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Cementing South Asia’s Position in Construction Excellence
By Potshangbam July
Manage South Asia features two recent projects in the built environment in India that won PMI South Asia awards for best projects in 2021. These projects are a showcase of meticulous planning and execution and out-of-the-box thinking to either overcome daunting challenges or offer users a completely new experience.
World’s Largest Cricket Stadium: Scores High on Sustainability and Viewing Experience
Project: Narendra Modi Stadium, Motera, Gujarat
Project Start Date:
8 December 2016
Project End Date:
24 February 2020
US$ 8 billion
Gujarat Cricket Association
Larsen and Toubro (L&T)
The Narendra Modi Stadium at Ahmedabad in Gujarat, earlier known as the Motera Cricket Stadium, was a dream project of the Indian prime minister, that was conceptualized during his time as the chief minister of Gujarat. It took state-of-theart design, innovative thinking, and superior engineering and project management skills to turn that dream into an award-winning project.
L&T won the Project of the Year award in the medium category for this project at the PMI South Asia Awards 2021.
The stadium, constructed in place of a much smaller structure, has superseded the Melbourne Cricket Stadium in Australia in size and has asserted its new identity as the world’s largest cricket stadium. It is currently the only green-rated cricket stadium in India.
HURDLES ON THE WAY
The project faced many challenges, right from the design stage. The biggest challenge was to design it in such a manner that the seating capacity increased from 49,000 to 110,000 on the same 63-acre site as the old, demolished stadium. The design also needed to ensure a 360-degree, uninterrupted view of the cricket field from an y point in the stadium. Besides, the stadium was surrounded by residential complexes, and a temple stood within the site premises. It posed a greater challenge during weekends, when the footfall to the temple grew. The project team needed to think of an alternative access to the temple, so that the flow of devotees or the construction work was not affected.
It called for an innovative approach to blend the diverse elements seamlessly, after considering the design requirements, socio-cultural sensitivities, and other aspects regarding project execution.
The project also faced some core construction-related challenges.
The upper bowl of the stadium is supported by two asymmetrical
Since the stadium is not a circle but elliptical or oval-shaped, it threw up several engineering challenges. The design and construction phases needed to take into account several other independent or semi-independent construction elements. We erected at a rate of 500-600 elements every month. We had to be ever careful about the orientation, alignment, angle of deflection, and other such aspects while erecting these elements.
Subrata Dutta, Project Director
columns of reinforced cement concrete, one of which is shaped like the letters H and Y. It is 36-meter tall, 15-meter wide and 2.7-meter deep, weighing around 285 tonnes. The traditional method of using in-situ casting for the columns, where formwork is made on the site and liquid concrete is poured into the formwork and then cured, posed a major risk to those working at that height. Besides, in the case of in-situ casting, the material needs to be closely checked to ensure quality. It was not only a laborious but also a time-consuming process.
The other difficult task was the construction of steel roof structures with its unique design at 52-meter height and 30-meter cantilever. Workers with the right skills were hard to come by. The team also had to look for different tools, techniques, and technical resources to carry out the project smoothly.
BEST PRACTICES AND INNOVATIVE APPROACHES TO COUNTER CHALLENGES
L&T came up with advanced technology solutions and deployed them seamlessly to bring more efficiency in project execution.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology was used for better communication between the design and execution teams. It enabled erection sequencing of the precast elements which were in various sizes and appearances. It helped in understanding the possible risks, and mitigating them before occurrence.
The Critical Path Methodology (CPM) tool in Oracle’s Primavera software was used to effectively optimize resources, track project activities, and improve collaboration.
L&T’s own safety app was used to monitor daily work activities, work permits, operational risk analysis, and material tracking. It also helped in meeting its sustainability goal by reducing paperwork and completing the project faster. The app clocked in around 21 million human hours for the project.
ProCube is another app created by L&T that tracks daily work progress and client co-ordination. Besides, the quality app was used for monitoring client requirements and quality checks/audits.
Regular brainstorming sessions were held among team members, including those from the Construction Methods and Planning Cell, and the Plant and Machinery department, which contributed in generating innovative ideas for executing the project across various phases. Some of those ideas were the erection of colossal precast columns in a single lift and the erection of steel roof structures amidst the constricted areas with a high-tension electric line in proximity.
