Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
Size of project: £42m
Type of project: Stadium
Demonstration themes: Customer needs, integrated teams, predictability of cost and time, the business case for health and safety
Contract: JCT Standard Building Contract 2005, Revision 2007, comprising two-stage selection including quality, H&S and financial.
- Client: Cardiff City Football Club
- Main contractor: Laing O’Rourke
- Designer: Arup
The primary objective was to deliver a 25,000-seater stadium within a fixed budget ceiling of £42m. Close cooperation between the design and construction team and the client was needed to achieve the right balance between aesthetic appearance, quality and the required functionality. The project team also committed itself to certain objectives including zero accidents, minimal change to design, zero defects, minimal waste and enhanced community benefits.
Drawing on the impressive experience of both the designer and constructor on this type of project, a number of possible design solutions were considered by the team until the one that best met the primary objectives was agreed by everyone involved.
The project then presented a number of further challenges, including a construction site with potentially contaminated ground and the presence of piles from a previous athletics stadium. The team decided on a dynamic compaction approach, using the Landpac system for the foundations and a bespoke piling solution.
A remediation strategy was developed to deal with the uncertain environmental conditions. This included water borehole tests for the existing ground and imported material, surface water diverted to foul connections, and the excavation of a SUDS tank to attenuate water into the River Ely. Waste material was segregated on site for plastic, timber and metal, which led to 77% of waste materials being recycled.
The 25,000-seat stadium had to be upgradable to 30,000 seats, including premium hospitality seating for 2,250. A 1,200-space car park was also required along with space for conference facilities. An early estimate of the costs involved in achieving all the client’s objectives took the budget 20% over the limit. To bring costs down, a value engineering exercise was undertaken to simplify construction wherever possible and reduce risk in both health and safety and design and construction.
The value engineering approach continued throughout the construction phase, generating a number of innovative solutions. Cladding replaced the specified fibreglass for the roof, for example, while the corners of the stadium were opened up to reduce the amount of precast concrete required. The concrete base slab was reduced and replaced with tarmac and blockwork stopped at 13 courses. Toilets were moved to the outside and the stairs were redesigned and moved inside.
Eighty-five per cent of the work was sourced with preferred suppliers, which meant that 85% of the main cost was established before the second-stage tender was submitted.
Health and safety was a top priority, and a red, yellow and white card system was used for all employees on site. The top five safety challenges were identified as demolition of the existing athletics stadium, cut and fill operations, earthworks including piling and excavations, slips, trips and falls, and falls from height. A proactive programme of initiatives was undertaken to reduce risks, including a behavioural change programme for everyone working on site.
To eliminate defects from the finished building, a proactive strategy was used, combining training, inspections, technical input from in-house experts and lessons learned from other projects, all underpinned by a robust process.
There was a strong emphasis on engagement with the community.
Local suppliers were used where possible, schools and colleges were involved, a community newsletter produced, and many project-related events and activities organised. The project won an excellent Considerate Constructors’ score profile of 38, 37.5 and 36.
The client was extremely pleased with the result – a ‘people’s’ stadium shared between Cardiff City Football Club and the Cardiff Blues rugby team, with the capacity to grow with the success of the occupants. When considered against the project team’s objectives, the achievement is impressive: a zero accident frequency rate, only 40 minor design variations, and completion on time and on budget.