Our top 10 blog posts of 2014

Between the MetLife Stadium we constructed hosting the Super Bowl, completing a Santiago Calatrava masterpiece and making major progress on one of the largest U.S. public-private partnerships, it’s been an exciting year for us! As we close out the final days of 2014, we’re taking a look back at our ten most popular posts here on Constructive Thinking. We can’t wait for what 2015 will bring.

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Here are those posts, in order of popularity:

1.  Ever wonder how an underwater tunnel is built? Check out this step-by-step guide to the process currently underway at our joint venture’s Elizabeth River Tunnels P3 in Hampton Roads, Virginia: How we’re submersing 16,000-ton segments to create Virginia’s newest tunnel.

2.  This year’s Super Bowl saw the Seahawks and Broncos face off in MetLife Stadium, which we completed in 2010. The Seahawks took home the Vince Lombardi trophy inside one of the nation’s most technologically-advanced and energy-efficient stadiums. Here’s How to build a stadium that can tackle the Big Game.

3.  Before we could immerse the tunnel tubes for Elizabeth River Tunnels, first we had to float the 16,000-ton hollow concrete segments 220 miles down the Chesapeake Bay. We recapped the incredible journey in photos: Virginia’s latest highway tunnel begins with a trip down the Chesapeake Bay.

4.  Our high-stakes concrete pour at Miami’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science required 25 hours of non-stop placement to complete the suspended, martini glass-shaped 500,000-gallon seawater aquarium tank without any cracks. Gizmodo was impressed by our team’s precision. Watch teamwork in action in a stunning time-lapse: Our team was neither shaken nor stirred on this epic concrete pour.

5.  The Calatrava-designed Innovation, Science and Technology Building at Florida Polytechnic University is one of the most striking and challenging buildings we have built. This fall the university, the first STEM-focused college in the Sunshine State, welcomed its inaugural class of students. You don’t want to miss these pictures: This Calatrava masterpiece comes to life exactly as envisioned.

6.  At Skanska, we’re engaging with our clients to find ways to use building information modeling to improve the whole life cycle of buildings, not just during design and construction. For a facility owner, utilizing BIM for operations and maintenance uses can have substantial benefits. Here are Five ways virtual modeling can improve facilities management.

7.  Airports play an essential part in our economy and our lives. And yet, in the U.S. many of our airports have gone decades without major upgrades. MacAdam Glinn, national director of our Aviation Center of Excellence, examined the economic and consumer forces shaping our airports in the infographic The evolution of airports: trends in aviation construction and on NPR.

8.  Public-private partnerships are becoming increasingly important financing solutions for the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. While much attention has been focused on how P3s can help cities and states move forward on transportation projects, there’s growing interest in using P3s to improve such social infrastructure as courthouses and hospitals. Learn more in P3s aren’t just for transportation – here’s how they can help with public buildings too.

9.  As we work toward an Injury-Free Environment®, it’s essential to understand the potential hazards and the kinds of behaviors that can lead to harm. For Safety Week 2014, we crafted a visual reminder of what is at stake and what can be done to prevent accidents: It’s work, not war: How to prevent deadly harm in construction.

10.  From tunnel-boring machines to laser scanners, our teams get to build with some rather incredible equipment and technology. In downtown San Francisco, for example, we’re using two giant crawler cranes to assemble 24,000 tons of structural steel for the Transbay Transit Center, known as the Grand Central Station of the West. That steel weighs about the same as 111 Boeing 747-400s! Learn more in: Get to know the newest additions to the San Francisco skyline.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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WELL Building: The next step in green sports construction

The WELL Building Standard is a new protocol that focuses on human wellness within the built environment. Administered by the International Well Building Institute (IWBI), it identifies specific conditions that when holistically integrated into building architecture and design, enhance the health and well-being of the occupants.  This first of its kind, protocol was developed by Delos in partnership with scientists, architects and thought leaders, and prescribes a series of technology enhancements and performance-based measures that are systemized across seven categories relevant to occupant health in the built environment – Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind.

