May 16, 2020

Building your stadium reconstruction team

Stadium construction
US Construction
3 min
Fifth Third Ballpark in 2011
Every spring, millions of baseball fans pack stadiums across the country to root for their team as they kick off the season. Yet, after a January fire s...

Every spring, millions of baseball fans pack stadiums across the country to root for their team as they kick off the season. Yet, after a January fire sparked by a heater in a luxury box at the Fifth Third Ballpark—home to the Detroit Tigers’ Single A minor league affiliate—having a place for the fans to call home on opening day seemed highly unlikely.

Building and rebuilding sports stadiums is a massive undertaking. To put it in perspective, plans for the new New York Yankee stadium were announced in 2005, groundbreaking occurred in August 2006 and the first game wasn’t played until 2009, three full years later.

However, having the right team in place—from industry veterans to forensic engineers who are familiar with fire damaged buildings and an established project liaison—can drastically reduce the amount of time needed to rebuild a stadium.

Building the team:

Step 1: Identify industry veterans

When beginning a rebuild, consulting with the original construction company can yield previously unknown but critical information that can help speed up construction time and reduce the risk of structural problems. For example, knowing the type of materials used in the original build in advance can help the current construction company cut down on the amount of time needed to source new materials.

Step 2: Co-ordinate with co-partners

In the event of a catastrophe, such as a fire, resulting damage can significantly impact a building. But in some cases, even the best construction companies have limited experience working with fire-damaged buildings.

This was the case at the Fifth Third Ballpark rebuild site. Recognizing this challenge, the hired construction company partnered with a forensic engineering firm that had the ability to identify what, if any, structural components of the stadium were salvageable. By partnering with outside experts who had the required knowledge, the construction company did not have to replace structurally sound materials, allowing them to instead focus its efforts on high-risk areas.

Step 3: Seek effective communicators

With so many people on a construction site—from construction crew members to company executives—effective and clear communication is extremely important. Implementing a top-down communication system that originates from a single source is thus necessary to maintain order and keep projects on track.

The benefits of such a communication system were demonstrated at The Fifth Third Ballpark rebuild when the executives at the stadium decided to alter the original design by widening walkways in their luxury boxes and expanding the size of their pro shop. This last-minute redirection could easily have resulted in a communication failure. However, since the hired construction company was working with an on-site consultant who acted as a liaison between all involved parties, updated design information was clearly communicated in a timely manner, allowing the construction company the opportunity to quickly and easily readjust to the change.

Play ball:

On April 8, 2014, the Detroit Tigers’ minor league players proudly walked onto home field to play their season opener, just a few short months after the devastating fire. Two months later, the 2014 Midwest League All-Star game was also hosted at the Fifth Third Ballpark.

This is no isolated achievement. By building the right team, consisting of knowledgeable industry veterans, active co-partners and clear communicators, success like this can be repeated by construction companies across the country.

Steve Mortensen is an executive general adjuster for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

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Jun 15, 2021

Skanska secures $84m Portland Airport upgrade contract

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Skanska Hoffman joint venture wins Terminal Core Expansion project, comprising structural, mechanical and electrical work and enclosure

A Skanska Hoffman Construction Company joint venture has signed a contract amendment with the Port of Portland for improvements to the Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Skanska's share of the contract amendment is worth US$84M, which will be included in the US order bookings for the second quarter.

The amendment includes work on the Terminal Core Expansion project, comprising structural, mechanical and electrical work and enclosure. Construction is underway and scheduled for completion by 2025.

With annual travelers expected to climb to 33 million by 2045, the Terminal Core Redevelopment project is a vital expansion that ensures PDX will be able to serve the community well into the future.

Hoffman will install a new 9-acre large-span roofing system over the entire terminal core complex, build a 150-foot multi-floor addition between Concourses C and D, and add new pre- and post-security concessions.

The renovated passenger entry terminal will double the size of the current ticketing and lobby area when it opens in 2025. It is also replacing 16 old passenger boarding bridges plus equipment throughout the PDX concourses. Gate count is critical for PDX operation, so the team must coordinate with each airline to replace one bridge at a time. In addition, Hoffman is rebuilding and enlarging Concourse B. The project is targeting LEED Gold. 

Skanska USA recorded sales of SEK66 billion in 2020 and has about 7,600 employees in its operations.

In other recent developments:

  • Skanska has sold an elderly care home in Sollentuna outside Stockholm, for about SEK280M, to Altura and lease agreements have previously been signed with Nytida and Vardaga. 
  • The group has also divested a residential project consisting of rental apartments, senior apartments and a home for people with special needs in Malmö, to Bantorget Hyresbostäder for SEK300M.
  • Skanska has joined the climate initiative Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) that gathers countries and leading companies committed to action to achieve the Paris Agreement.
  • Skanska has, through Cementation Skanska, signed a contract with the Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture for major piling works for the London Tunnels section on the HS2 high speed railway.

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