Model of Effective Team Cooperation and Coordination
By Bob Kruhm
Special to North Carolina Construction News
During the Carolina Panthers off season, Charlotte-based company Adams Electric performed the electrical and systems installation for the Bank of America Stadium project, the first of three phases totaling over $120 million in renovations. As the primary electrical contractor, Adams Electric worked diligently with Turner Construction to execute a fast-paced schedule, condensed to just six months due to the Panthers playoff game.
The Bank of America Stadium renovation included four escalator towers, 12 escalators, two new ribbon boards, an improved sound system and a pair of massive video boards. “These changes upgraded our facilities while maintaining the stadium’s classic look and improved the overall fan experience,” team president Danny Morrison said.
ABC of the Carolinas awarded Adams Electric the 2014 Specialty Contractor Project of the Year for the challenging Bank of America Stadium upgrade project. Team planning and constant coordination were essential to bring the project to the finish line.
Adams Electric executive vice-president Phillip Parrish said his team bid on this project with a clear understanding of how challenging and difficult it would be. According to Parrish, some of the most challenging components Adams had to overcome were existing site conditions, schedule and safety.
Parrish said the site logistics generated complications that had to be planned ahead. “The Bank of America Stadium is approximately a half mile around and vertically spans over 200 feet. Working in all areas and all levels created challenges – from staging materials to managing field staff.”
The two new scoreboards sit on top of the stadium above the level 500 seats. “There are a total of four, 225 KVA isolation transformers, that power each scoreboard. These 2,400 pound transformers had to be rigged 200 feet high in the air to reach each of the scoreboards,” Parrish said.
“The new video boards are 2.5 times as large as the previous scoreboards and have a higher resolution,” noted architect Michael Murray of Wagner Murray Architects. The Charlotte-based design firm also contributed to the old video boards’ installation in 2008. “A major design consideration was to see that the new video boards blend into the stadium’s current architecture and not appear overpowering,” said Murray.
Wagner Murray Architects also oversaw the design of four new escalator tower additions located in quadrants around the stadium. Majority owner Jerry Richardson wanted the escalators for fans who first bought season tickets in the 1990s and might find it hard to walk up the ramps to upper-bowl seats. These escalators extend from the ground level up to the top of the stadium. “Because they are 500 feet apart, we carefully planned our staging materials and work crews accordingly,” Parrish said.
Adams Electric’s scope of work required electrical installations above existing ceilings where the lack of space created difficult work conditions. The curvature of the stadium also created installation difficulties that warranted planning and careful execution to maintain a high level of quality aesthetics. “Some of the electrical runs were half of a mile long, and due to the many bends required throughout these runs, we provided crews with mobile work centers,” Parrish said. The work centers were on wheels for maneuverability and stocked daily with the proper material. All tools and equipment required for the work were also setup for mobility so the crews were efficient at all times.
One of Turner Construction’s concerns, discussed with Adams Electric from the very beginning, was the amount of work required to be executed in a very short time frame.
The Panthers 2014 season, practices and other major events were to begin within less than six months of the start date.
“In order to meet the final deadline the company provided a management and supervision staff with the appropriate experience, knowledge and passion to bring this high profile project in on time and under budget,” said Parrish. “Our staff excelled in all phases of this project. Every goal and every challenge was not only met but exceeded expectations.”
Adams Electric followed the general contractor’s project requirements by utilizing a new software resource. Turner Construction executive Jeff Owens said Turner’s Plan Grid software program is designed to manage all drawings, requests for information, submittals, addenda’s and many other project items. “Although the system had to be learned by our subs working on a tight schedule, it ultimately helped with the co-ordination of all documentation,” added Owens.
Safety was a main priority during the project for Adams Electric and Turner
Construction. Parrish said one safety issue that arose during construction was the underground electrical for the incoming main service. “The underground electrical was exposed by the foundation subcontractor at the new escalators,” he said. “Once discovered, we immediately stopped the subcontractor’s work to prevent a disastrous injury.”
Adams Electric experienced many installation difficulties. The most difficult installations on this project were hanging the electrical conduits along the framework around the stadium. The conduits were for power, communications and stadium speaker upgrades. The higher up conduits were installed by articulating boom lifts. Appropriate personal safety protection and equipment were used because of the difficult angles and necessary working heights.
Charlotte-based Haas & Kennedy Engineers, P.A., project manager Eric Svoboda observed: “The renovations required extensive tie-ins of normal and emergency power inside the existing stadium as well as the new tower structures. Adams Electric completed this work with virtually no disruption of the existing day-to-day facility operation.”
There were also challenges in fabricating the precast walls for all the escalator towers because of the heavy amount of electrical work in these walls. Another difficulty was that the walls were being fabricated at a remote location over 100 miles away. Building Information Modeling (BIM) was used to coordinate the locations and dimensions of all the electrical work required in the walls. This information was then used to provide quantities of material and pinpoint locations for the electrical installations.
“This electronic model allowed our company to precisely order all the material required,” Parrish said. “Once the material was ordered, we coordinated with the pre-cast installer the material shipments and included installation instructions with dimensions,” he said. “Each pre-cast panel was fabricated on time and without error.”
The Carolina Panthers partnered with South Dakota-based Daktronics to provide the two new video screens and two new ribbon boards. “By installing this new LED system,” Daktronics CEO Reece Kurtenbach said, “the new video displays and double 360-degree ribbon displays provided the team and fans with an elevated game-day experience.”
Daktronics project manager Tyler Jones said, “Logistics and schedule proved to be the main challenges. As an engineering company, we understand the complexities of construction management in terms of the schedule, logistics and cooperation needed on site. We coordinated nearly 30 tractor-trailer loads of LED display deliveries between early March and early May.”
The loading dock was a busy place with the Panthers normal stadium operation and other construction teams all needing access. “After the first couple deliveries,” Jones said, “we developed a solid system and process that made things easier for everyone involved with few surprises encountered.”
Charlotte-based SteelFab built the steel framework and trusses for the two massive scoreboards. Project manager Dimitri Mavropoulos said it was one of the most challenging projects he has worked on in his 18 years experience. “Besides contending with a record winter of snow and ice, we had to deal with the wind,” he said. “Our staff worked six days a week and sometimes seven to meet the fast track schedule.” SteelFab pre-built six truss sections for the top of each scoreboard in their Charlotte yard in order to speed up the installation. The steel company used BIM modeling software compatible with the Turner software systems to expedite the work.
Many innovative ideas were utilized during the construction enhancement of the Bank of America Stadium. “Coordination with the owner, design team, general contractor and other trades during the renovations was significant to the completion of the first phase on time and on budget. Adams Electric is proud to be a part of a project that brought buzz and excitement to the Carolinas,” Parrish said.