Work advances on the World Cup opening game stadium

Having surmounted a period of controversy, the construction of the future home stadium to the Corinthians team, in the city of São Paulo, advances to host the opening game of the FIFA 2014 World Cup

When the soccer ball starts rolling for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, within another 28 months, the entire planet will turn its attention to a sports arena that, for now, is nothing but a construction job site where work is being carried out at a frantic pace. Known as the ‘Itaquerão’, this stadium-in-the-making which was chosen to host the opening of one of the world’s main sports events - in the city of São Paulo, Brazil - surmounted a phase of controversy (see sidebar on page 26) and began to take shape with the progress of work in the execution of the foundation and superstructure.

Located next to the Itaquera station of São Paulo’s Metro, on the easternmost end of São Paulo state’s capital city, the stadium will occupy 198 thousand square meters (about 49 acres) of land. The architectural project, developed by the office of CDC (Coutinho, Diegues and Cordeiro) Architects provides for an arena consisting of four buildings, on each side of the soccer field, totaling 189,000 m2 of constructed area and housing cocktail lounges/pubs, restaurants, shops, restrooms, a covered parking area, auditorium, and other facilities.

Since the two largest buildings in the arena (referred to as the East and West buildings) are the buildings that will house practically all these supporting facilities beneath the spectator stands, they account for the bulk of construction structures such as foundations, pillars and slabs. That’s why priority has been given to their construction in the schedule of work. “Altogether, the project involves a large number of deep foundations, totaling some 3,100 piles among bored piles, driven piles and root/raked piles”, explains Felipe Ferreira, production engineer at Odebrecht - the construction company hired to execute the job.

Fast pace
During M&T’s visit to the venture, in mid December, the construction site had over 2,100 piles executed and in place to an average depth of 13 meters, totaling some 20% of actual physical progress. However, one month later the construction company had already logged the execution of 90% of the foundations (over 2,700 piles) and a physical progress of around 25% of the entire project. During this period, the number of workers at the job site also rose from 700 to 1,000 and is expected to reach a total of 2,000 employees at the peak of work on the arena later this very year.

As of January, for example, the project introduced a second work shift, running from 3:00 PM to 11:20 PM, which complements the team that already works from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM. “At the peak of work, we will have three shifts we can rely on”, adds Ferreira. In all, the project includes 900 thousand cubic meters (31.8 million cu. ft.) of earth moving; a stage that has practically been concluded.

With the conclusion of the foundations, the contractor will start work on the assembly of the superstructures which will consist of precast concrete components in 90% of the cases. To do so, the contractor began production of these precast parts in advance, storing them at the job site. Supplying of half of these prefabricated concrete parts, however, will be assigned to third-party manufacturers since the job site would not be able to accommodate the structure required to meet the established production volumes and deadlines. Altogether, the project involves the consumption of 11,682 concrete slabs; 3,274 beams; 1,937 stairsteps; and 594 pillars; in addition to other precast parts.

Fleet mobilized
Despite the visibility of the venture, considering this is an arena that will host the opening of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the job does not require an amount of resources as great and outstanding as projects of infrastructure construction. The fleet of equipment deployed at the job site, for instance, totals around 75 units including pile drivers, hydraulic excavators, bucket loaders, compactor rollers, air compressors and support vehicles. “Altogether, we have at our disposal 100 trucks for transportation of materials and, when assembly activities advance, we will operate with five tower cranes and ten truck-mounted cranes”, states Ferreira.

He points out that since most of the construction company’s fleet of equipment is already mobilized in the execution of large infrastructure projects, such as hydropower plants, roadways, etc., a decision was made to rent most of the fleet that is in use at the job. “Of the equipment utilized, our own equipment consists of just five tower cranes, one concrete pump and two truck cranes. All the rest is supplied by third parties.”, says Ferreira. He stresses that since the job site is located in the city of São Paulo, it is possible to resort to rental in view of the offer of equipment at competitive rates and with quality in customer assistance.

Included in the list of outsourced rental equipment are earthmoving/grading machines supplied by Engeterra as well as drilling equipment and pile drivers provided by Roca Fundações - the company hired to execute the bases of the job. Due to supply logistics, a substantial part of the concrete cast in-situ is also supplied by concrete companies, while external supplying of precast parts will be handled by the CPI company.

Finishing and sustainability
Another distinguishing aspect associated with this project is its focus on sustainability. “The project considers several requirements in this area such as energetic and thermal efficiency, as well as reutilization of rainwater for the washing of restrooms and even irrigation of the field”, explains Ferreira. According to him, the job was planned to comply with the requirements of the ISO 14.001 standard; a certification to which the job will soon be submitted.

The engineer points out that the finishing will also be a high point of the arena, involving the use of ‘noble’ (premium) materials. In this area, the outstanding feature is the façade of the West building which provides access to the arena. The building will be entirely finished in a skin of glass, covering a total area of 6,150 m2 (66,000 sq. ft.), whose frames will rest on the enclosing structure via the use of metallic inserts. Furthermore, the stadium will have a metallic roof resting on space frames (space structures).

The high level of finishing can also be seen in the quality of the seats for spectators which must comply with the standards established by FIFA for international sports events. Regarding this point, one should especially note that the arena project provides for 48 thousand seats, of which 800 will be covered seating. Since the organization that regulates international soccer - FIFA - establishes a minimum of 65 thousand seats for stadiums that will host the opening of a World Cup, the arena will have 20 thousand temporary seats which will be removed after the event is over.

Supply Logistics
Although the construction of the Corinthians home stadium is in a densely populated region - surrounded by homes, train and Metro lines, and avenues where traffic is intense - the project does not suffer from major problems of logistics. According to Felipe Ferreira, production engineer at Odebrecht, the routes of access to the job site are not complicated and facilitate the flow of supplies to the project.

To avoid impacts to traffic on Avenida Radial Leste - one of the main corridors of traffic in São Paulo, the arrival and departure of materials to and from the job site is handled by way of routes that lie to the south of the construction plot. That makes the Rodovia dos Trabalhadores - a major thruway - the main route of access to the job. Such planning is fundamental in view of the volume of materials produced as a result of earthmoving and grading and the number of trucks transporting cement and precast components that must make their way to the work site throughout the entire execution of the project.