The Sandman Hotel Group manages more than 50 hotels, resorts and inns across North America and the United Kingdom, making them one of Canada’s fastest-growing, privately-owned hospitality companies. The company is dedicated to smart design and friendly hospitality; their goal is to provide guests with a relaxed, comfortable stay. They use wood in most of the new properties they build.
The Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel was the first six-storey wood-framed hotel built in the city. The property has 202 guest rooms, including 100 suites, along with two onsite restaurants. Additional hotel amenities include an indoor swimming pool with hot tub, a fitness room and business centre, along with banquet and meeting rooms.
Interior load-bearing walls were constructed of concrete; the builder then suspended the wood-framed floor joists from the concrete walls. They chose this construction methodology to help avoid accumulative shrinkage in the building. All non-load-bearing interior and exterior walls were wood framed. Since the Kamloops hotel is located adjacent to rail lines that run through the city, architects added acoustic drywall and extra insulation to the wood-framed exterior walls to provide quiet and privacy. The roof was built using engineered wood trusses.
To help welcome guests, wood was used to build the two-storey heavy timber canopies at both hotel entrances and placed reclaimed wood accent walls at entrances to the hotel and one of the restaurants. Wood’s durability in humid environments was also a consideration. They used western red cedar tongue-and-groove decking for the ceiling in the indoor swimming pool and hot tub area.
One of Sandman’s core values is a commitment to sustainability, a commitment that is reflected in their choice of wood for constructing new facilities. Economics and speed of construction provided additional benefits, as did access to framers and carpenters in Kamloops with the expertise needed to build the structure quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. Since the company works to maximize the value of their suburban locations and has seen success in building six-storey hotels using wood, this building type is now typical for Sandman’s new construction.
Construction took place over a rugged winter. Since framers can easily work with wood, even in extreme cold temperatures, they avoided some of the challenges they would have faced if they had used steel, since it is difficult to weld in below-freezing temperatures. The decision to use wood for the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre provided benefits that extend beyond structural performance and ease of installation. Wood’s ability to store carbon and the fact that it was sourced locally provided important environmental benefits. The exposed wood also provides a sense of connection.