There are big projects and then there are huge projects. And, every once in a while, there are truly enormous projects. The Baha Mar Casino and Hotel in the Bahaman capital of Nassau is one of those enormous projects, earning the label of the largest construction project in the Western Hemisphere. Given the pure scale of the task at hand, unique challenges related to size, international expertise and the timeline are bound to arise.

China Construction America (CCA), the project’s international construction management firm, coordinated the design and assembly of the $4.3 billion resort to include three separate hotels, a 100,000-square-foot casino and a 30,000-square-foot spa. A water feature that spans 600 feet in circumference and 50 feet high was also to be built, along with installing tile and stone throughout the resort’s many bathrooms, floors and common areas.

CCA chose to utilize Laticrete products because of the company’s track record, capacity and product portfolio to meet the needs of this massive undertaking.

“The technical expertise of Laticrete and the company’s international presence lends itself to projects of this size,” said Wayne Hoerning, Laticrete international regional manager for the Caribbean. “We worked with CCA during the Beijing Olympics, so they knew we had a team of experts that could be on the ground within days to deliver high-quality products and service.”

 

The Challenges:

  • International Shipping: The project required CCA to overcome the island’s shipping obstacles to deliver significant orders of materials on time to ensure construction would not be delayed, as many moving parts were happening at once. It was vital to work with a partner like Laticrete that could ship large quantities of materials from their plant in Florida to the jobsite promptly.
  • Scale: While Laticrete has more than six decades of experience, a project of this scale is still always a daunting task. The construction team required easy-to-use products that contribute to a speedy delivery while promising long-lasting results.
  • Sound Requirements: At a high-end resort and spa, serenity is the expectation as guests from all over the world pay top-dollar to experience the quiet, relaxing environment. To accomplish this, sound containment was one of the top priorities for the construction team as the hotel floors were constructed almost entirely of tile, typically a non-sound absorptive flooring option.

 

A Laticrete Solution

With thousands of bathrooms to be built across the resort, CCA decided to outsource the work to Eggrock Modular Solutions, a general contractor out of Littleton, MA. All 2,200 bathrooms were prefabricated using Spectralock Pro Grout at their worksite and then shipped to the Bahamas. The epoxy-based grout offers superb color uniformity, durability and stain resistance that will stand the test of time. Additionally, the grout is crack-resistant and ideal for installation in areas with a wide range in temperatures, perfect for outdoors.

For maximum efficiency, each bathroom was installed as a unit. While this sped up the process, the team encountered the unique challenge of having to waterproof the thousands of prefabricated bathrooms that were shipped from the U.S. to the island.

CCA used Hydro Ban, a thin, load-bearing waterproofing and anti-fracture membrane that does not require the use of fabric in the field, coves or corners. Hydro Ban is a single-component, self-curing, liquid rubber polymer that forms a flexible, seamless waterproofing membrane that bonds to a wide variety of substrates, including copper, steel, stainless steel and PVC plumbing fixtures.

“Hydro Ban is the right product for installing prefabricated bathrooms. CCA’s contractors were able to prep the areas for installation in under ten minutes,” Hoerning said. “When you think about it, this is truly amazing. An entire room in less time than it takes to read a Laticrete project spotlight.”

Hydro Ban was also used to waterproof the massive water feature that is situated at the entrance of the resort. To adhere the tiles to the water feature, 254 Platinum in “white” was selected for its superior strength.

In consultation with CCA, Laticrete designed a system to reduce and eliminate sound throughout the hotel’s many floors of tile, which included the use of 170 Sound & Crack Isolation Mat, a high-performance acoustical underlayment. The 3-mm-thick rubberized membrane was installed with 252 Silver, a polymer-modified, bagged, cementitious thinset powder that is mixed with water. The tiles were installed over the underlayment system using 253 Gold, a polymer-fortified thinset that was ready to go within two hours.

“With so much tile and stone to install, Laticrete’s sound mat and adhesives were the right choice,” said Graeme Moran, CCA project manager. “The workability of 252 Silver and 253 Gold eased the construction process and let us stay on schedule.”

Finally, CCA needed a grout system that could hold up to high traffic and the Caribbean weather. To achieve this, CCA chose a host of Laticrete grouts to suit the project’s specific needs throughout various areas of the resort.

 

Outcome

“With a project of this scale, we needed a good partner and found it in Laticrete,” said Dagen Li, CCA procurement manager. “Laticrete helped us refine the design of the project even after construction commenced. Furthermore, they were able to provide the products that met the demanding needs and the specific requirements of this unprecedented project.”

Since opening its doors, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Luxury Travel Advisor have recognized the Baha Mar Hotel and Casino as one of the best resorts in the Bahamas.