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In last month’s blog, we covered the impact of the delayed construction in the Crossrail project and briefly touched on the significant delays in the construction of the Tottenham Hotspur Football Stadium has experienced. So, let’s delve deeper into what has caused these delays and why Mace, who have previously led projects such as the Shard and the London Eye have yet to deliver on this occasion.
From the outset, Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium was always going to be one of the UK’s largest Premier League football stadiums. The stadium will boast a capacity of over 61,000, a far cry from their original White Hart Lane home that had a capacity of only 36,284. Mace, one of Britain’s largest construction firms is aiming to bring fans closer to the sport and create a landmark entertainment venue for North London. The new and improved stadium will feature state of the art facilities such as a retractable grass field and a lower artificial surface underneath. The stadium is due to incorporate the UK’s largest tier stand with plans to host a minimum of two NFL matches a season once completed.
Mace described the new ‘world-renowned’ structure as having a ‘sculptured appearance which wraps and folds its way around the stadium, before reaching the home end’. The complex design of the stadium boasts a glass facade with overhanging roof tips simulating the fly eaves seen in traditional Chinese architecture, covering the service area and designed to reduce noise and disruption for residents. It will incorporate a ‘skywalk’ which will allow people to climb 40m up the exterior of the building and will also include the longest general admission bar in a UK stadium with a length of over 86 meters.
With all of the new technology and a complex structure, it’s probably no surprise that Mace’s £859 million project has been riddled with issues. Staff currently working on this project have faced a hard time, and finding the time to recruit additional staff with the right knowledge has inevitably delayed the opening for months. A shortage in the supply of skilled workers has not only hindered Mace, but UK construction firms are worried as the looming Brexit deadline has caused a steep decline in available workers. It has been reported that workers from as far as Middlesborough have been recruited to reinforce the stadium’s construction workforce.
Mace’s issues surrounding the new mega structure have been far from restricted to the supply of skilled workers. It has been reported by unnamed sources that due to the wrong installation of air conditioning units, electrical wiring has had to be taken out and replaced and higher than usual issues with critical safety systems have been detected by the fire detection contractors. In addition, the stadium does not seem immune to the disruption of urban foxes who have created extensive damage to the newly laid grass.
The initial construction contract with the club was said to be of £400 million, however, issues surrounding external contractors have doubled the cost of the stadium. Mace has blamed the construction issues on external contractors not meeting promised deadlines delaying the stadium until early 2019, though employees say a lack of coordination and communication have meant “what usually takes a week, takes a month”. Neither Spurs, nor Mace have put a timeline on its likely completion, but with the Christmas festive period fast approaching, it is touch and go whether they will find enough staff to cover the work needed to finish the stadium by the predicted deadline of early 2019.
We will continue to monitor the progress of this project, and as we work with a colleague who is an avid Tottenham supporter, we will no doubt hear the news from him before any journalist has reported it.
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