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Holiday Inn Express & Crowne Plaza Hotels

Client: Dominvs Group

  • RIBA Stages
    • 3: Developed Design
    • 4: Technical Design
    • 5: Construction
    • 6: Handover and Close Out
    • 7: In Use


Photos courtesy of McAleer & Rushe

What we did

Dominvs Group, on behalf of the InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG), contracted McAleer & Rushe to design and build two separate hotels 100m from Aberdeen International Airport terminal: the Aberdeen Holiday Inn Express and the Crowne Plaza Aberdeen Airport Hotel.

The 3-star Holiday Inn Express was to feature 193 bedrooms, a meeting room and a 150-seat restaurant. The 4-star Crowne Plaza Hotel was to feature a 165 bedrooms, 7 meeting rooms, 2 banqueting suites and a 220-seat restaurant. The design of both hotels' needed to:

  • Deliver 'a restful stay and a comfortable working environment for business and leisure guests alike';
  • Adhere to Scottish building standards;
  • Meet IHG's high acoustic standards.

Our involvement began at the detailed design stage, with a remit to complete the projects' acoustic component of the building warrant application. This involved:

  • Measuring external noise levels from the adjacent airport;
  • Assessing noise break-in from the fixed flight path airlines and unpredictable free track helicopters;
  • Providing glazing specifications and façade construction advice.

During and at the end of the 15-month construction phase, we also:

  • Provided construction advice including specific material and partition junction advice;
  • Conducted pre-completion sound insulation tests between floors, function rooms and bedrooms to meet both the hotel operator's and Scotland's building standards.

Acoustic features of this project

We had to address two specific challenges on this project.

Firstly, Scotland's building standards vary slightly to those of England and Wales:

  • Once planning permission is granted, a building warrant is then required before construction can actually start;
  • There is no equivalent to England and Wales' 'Rooms for Residential Purposes' in Scotland's building standards.

Secondly, the flight paths at Aberdeen airport are defined in accordance with European Directives. These flight paths exclude free track helicopters which meant we had to:

  • Conduct a desktop study using proprietary known helicopter noise and vibration levels;
  • Use the results of the desktop study to determine if/where there could be any reduction in glazing specification in different parts of each hotel.

The free track helicopter paths made it impossible to accurately predict where any helicopter noise would come from and where, within the hotels, it would have most impact. As a result, the glazing and façade specifications had to make allowances for the possibility that a helicopter could fly very close to or directly over the top of the hotels.

The Holiday Inn Express opened in May 2015 and the Crowne Plaza opened in September 2015.

The project team

Architect: Urban Innovations
Interior Designer: Dexter Moren & Associates
Main Contractor: McAleer & Rushe
M&E Engineer: Caldwell Consulting
Acoustics: Adnitt Acoustics


  • Ground noise break-in from adjacent airport
  • Free track helicopter noise and vibration
  • High hotel operator standards
  • Scottish planning process and building standards


Do you have a similar acoustics requirement for your hotel development? 

Get in touch with one of our consultants to find out how we can help.

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 020 7099 9735

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