A Case Study in Collaboration: B&B Hotel Guimarães

Timber-hybrid front view of B&B Hotel Guimaraes

Along with the teams from CREE Buildings, Grupo Casais and B&B Hotels Group, we recently completed a very a unique project in Guimarães, Portugal – the B&B Hotel Guimarães – which is the first timber-hybrid construction of its kind on the Iberian Peninsula. The project consists of two separate blocks: one is a hotel for the B&B Hotels Group, and the other is an apartment block with 44 apartments. 

Timber-hybrid walls going up at B&B Hotel Guimaraes

Installation of the prefabricated façade panels

The structure consists of a combined podium in reinforced concrete, supporting two 4-storey CREE buildings overtop. The total floor area is 7,200 sq.m. (77,500 sq.ft.), where the CREE system represents approximately 4,100 sq.m. (44,000 sq.ft.). Our scope of work included design assist, specialty engineering, fabrication design and installation engineering.

The CREE floor panels span 6.3m (21 ft.) and 8.1m (26 ft.) respectively. An interior steel girder along one side of the corridors picks up these floor slabs. The girder is flush with the floor system to avoid any downstands. The perimeter columns are exposed glulam and integrated into the façade panels. These façade panels were fully prefabricated in the shop, allowing for quick and reliable installation of the system. And once the floor panels were in place, the building was weatherproof and protected from rain – allowing the follow-up trades to commence their work much faster than compared to a traditional approach.

Timber-hybrid hotel being built named B&B Hotel Guimaraes

Installation of CREE floor panels

During the design assist phase, we helped the Grupo Casais team to better understand the CREE system itself. We also helped to identify the key requirements and scopes for the various suppliers – allowing Grupo Casais to identify the appropriate trade partners, the respective scopes of work and interfaces between trades.

The specialty engineering included the entire CREE system – from designing the Timber-Concrete CREE slabs, steel support girders, and columns and façade panels (including the load bearing columns). The design was done in such a way to accommodate the trade partners as much as possible, reducing cost and increasing certainty on quality and schedule.

Timber-hybrid hotel being built named B&B Hotel Guimaraes

The fabrication design scope included creation of a geometry model (accurate representation of member sizing and location), that was relied upon by other team members to geometrically coordinate the interfaces. The fabrication level 3D modelling included the CREE slabs and façade panels. This was followed by the required 2D drawings such as single piece and shop assembly drawings, as well as material lists. The CREE slabs are a true hybrid system, consisting of precast concrete, steel embeds, glulam beams, and all the associated hardware. It is common for structural detailing firms to only cover one scope – always tied to a single material. With our team, we were able to provide fabrication level information across materials and reduce communication channels by keeping everything in-house. That saved time and increased the predictability on the production side.

3D Fabrication Model by Aspect

For the installation of the CREE system, we supported the team with general arrangement / sequencing drawings as well as how to lift the elements and temporary works requirements.

It only took 8 working days to assemble the CREE components for one block! – So, 16 days total installation time for the CREE components. The follow-up trades were working at a similar pace, thanks to the bathroom pods and high level of prefabrication of the MEP systems. All these components were dropped onto the floor slabs during the CREE installation, and then assembled once the CREE installation crew was working on the floors above.


Timber-hybrid hotel room at B&B Hotel Guimaraes

Timber-hybrid entrance at B&B Hotel Guimaraes

Learn more about the project here:




A huge thank you to Grupo Casais and CREE Buildings for bringing us onto the team for such a fun project! If you’re near Guimarães, be sure to stop by – and maybe even book yourself a stay.

Project Details:

Client: Grupo Casais, CREE Buildings

Architect: Mário Fernandes

Scope of Work: Design Assist, Specialty Engineering, Fabrication Design, and Installation Engineering

Engineer of Record: TopBIM

Photography: Bruno Barbosa, Grupo Casais