Janeiro, Brazil continued to flounder due to funding
shortages, political tension and allegations of corruption among the country’s major construction firms.
Similarly, the US$500 million upgrade to New
Miami Stadium in Miami, Florida, USA was way
behind schedule leading up to the 2016 American
football season, forcing contractors to work around
the clock since the beginning of the year to accom-
modate the tight two-year schedule. “It’s one of the
most difficult [projects I’ve ever undertaken],” the
National Football League’s Miami Dolphins’ owner
Stephen Ross told reporters in May. “Putting up
such a complex structure in such a short period of
time stresses everybody. There’s no room for error.”
Delays are particularly common on stadium
projects when stakeholders are slow to make deci-
sions; that can make it impossible to meet event
deadline goals, Mr. Veenbrink says. Some project
owners push through construction by hiring more
workers and running sites 24/7, while others are
forced to reduce project scope. In an extreme
example, Qatar’s government cut the number of
stadiums to be renovated or constructed for the
2022 World Cup from 12 to eight after acknowledging looming scheduling problems.
Ron Alexander understands the pressures stadium
project teams face. In June 2011, the Western Aus-
tralian state government committed to delivering a
new stadium in the city of Perth, with construction
to commence by 2014. “This gave the project team
the huge task of developing the project definition
plans for both the stadium and its transport solu-
tions and procuring the contractors … all within
a three-year period,” says Mr. Alexander, director
general of the Department of Sport and Recreation
and joint chairman of the Perth Stadium Steering
Committee in Perth, Australia.
The project team for the roughly AU$1 billion,
60,000-seat stadium undertook a year of planning
that included benchmarking other stadiums and
working with nine user groups to define design
requirements and the best procurement models.
After a detailed analysis, the team chose a design-build-finance-maintain model via a public-private
partnership for the stadium and its surrounding
sports precinct to balance project cost and risk
with the achievement of the project objectives.
“It was the procurement structure most likely to
maximize value-for-money outcomes for the state
government and the taxpayer,” he says. The project
is on track to open in early 2018 as scheduled.
Such careful planning and stakeholder management can help stadium project leaders mitigate
many of the risks that cause delays, which is critical on massive multibillion dollar projects. Says
Mr. Veenbrink: “Projects don’t fail at the end—
they fail at the beginning because people don’t
properly prepare.” —Sarah Fister Gale
To keep costs down and fans happy, stadium project teams are adopting unique approaches.
PUSKÁS FERENC S TADIUM
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Cost: €114 million
Unique approach: Contractors plan to
reuse 40,000 cubic meters ( 1. 4 million
cubic feet) of concrete from the city’s
demolished previous stadium to construct the new facility.
CI TY OF CHAMPIONS STADIUM
Location: Inglewood, California,
Cost: US$2.6 billion
Unique approach: A 19-acre
(7.7-hectacre) transparent canopy
will cover the entire stadium.
AL WAKRAH S TADIUM
Location: Al Wukair, Qatar
Cost: US$286 million
Unique approach: To combat temperatures
reaching 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees
Fahrenheit), the team leveraged microclimate
analysis to maximize natural airflow and shade
in addition to traditional mechanical cooling.
don’t like it
—Ben Veenbrink, The