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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May 13, 2021

Winvic tops out first hotel project in Milton Keynes

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Winvic Construction has topped out its first hotel project, Hotel La Tour, in Milton Keynes

Winvic Construction has topped out its first hotel project, Hotel La Tour, at 50 metres in Milton Keynes.

A roof covering programme is now underway which will be followed by floor and ceiling curtain walling, and extensive glazing on the 13th floor, which will contain a sky bar, restaurant and public exhibition space.

Work on envelope and cladding will continue with the 30m high, LED-lit satin finish stainless steel circle on the eastern façade completing the external design. The ‘sun’ design will be visible up the city’s Midsomer Boulevard, which was created to align with the sun on the longest day of the year.

Winvic is currently fitting-out the 261 bedrooms, which has included the sailing and positioning of off-site fabricated bathroom pods. Fit-out of other facilities within the hotel will also continue, such as the 12,000 sq ft flexible conference floor that comprises adaptable meeting spaces and an external terrace that has been designed to be high load bearing. The project is expected to be handed over in July 2022.

Mark Jones, Winvic’s Head of Multi-room, said: “We started on site just two weeks after the first 2020 lockdown was announced and despite the unprecedented challenges, our team have hit milestone after milestone on, or ahead, of schedule. I’d like to say a huge thank you to them. Reaching the highest point of any multi-room project is always worth celebrating, but this is a bit more special as it’s Winvic’s first hotel," he said.

Winvic recently lifted eight railway bridge beams into place over the A5, 2km north of M1 J18. It is one of three bridges that Winvic is constructing for Prologis at DIRFT III in Northamptonshire, as part of a £29 million contract to deliver a new Intermodal Rail Freight Terminal.

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