n recent decades, developing nations have been
turning their attention to building new sports
stadia, hoping to use the grandeur of hosting
global sporting events as a platform to showcase
the very best that their countries have to offer.
Delivering this feat is no easy task with engineers
having to contend with difficult climates, tight
deadlines, demanding physical environments, and
delicate political situations.
One of the primary challenges of building a stadium
project in a developing country is to assess what
infrastructure is currently available and install what
is required, explains Jeff Sawarynski, senior principal
and managing director at ME Engineers.
“Remote areas often have little or no code
infrastructure such as power, water and sewerage. We
do a lot of internal flow models and calculations to
understand what stadium services are needed and
then we focus on installing reliable utilities that can
cope with those demands,” he says.
Some stadium sites also require new engineering
design strategies to mitigate harsh weather conditions
“The Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad and
Tobago was a real test because we had to create new
run-off systems for storm water during hurricane
season and build safe facilities for on-site power,
battery storage and overlay generators,” he reveals.
In developed countries, most of these systems are
a result of stringent regulations that have been
established over time. However, newer sporting nations
often lack the technical expertise and the stability
of government agencies to oversee the building work.
“European authorities have a lot of experience with
sports stadia and expect a certain standard of build
quality and duty of care,” explains Florian Hupfer,
managing partner at Vision4Venue, a Germany-based
architectural company. “One of the advantages of our
knowledge is that we can help clients in developing
countries to understand the real demands and deliver
Some nations, such as Qatar, which is due
to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has
actively sought to adapt European
standards in an effort to improve its
building practices in the desert, explains
Mohit Mehta, principal and building
performance director at ME Engineers.
“Many of the regulations need to be
customized for the local climate but it
allows for better checks and balances and
often it can provide more freedom with
design and energy expenditure,” he says.
The advantage of minimal bureaucratic red tape
is that approval is easier to obtain, and it creates
opportunities to design structures that you couldn’t in
countries such as the US or UK, believes Sawarynski.
“If a project gets the green light in a remote country
then it’s probably because the authorities support it,
which means you don’t have the same degree of
roadblocks to get construction done,” he says.
Large stadium projects need an extensive reliable
workforce, which is not always ready to hand
in areas of the world where skilled labor is less
Qatar is building seven new
stadia from scratch for the 2022
FIFA World Cup in the some of
the most challenging locations
24 www.stadia-magazine.com June 2019