The Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel strives to provide a flawless hotel stay to its guests by offering four-star services and luxurious amenities amid the city’s vibrant, downtown landscape. As part of a project that began in mid-May 2019, the hotel upgraded a significant number of guest rooms and suites.
The hotel hired Pursuit Builders, a local general contracting company, to implement the renovations. Pursuit Builders performs work from coast to coast — from Alaska to Florida — primarily offering hospitality construction services.
According to the company, the hospitality industry can present a unique set of challenges. They have successfully overcome these challenges by implementing strict stealth programs, i.e. working without disrupting the operations of their clients, problem-solving and adapting to the day-to-day needs of hotels. The Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel's bathroom upgrades presented one of those unique challenges, which entailed converting almost 250 old bathtubs to modern walk-in showers.
“We wanted to avoid jackhammering or core-drilling to adjust the existing plumbing and pipework behind the walls,” says Michael Cummins, project manager and estimator. In short, Pursuit Builders had to find a way to work around the hotel’s existing infrastructure.
To accomplish this objective, Pursuit Builders selected QuickDrain USA’s linear shower drains and PET shower pans, which would not only complement the hotel's modern, urban design theme, but also avoid core drilling to adjust drain positioning.
“QuickDrain's tub-to-shower conversion kit gave us a durable, flexible, cost-effective and fast way to achieve our goal,” Cummins says. “The product allowed us to maintain a highly demanding schedule of timelines. To give you an idea, we were able to remodel 38 bathrooms in 28 days.”
The QuickDrain tub-to-shower conversion kit features an integrated PVC drain body, combined with a pre-sloped PET shower pan and waterproofing sheet membrane, “Quickliner,” for effective and efficient drainage.
One of the most convenient features of the product is its ability to incorporate either a vertical or side waste outlet to accommodate existing plumbing. According to Cummins, hotel management also loved selecting from a variety of decorative drain cover designs to fit into the hotel's urban design theme.
Pursuit Builders has installed mud pan systems in the past and even used other preformed solid shower pan systems in commercial renovations. But Cummins says other pans do not offer the same versatility as the QuickDrain system.
“With a solid preformed pan, if the drain is even a half-inch off, things become very complicated and inevitably increases labor and material costs,” he explains.
Cummins adds that the QuickDrain system is lightweight, while other pan systems are cumbersome and labor-intensive.
“When we're trying to move freight up and down the elevator all day long, we want something manageable,” he says.
A QuickDrain technical applications specialist provided on-site technical training to Cummins and his crew.
“The experience was fantastic because of the nature of what we were doing,” he says. "QuickDrain was phenomenal, shipping the product ahead of time, so it was readily available on-site the day of the model room training.”
The Pursuit Builder crew, including the plumber, the tile crew and supervisors, all participated in the initial demonstration. According to Cummins, the technical applications specialist completed an entire installation in one model room and then offered his crew the opportunity to install the system themselves in a second model room.
But the training support didn’t end there. “The project actually started approximately nine months after that training, so we needed to be refreshed on the process," he explains. “When we contacted QuickDrain, I was thrilled to learn they would send out a crew again to perform the training a second time.”
According to Cummins, the completed installations went very smoothly — in no small part because QuickDrain's pre-sloped PET shower pans can be customized to fit nearly all shower enclosure sizes and conditions.
“We didn't have any problems,” he says. “The prefabricated, pre-sloped shower pans made it very easy because we were able to cut it on-site and make the necessary adjustments.”
Cummins notes the hotel was occupied by guests, so Pursuit Builders renovated one floor at a time. Because they didn't have to relocate plumbing, their venue-generating rooms below could remain in use.
Linear drains — as opposed to the conventional, center-point alternative — open up new design opportunities, featuring large-format tile. Cummins’ crew created an uninterrupted flow from the rest of the bathroom to the shower with beautiful, rectangular 18-inch by 36-inch tiles.
“The flexibility that QuickDrain's linear drain offers worked perfectly with the larger tiles,” Cummins says.
Cummins adds the ability to make field adjustments is what gives the QuickDrain system the edge. “I would absolutely suggest and recommend the system to other hotels,” he continues. “We have already successfully used the product on multiple projects in other states.”