WELLBuildingpic

WELL Building has been designed to complement green building standards and sit on top of existing platforms. Currently in pilot, the IWBI has partnered with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), to ensure that WELL Certification compliments and works seamlessly with LEED Certification. For example, air quality and lighting intersect both green and wellness, about 10 to 20 percent of WELL and LEED standards overlap as a result of this natural connection.

While we believe the WELL Building Standard should be considered for every building, we see a unique opportunity for them to be integrated into sports and recreation facilities, inspiring an operator to think holistically about how their facility interacts not only with the natural environment, but also with the athletes, sports fans and staff who will call their building home. In sports terms: it’s a win-win.

For owners the WELL Building Standard offers a twofold opportunity to deliver a competitive venue for their athletes — a facility that is optimized for their performance while also offering event attendees a healthier environment and a connection to well-being and athleticism.

For example, the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas implemented the Stay Well program for hospitality, an overlay program informed by the same evidence-based research as the WELL Building Standard. The MGM Grand saw such a strong return on their initial investment in implementing Stay Well rooms on their fourteenth floor- including high occupancy rates and a 25 percent increase in profitability – that they have quadrupled the number of Stay Well rooms and plan to expand to additional spaces.

Sports play an important role in American culture. We celebrate athleticism as a testament to the power of the human body. Stadiums, arenas and recreation centers are important gathering points for our communities, places where we come together to celebrate physical achievement. As such, these venues represent more than just spaces for sport. The buildings themselves speak loudly about who we are and what we believe in.

NRG_Stadium_2

At NRG Stadium in Houston, mechanical and electrical systems are managed via smartphone, increasing energy efficiency.

As an industry, we’ve taken major strides implementing green building techniques in sports and entertainment construction. At first, the industry focused on greening the building enclosure, by reducing energy consumption and implementing resource management. Then, sustainability spread to mechanical, and electrical building systems that use Computer Maintenance Management  Systems to increase efficiency, improve occupant comfort, and can be managed remotely via smart phone technology similar to NRG Stadium in Houston. Another great example of this approach to green building can be seen at the LEED Gold certified Portland State University Academic & Student Recreation Center, where students help power the rec center’s electrical system, through a voltage converter attached to exercise machines  that delivers electricity back to the building.

PSU_ASRC_2

Portland State University Academic & Student Recreation Center earned LEED Gold certification through the use of natural lighting and ventilation in key areas as well as quality materials, proven systems, and other cutting edge environmental construction techniques.

Today, sports facilities are increasingly working to green the daily operations of their venues: from implementing more efficient waste management processes – like Gillette Stadium’s waste water treatment plant, to recycling and food service composting and using earth-friendly cleaning products. At MetLife Stadium, all waste kitchen oil is converted to biodiesel fuel; all kitchen scraps are composted, and all cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminum and paper is recycled. The push to green sports facilities has extended to event operations themselves – this year’s Super Bowl at MetLife was the greenest on record, diverting more waste, conserving more water and saving more energy than any previous event.

William S Moorhead Federal Building

MetLife Stadium, home to 2014’s Super Bowl, is one of the greenest sports venues in the U.S.

So, while we continue to push ourselves to find the best ways to build venues that reduce our impact on the earth and its resources, what can we do to make sure these buildings are contributing to the physical well-being of the people within them?

WELL Building is the future of green sports construction – an opportunity for building owners and operators to consider not only the environmental impacts of their facilities but the ways they impact athletes and fans alike.

To learn more about the WELL Building Standard and their impact on occupant health, visit the International Well Building Institute.

This post was written by Tom Tingle, Skanska USA senior vice president and national director, Sports Center of Excellence and Beth Heider, Skanska USA chief sustainability officer.

Tom Tingle

Tom Tingle

Skanska USA senior vice president and national director, Sports and Entertainment Center of Excellence

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Throwback Thursday: Building MetLife Stadium

It’s Throwback Thursday on Constructive Thinking. As we count down the final days until the Super Bowl, we  went back to find some of the videos and images from the construction of MetLife Stadium.