Precast elements of 36-meter length, weighing 285 metric tonnes, were used for the upper bowl of the stadium, that has intricate, different geometrically-shaped columns. By erecting large columns, the team reduced the number of joints to a great extent and thus saved the erection cycle time by 40 percent.
L&T incorporated a lightweight cable-supported tensile membrane roof, supported by V-shaped steel columns. It helps in resisting strong winds and earthquakes. A wind tunnel test was conducted to optimize the roof design.
The compound walls and drains were all pre-cast and erected on site. This practice helped in tackling time constraints and avoiding conventional formworks for small drains.
L&T installed green-rated faucet and taps in toilets, bathrooms, and urinals to control the wastage of water.
One of the key factors was the effective communication and collaboration between the stakeholders and the L&T team. Since it was a high-profile project, it needed close supervision by the L&T team and regular communication with the stakeholders.
The team received advice and support from Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Parimal Nathwani, Member of Parliament and vice-president of Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA), the project sponsor. Weekly and monthly review meetings were conducted throughout the project by GCA officials.
It is currently the only cricket stadium in the world to ha ve four dressing rooms with associated facilities to accommodate four teams at a time. It makes it possible for teams to play back-to-back games on the same day.
The presence of a large podium gives a 360° view with an uninterrupted line of sight for all 110,000 spectators.
The drainage system removes rainwater within 30 minutes after the rain stops. It avoids a long waiting period before a game can resume after rain.
The stadium was originally planned for a seating capacity of 110,000 spectators, but it can accommodate up to 132,000 spectators.
The stadium created lifetime job opportunities for 100-150 local workers for stadium’s operation and maintenance and for ground preparation.
It is the only stadium in the world with 11 center pitches on t he main ground.
HIGH ON SUSTAINABILITY, USER EXPERIENCE
Innovative construction methods and the use of digital tools during the execution phase made it possible for L&T to meet a tight timeline and complete the project in 38 months.
L&T frequently monitored the air ambient quality during construction, that provided environmental impact data related to construction activities. By controlling the amount of pollutants in the ambient air, it significantly contributed to environmental sustainability, in line with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) guidelines.
The stadium, that has been awarded the Gold Green Building Rating by IGBC, promises to provide a great viewing experience for cricket lovers. It is the first cricket stadium in India to have LED light fixtures mounted on top of the roof edges for better visibility. It does away with the need for conventional light mast structures that form shadows on the ground, and thus affect viewing quality.
The project was also awarded the “Sword of Honour” in 2018 by the British Safety Council after having clocked in 21million safe human-hours with zero ‘loss of time’ injury.
India’s First and One-of-a-kind Prefabricated COVID-19 Hospital
Project: Construction of 551-Bed COVID-19 Hospital, Kerala
Project Start Date:
Project End Date:
US$ 6 million (approx.)
Tata Projects Ltd.
A 551-bed healthcare facility developed in Kasaragod, Kerala as an immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a nationwide lockdown won the PMI South Asia Contribution to Community Award in 2021.
It took only three months to complete the construction of the hospital dedicated to COVID-19 patients. The construction that was carried out at a challenging time of movement restrictions was delivered 16 days ahead of the project’s committed completion date.
The Government of Kerala actively worked with Tata Projects, the implementation company, to facilitate the construction in record time. It was the first hospital in Kerala to be dedicated to COVID-19 patients and India’s first hospital built from scratch exclusively for COVID patients.
The facility houses 80 quarantine rooms with 400 beds, 24 isolation rooms with 96 beds, two observation rooms with 10 beds, and one resuscitation room with five beds.
Additionally, there are 10 rooms with 40 beds for nurses and doctors to rest, besides a waiting room, canteen, pharmacy, and a radiology section. Around 20 of the units have been made with fiber-reinforced polymer composite sandwich panels. This advanced technology makes the structure lightweight and high on strength.
