Fault in original design delays Hotel InterContinental opening

Due to a faulty design, it would now take five more months and cost more money to renovate and open services at Shahbagh’s Hotel InterContinental, previously known as Sheraton and more recently as Ruposhi Bangla.

As part of the renovation plans for the hotel, construction work began on schedule in March 2015. But because of some faults found while demolishing parts of the existing building, the project deadline was pushed to November 30, 2016 from the planned completion date of June 30, 2016

According to Bangladesh Services Limited (BSL), the building owner, the hotel would now open its doors in February 2017 instead of its planned launch in October this year.

According to a report submitted to the standing committee on Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, the erstwhile Sheraton Hotel’s blueprint was not available before start of renovation of the hotel building.

The report, acquired by the Dhaka Tribune, reads that later assessments had found a number of flaws in the hotel construction.

“As there was no blueprint of the old 11-storey building of the hotel that was originally constructed in 1966, it was not possible to do a detailed survey before closing the hotel. That is why faults were only found during the detailed survey and demolition stage after the hotel was closed.

“Based on the findings, demolition work was not completed on schedule and a new time frame was set to end the project,” the report by the BSL reads.

The reasons behind the delayed renovation include load bearing incapability and floor height and fire resistance incapability of the old 11-storey building; mechanical, electrical and plumbing design change; and delay in releasing imported instruments and materials.

BSL Secretary Abul Monsur said: “Hotel InterContinental was constructed in 1966 when Pakistan Service Limited was in charge of the hotel. After the Liberation War, we did not get the original drawings of the hotel’s 11-storey building.

“So, we could not survey the whole thing in detail and had to change the design that we had planned before the demolition,” he said.

Monsur added that construction costs would also rise with the deadline extension; but refused to disclose the amount.

The historical hotel, which was witness to many landmark events in Dhaka before and after Bangladesh’s liberation, was run by the InterContinental Hotels Group from 1966 to 1983. In late 1983, Sheraton – owned by Starwood – took over its operations and management for the next 25 years.

The agreement with Sheraton was extended to April 30, 2011, until Starwood and BSL disagreed over renovation issues. After that, the BSL took over the operations and named the hotel Ruposhi Bangla.

The hotel, one of the oldest in the country, has remained shut since September 2014 because of the renovation work.