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Q&A: Skanska

Skanska's Thomas J Webb previews the company's visit to Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2011 in Los Angeles


Which projects will Skanska highlight at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2011?
Skanska USA will focus on our most recent sports construction projects across the nation, including our newest project, the New Meadowlands Stadium (pictured below). The stadium is part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey and is the first professional football venue to house two teams – The New York Jets and The New York Football Giants. The stadium comprises 2.2 million-square feet with seating for 82,500 spectators, including 217 luxury suite boxes. Skanska delivered the US$1.6 billion (€1.2 billion) design-build project five months early.

Skanska will also feature its other signature football stadium projects such as Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans and the world’s first retractable stadium roof, and LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. We will also highlight our collegiate sports portfolio including the current US$13.2 million (€9.5 million) renovation and addition for Texas A&M University’s Olsen Field and the recently completed LEED Gold certified Student Recreation Center for Portland State University.

Skanska builds many types of buildings globally – but what are the unique challenges of building stadia?
Similar challenges exist when building a stadium as when building any other type of facility. Co-ordination, communication and planning are always crucial, however when building a signature stadium, planning is paramount. With the New Meadowlands Stadium, the sheer size and complexity of the project were the biggest challenges. In addition, we were working with two different teams with two separate philosophies and thus collaboration among all parties was critical.

What trends do you see emerging in the stadium sector?
When it comes to stadium construction, we are seeing more and more interest from owners in the design-build delivery method because of the efficiencies it provides. And while more and more companies are starting to use Building Information Modelling (BIM), BIM is standard protocol on all of Skanska’s design-build projects. Another trend we are seeing is multi-use stadia that are flexible to accommodate various sports. For example, many owners are requesting their NFL stadia be designed to not only support football, but also soccer, lacrosse, concerts and other kinds of entertainment. New stadia offer more amenities including more restaurants and bars, more restrooms and more advanced audio-visual equipment and services throughout the stadium to enhance the fan experience. In addition, stadia are being constructed with more premium seating, more advertising space, larger concourses and more retail outlets.

And the wider construction sector?
In the construction industry as a whole, prefabrication is becoming more and more prominent. Skanska has had significant success using prefabrication to deliver projects ahead of schedule to clients throughout the USA. We are also seeing more sustainability initiatives to improve building efficiency and reduce environmental impact. Integrated project delivery (IPD) and lean construction are becoming more common as owners are interested in eliminating waste, improving productivity and maximising value. Owners are also looking more for full-service construction companies, like Skanska, to take care of all their civil, steel, concrete and construction needs.

Skanska has worked on some of the largest stadia ever built, including the New Meadowlands – how do you ensure you keep to budget and schedule?
If you want to remain on schedule and within budget, you must have the discipline to follow the procedures that are proven to work. And I know I’ve already said this, but planning is paramount. You have to understand the importance of being accountable to all the project stakeholders. Skanska will be presenting about this in great detail as part of Session 3 – Lessons Learned on Day 1 of the conference.


FIFA continues to take the World Cup to some exciting new host countries – what are the challenges from a contractor standpoint?
When Skanska enters into a new market – whether it’s a new city or state in the USA, or a new country – we first listen to the needs and the concerns of our client and the local community to understand how they do business. From there, we work to establish a protocol and plan for a successful project. Success is derived from developing a true partnership with your client and investing in the local community.

Skanska will be exhibiting on Stand 2075 at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2011 in Los Angeles on 12-14 April. Click here for more information


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