BOTTLENECKS DUE TO THE LOCKDOWN
A major stumbling block for the project was the uncertainties posed by the lockdown. The project team was not certain which activities would be allowed since the rules were changing frequently. Another concern was creating a safe work environment within the project site by minimizing the risk of infection from COVID-19.The team found it difficult to convince people to join the project because of a perceived high risk of getting infected at work.
Besides, the availability and mobilization of resources became a challenge due to the movement restrictions. Many suppliers had halted production, which led to shortages and delays in material supply.
Safe and timely project execution was a big concern for us. We had to keep the project site safe while also motivating the entire team. Our team had to also ensure that there was minimal disruption during the execution phase.
Ravishankar Chandrasekaran, executive vice president and Strategic Business Unit (SBU) head - Urban Built Form, Tata Projects Ltd.
The objective of the project was clear – to create a 551-bed medical facility for COVID patients. However, the master plan and project requirements lacked clarity at the initiation phase. Since it was the first time that such a facility was being built, it was difficult to get inputs from the customer or domain experts.
The manufacturing facilities were in remote and it was not possible to visit those locations during the lockdown. Trust played a critical role in procuring material without physical verification. It fell on the project team to convince the customer about the suppliers’ quality standards.
TECHNOLOGY TOOLS SAVE THE DAY
To ensure safety and precautions during operations, Tata Projects developed a new set of standard operating procedures (SOP) for the COVID task force. This empowered decision-making and procurement through an exclusive channel independent of regular operations. The project was designed to rely heavily on prefabricated systems and collaborative tools and technologies that reduced infection risks to the workforce.
The whole project was conceptualized as a modular, prefabricated building. Foundations were precast and structures prefabricated at manufacturing facilities, and then transported to the project site, along with accessories as readymade plug-and-play components. These prefabricated units were then assembled onsite with the help of a small team of workers.
Stakeholder management was key to project success to enable faster decision-making and planning of key activities and interferences. The company adopted video conferencing to remotely select materials and communicate with contractors, suppliers, and fabricators. It utilized Building Information Modeling (BIM) Docs to make the process of remote information storing, sharing, and managing easy. The cloud-enabled BIM platform allowed engineers, designers, and project managers to collaborate remotely, and thus save time and effort.
Additionally, the company used an in-house video call-based inspection tool to assess the quality of the vendors’ fabrication units remotely. This facilitated field quality inspections even during the lockdown and helped to meet the aggressive timelines. Navis Works software made coordination, clash detection, and construction simulation simple for better project outcomes.
Some standout features of this project:
A prefabricated facility that is environment-friendly as it reduces construction waste and minimizes emissions
A concept that can be replicated to create emergency facilities in future
The complete design of the facility was completed in 30 days
All 128 rooms were developed in 80 days, including finishing touches
The complete facility was commissioned in 100 days
Facility planned in such a way that it can be re-purposed for other inpatient treatment facilities as the need arises
FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO PROJECT SUCCESS
Timely approvals and support from the Government of Kerala helped Tata Projects to complete the project ahead of time. The government provided land for the project, which helped the company escape the hassle of land acquisition, one of the biggest challenges that construction projects face. Besides, the government helped in getting permits to operate and transport material during the lockdown.
Tata Projects got workforce from a nearby project and mobilized the project team even before the handover of the construction site. As soon as the project took off, the company came up with a COVID risk mitigation plan to create a safe work environment and execute the project efficiently. It included conducting regular RT-PCR tests for the staff and a dedicated isolation facility for infected staff.
To avoid the risk of infection, the company identified seven manufacturing locations across the country from where it could source material safely. With that, it kept the risk of disruption low and the supply lines going to meet the tight project timelines.
Tata Projects engaged with these vendors on a daily basis with micro-planning to ensure that they have sufficient resources to perform their assigned functions. This level of monitoring enabled the company to quickly identify gaps and leverage its large vendor base to manage shortfalls from certain manufacturers. This approach created confidence and responsibility in vendors to drive on-time delivery.
SETTING AN EXAMPLE
The adoption of modern technology in every phase of project execution in terms of design, project management, and construction made it feasible for Tata Projects to complete this critical healthcare facility in the shortest timeframe during a highly challenging time. The project received appreciation from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who said, “It is an excellent example of how public-private partnerships can be put to good use.”
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