A time-lapse of the construction process:

How do you build a one of a kind stadium?

Here’s a look at how the construction unfolded from 2008-2010:

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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After MetLife Stadium opened its doors, its partnership with Skanska continued

Skanska’s relationship with MetLife Stadium goes back seven years, when our firm first began building the award-winning home of the New York Giants and the New York Jets. Skanska and MetLife Stadium formed a smart, successful and collaborative partnership that allowed us to meet all of the challenges facing the construction of the stadium, which was completed nearly five months ahead of schedule.

Tom and Allison at Metlife 3

Here’s a shot of my daughter and me while MetLife was still being built. We both worked on this project together – she as a cost control intern and myself as a VP -project executive. What a great experience!

The stadium opened in 2010, but once MetLife Stadium was awarded the 2014 Super Bowl, we could anticipate that come four years later, upgrades would need to be made in order to accommodate a sport that is constantly evolving in size, data and technological needs.  Even the newest and most technologically advanced facilities face upgrades and game-specific compliance issues. MetLife Stadium asked Skanska to stay on board to assist in overseeing some additional projects throughout the 2013 season.

Skanska has a long track record in stadium construction. Our company built Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots; Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans; and LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. But Skanska has an even longer history with the home of the Giants and Jets. In 1974, we performed the steel erection of the old Giants Stadium. Needless to say, we at Skanska are passionate about football!

Nearly three decades later, Skanska built the new MetLife Stadium to be a world-class, state-of-the-art facility. It is also the first facility built to accommodate two National Football League teams. Incorporating innovative methods both in the construction of the facility and in its design, our construction team worked in collaboration with both franchises to cater to two different football teams.

On the construction side, we utilized advanced technology such as building information modeling throughout the planning stages, radio frequency identification for material tracking, as well as prefabrication to ensure completion of the project in the most efficient manner possible. On the design side, generally we incorporate a little team spirit into architectural design through painted logos, but for a venue that hosts multiple teams, our design build team came up with a more innovative method using screens that highlight the colors of the host team playing on the field that day – blue for the Giants and green for the Jets – all by the flick of one switch. Overall, the owners invested more than $80 million in the audio-visual equipment alone, half of that in the large stadium video screens designed to motivate and inspire the hundreds of thousands of fans who enter the stadium each year.

MetLife Stadium received countless construction awards, including the Associated General Contractors of America’s 2011 Build America award and the Design-Build Institute of America’s (New York Tri-State Chapter) Legacy Project of the Year award. As a result of the efficiency and success during the stadium’s construction, it seemed natural for Skanska to stay on the project to help with additional improvements when the need arose.

After turning over the stadium to the MetLife Stadium team, our own Kevin Brightly was asked to stay on board MetLife Stadium’s team to ensure a smooth transition after the construction process. As assistant project manager for MetLife Stadium Facility Operations with a comprehensive knowledge of the facility, Brightly has remained on-site at MetLife Stadium working with their team on continuous capital improvements.

Brightly is part of a small internal team, reporting to the assistant director of engineering while working closely with the stadium’s project manager. His role is quite different from the role he played during the construction process, when he worked alongside dozens of Skanska employees to manage subcontractors and day-to-day construction activities. His experience has helped ensure a seamless transition from the construction phase to facility management phase for MetLife Stadium than it would have been if they had to hire a representative who wasn’t as familiar with the facility.

An arrangement like this benefits Skanska, as well. By working closely with the owner, Brightly, and by extension, Skanska, has gained unique insight into both sides of a vast array of stadium projects that will inform and instruct all of Skanska’s future sports projects.

The ongoing relationship between Skanska and MetLife Stadium is a prime example of the benefits that arise when a facility owner and its construction partner combine their knowledge and expertise of the stadium to increase the efficiency of upgrades. This project serves as a strong model for best practices in making stadium upgrades not just for the Super Bowl, but throughout the season.

