March 9, 2023 | Articles
From Drawing to Building: Laura Capraro’s Career in Construction
The Rio Olympics 2016 – that Brazil hosted last August with 11,237 athletes from 207 countries taking part – resulted in several infrastructure build-outs. One of them was the Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro Hotel that stood out as one the few six-star facilities constructed in the hospitality sector in that country. At the heart of it, Hill International provided project and construction management services and also lend expertise in the implementation of FF&E (furnishing, fittings and exterior) packages. With 436 rooms, including twin and king rooms, executive, junior, diplomatic and presidential suites, three restaurants and seven kitchens, the hotel had a construction area of nearly 65,000 square meters. “The project was planned before the Olympics and we feel that we have achieved success for the owner’s goals, as the hotel was delivered on March 28, 2016,” said Luis Fernando Barbieri, executive director of Hill International.
Nearly 30 Hill management professionals took part in the project. A Project Manager, project coordinator, FFE & OSE coordinator, construction coordinator, architects, civil and installation engineers, building technicians, safety and occupational health technician and trainees. The hotel is owned by the Grand Hyatt Group, with Yabu Pushelberg as the conceptual designer and Patricia Anastassiadis as Brazilian interior designer, he said, adding that the architect was Edmundo Musa of Arq and Urb, with Metodo Engenharia acting as the general contractor. Located between Barra da Tijuca Beach, in its front, and Marapendi Lagoon at its back, the hotel was built in compliance with LEED and PROCEL standards. A casual, yet luxurious, retreat for both business and leisure travelers, the hotel welcomes visitors into modern and sophisticated spaces. With two Phoenix palm trees welcoming guests and visitors at the entrance and 17 green walls spread throughout the hotel, the extensive landscaping is emblematic of Rio’s natural beauty and an important commitment to recover and preserve the native vegetation, the posting noted.
Hill’s PM/CM services also included deploying decisive project delivery methods, quality and cost management, risk mitigation, sustainability standards and schedule and safety management. But the project also had its share of challenges, Barbieri said. “The main challenge was to keep the initial budget in line with the client’s expectations. It is not possible to disclose the actual project cost”, Barbieri said, but Hill had to “deal with some factors” which influenced an increase of the budget. “Devaluation of the dollar and its instability in the national market was an obstacle that had to be overcome. Also, changes to project scope had to be carried out to meet requirements of the Grand Hyatt Group standards. This subsequently led to an increase in the project schedule,” he said. Hill’s contract schedule lasted from November 2011 to January 2017.
With the dust settled on the Rio Olympics, Hill’s handing over of the Grand Hyatt hotel will once again prove its ability to execute projects in line with the client’s requirements. The company already has proven expertise in Brazil in the renewable energy wind farm and the infrastructure. Now it has left its stamp on the hospitality industry by completing the Grand Hyatt Hotel project.
By Ashok Dutta
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