Wet Ref solutions. Regarding ship cabins, for instance, currently over 100,000 are in the age range 11–20 years, and over 60,000 cabins in the age range 21–40 years, and therefore facing the need for refurbishment. In offshore structures, the value of refurbishment projects has already exceeded the value of new buildings. The oldest rigs were built in the 1960s and are now in need of an extension of life span. One WetRef delivery project is currently in progress at STX Cabins.
The results related to improved applications for modular cabins and accommodation systems will be implemented in various cruise liner, refurbishment and construction projects; in the case of the removable ceiling, for example, as soon as possible, in the next cruise liner project. Further research will be carried out on a new version for fire category B-15. There is potential for using the solution in all future cruise liners and car ferries
The results achieved have had a great impact on the competitiveness of the company.