Thomas Webb

Thomas Webb

Executive Vice President/General Manager

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How to Build a Stadium that Can Tackle the Big Game

Sports are an integral part of American life and culture. From the frenzy of March Madness to the history of the World Series, nothing brings the nation together like a championship game. And the biggest game of them all is football’s Super Bowl. On February 2nd, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will face off under the stars at MetLife Stadium, which we built in 2010 and opened five months ahead of schedule! MetLife Stadium is the third Skanska-built stadium to host the Super Bowl: the Georgia Dome hosted in 1994 and 2000 and Houston’s Reliant Park in 2004.

Nearly 85,000 fans will pack MetLife Stadium to witness the biggest spectacle in sports. They’ll cheer from 82,500 seats made of 80 percent recycled cast iron and 20 percent recycled plastic. They’ll watch 2,100 HD monitors and rock out to Bruno Mars with a 2,500-speaker sound system. After drinking their fill of beer, they’ll utilize low-flow toilets and waterless urinals. These are just a few of the behind-the-scenes facts about the way Skanska built MetLife Stadium. Here’s a visual illustration of everything you need to know about the stadium to impress your friends while you watch the game:

Skanska Super Bowl Met Life

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Talking with Skanska’s Super Bowl Ticket Winner: Hillary DiGiorgio

Super Bowl XLVII will mark several firsts. It’s the first Super Bowl to be played in an open-air, cold weather stadium and the first to have two states, New York and New Jersey, share hosting duties. Skanska had the honor of building MetLife Stadium, which was completed five months ahead of schedule in 2010. It’s a momentous event for Skanska and the trip of a lifetime, so we thought: why not send someone from the Skanska USA family to the Big Game?

Over the past week and a half, we held a twitter contest amongst Skanska’s employees to win a trip for two to the Super Bowl. More than 530 employees entered the competition by tweeting about Skanska’s role building the stadium, and on Wednesday, January 22nd Hillary DiGiorgio’s name was drawn. We talked with the senior CAD coordinator from Skanska’s office in Queens, N.Y.,  to find out more about her and the win!

Super Bowl Ticket Winner

Congratulations, Hillary, on your win! What did you do when you heard the news?

I couldn’t imagine why Mike Viggiano (Skanska USA executive vice president) was asking to speak to me.  Then I saw Don Fusco (Skanska USA senior vice president and general manager) sitting at the conference room table and I got a double whammy – I was really nervous.  Then I saw Vinny Evola (Skanska USA operations executive) walk in with the big Super Bowl “ticket” and I was completely blown away!  I entered the contest and laughed at the thought of being able to go to the Super Bowl, but I never imagined that I would actually win.  Thank you Skanska!

Have you ever won any other contests before?

I was incredibly excited! I’ve won an iPad at Skanska’s Family Safety Day here in New York, but other than that I have never won anything!

What’s your role at Skanska USA?

I am a senior CAD coordinator. This means that I am a draftsman, working in the engineering department doing drawings from the various civil projects that we work on. I transform sketches into full-CAD files. I recently worked on the 1st Street Tunnel project in Washington, D.C. I have also worked on projects including New York’s Second Avenue Subway line’s 86th Street Cavern, the No. 7 Line extension, and the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Pant.

What are you most looking forward to at Super Bowl XLVII?

I love football. I love all sports. I am a Jets Fan and I am sorry they aren’t there this year.  But I will be rooting for the Broncos.

Who do you plan on taking to the Big Game?

I’m going take one of my sons …I think we will draw straws! If they fight over this though, I’ll just take my husband.

(Update: “The decision was settled without blood being shed.  I’m taking my older son, Chris to the Super Bowl with me.”)

What’s your favorite feature of MetLife Stadium?

I have never been to MetLife Stadium. It’s going be so exciting to see the stadium we built, for the first time, during the Super Bowl. Plus, it’s the home of my favorite team, the Jets.

How do you plan on staying warm? Any tips for other fans?

I’ll be dressing in a lot of layers that day!

What’s your score prediction?

21-7 Broncos.

Here’s video of the big surprise!

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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