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Technological advantage

John Reyhan, executive vice president and general manager of Skanska USA, reveals how the MetLife Stadium was completed ahead of schedule, details the new technologies availible to optimise construction and explains how the company is ready to weather the uncertain economic times

 

What services does your company offer to the industry?
Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially-sound construction networks in the country. Headquartered in New York with 35 offices across the US, Skanska USA employs approximately 7,000 employees committed to sustainable construction and an injury-free workplace. Our company has completed dozens of additions and renovations, as well as new sports facilities, across the country.

For this reason, Skanska has a Sports Center of Excellence (COE), which is a group of sports construction experts equipped to provide our clients with state-of-the-art sports venue construction technology, best management practices, lessons learned and other services specialised for the sports industry in order to construct the best facilities possible. The Sports COE supports our local projects with unprecedented global sports expertise including: LEED and sustainability review, preconstruction cost modelling, benchmarking and feasibility studies.
 

Could you tell us an interesting fact about your company?
Skanska built the only stadium that is home to two NFL teams – MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and the New York Jets.
 

What trends do you see emerging in your particular sector of the stadium industry?
We are seeing more and more facilities moving towards two-team or multi-use facilities to reduce operating costs and increase revenue. Optimising a facility for multi-use purposes often includes building a new or renovating an existing stadium to accommodate two sports such as football and soccer, as well as concerts and other events. We are also seeing more mixed-use developments and entertainment complexes connected to stadia, which add an additional revenue stream, turning stadia into destinations even when games are not being played. As a construction manager, we are seeing more prefabrication of stadium systems due to increases in technology. Prefabrication not only accelerates the schedule, but it also provides a higher-quality product, which is a win-win for our clients.
 

Can you tell us about a recent success story for your company?
At our most recent stadium, MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets and the New York Giants, Skanska finished the project five months ahead of schedule using leading-edge technology and innovation. Through the use of technology such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) material tracking, and prefabrication, we opened early and on budget, allowing the client to book unexpected revenue-generating events.
 

What are the biggest challenges you’re facing in your particular sector of the industry – and how are you overcoming them?
Based on market forecasts for 2012, the construction industry can expect a flat year. There may be some growth in the healthcare, higher education and data centre markets, and within the public sector, but we do not expect a substantial change yet. While the market is certainly not as bad as it was and we are seeing signs of recovery, there are no clear skies ahead. There are too many unknowns and global issues that can impact the state of our businesses and economy. But it is very important to stay optimistic in a downturn; the market will return to levels that existed before the boom – it will just take time.
 

What new technologies or strategies have you used in any recent projects?
As a company, Skanska uses BIM on all projects greater than US$10 million. This company-wide mandate helps deliver projects to our clients in the most efficient manner. Staying connected and productive while working in the field can be a challenge. Skanska developed Digital Field Stations that provide all subcontractors electronic access to the latest 3D drawings onsite at all times through the internet. Architects and engineers can update drawings remotely and revisions are available to everyone onsite immediately.
 

What’s your favourite stadium/sports venue and why?
Just like you shouldn’t play favourites with children, we don’t like to play favourites with our stadia. Skanska has built many stadia across the country and each project is unique in its own way.
 

Where do you see the stadium market in 10 years’ time?
In the next decade, we think we will see more two-team and multi-purpose stadia. We also expect to see more and more stadia upgraded to improve the fan experience by integrating technology, specifically social media, into new and renovated stadia.
 

Skanska USA will be exhibiting at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2012, 8 -10 May 2012. Visit the company at Booth 3036

 

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