Off-season renovations are challenging by nature, with fast-track schedules that are up against non-negotiable deadlines coinciding with season openers or high-profile events. Layering market volatility and supply chain issues on top of these existing, inherent challenges puts the success of off-season renovations at risk—if not managed properly. There are tactics and strategies stadium managers can use to mitigate these market challenges as much as possible, ensuring their projects are completed successfully and on-time.
The fate of a project is determined before construction even begins. Taking a collaborative approach from the outset—rallying the owner, architect, designer, general contractor, and major subcontractors around a common schedule and cost target—aligns all key stakeholders so they’re driven towards the same goal. This alignment happens naturally as part of the structure of a design-build effort, but should be executed as a best practice for any contract type. Upfront collaboration with all key stakeholders allows for constructability and feasibility reviews, ensuring the best available materials are selected and eliminating the need for future redesigns. This is especially crucial as material price and availability continue to be volatile.
Efficient procurement and construction begin during preconstruction—before project teams even step foot on site. Preconstruction has become even more critical in an unpredictable market, with client, architect, and general contractor working together through design-assist and true value-engineering to react fluidly and effectively to current market conditions. This collaborative approach allows for early communication with subcontractors, bringing them on as quickly as possible to set a base for material costs. It also allows for the early release of procurement packages, mitigating lead time and pricing risks. Effective preconstruction has proven itself—when Petco Park partnered with Shawmut early in preconstruction, the team successfully renovated 64 suites in the off season and even finished ahead of schedule.
Flexibility and creativity of all project partners is also crucial during this tumultuous time, as any material can be affected, with costs and lead times shifting in an instant. Immediate action and problem-solving are required to deliver on projects. With lead times on many items at an all-time high, different construction methods should be considered—for example, M/E/Ps can be prefabricated, saving time and money by installing all at once.
Customized tools and processes can allow project teams to react quickly to changing conditions when implemented effectively. For example, Shawmut created an in-house department led by preconstruction and estimating experts that collects, analyzes, and disseminates data in real-time to monitor and react quickly to changing conditions. These reports arm project teams and clients with the latest information to make the best decisions based on the current market. This is layered on top of Shawmut’s existing best practices—early and frequent communication, upfront partnership, collaborative preconstruction, design-assist, effective value-engineering, and flexibility from all key stakeholders—to avoid cost and time overruns.
While escalation continues to create what seems like insurmountable challenges, stadium managers can still enhance their facilities during the off-season by selecting the right project partners. Collaboration, flexibility, and communication are tantamount—building and strengthening relationships across project teams to execute a beautiful renovation on-time or ahead of schedule.