“It’s not a big secret to pour concrete and construct
simple steel frames, so usually we are able to adapt
these skills from the local market. However, special
trades and services such as high quality technical
elements, LED screens and big roof structures have
to be imported,” he says.
But with some countries at the mercy of imported
labor and materials, relying on them can create some
unique political obstacles.
In May 2017, Saudi Arabia shut its borders with
Qatar, and together with three other countries imposed
a land, sea and air embargo on the state.
“During the blockade it was a challenge to get
certain materials into the country in order to deliver
a stadium, but luckily Qatar has the resources to deal
with it,” says Mehta.
A changing political climate plays a key role in
the realization of big stadia infrastructure projects,
especially if it coincides with the cyclical tide of
“If a governor is replaced during elections and the
new political leader doesn’t agree with legacy
The Japoma Sports Complex
in Douala, Cameroon, used
imported labor and materials
abundant. In such cases, construction teams are often
assembled remotely by global consortiums and then
deployed where they are needed.
“Countries such as Saudi Arabia have industries
that support building stadia, but Qatar doesn’t have
resources in-house so relies predominantly on
imported labor and goods,” explains Mehta.
As a result, it is estimated that more than 1.2 million
non-skilled migrant workers have been flown in to
work on stadium projects in the region.
But importing a workforce can dramatically
improve the build time with the right level of planning
and logistics says Adrian Armstrong, a structural
engineer at AECOM.
“We were able to complete the 50,000-seat multisport
Japoma Sports Complex in Douala, Cameroon
in two years, with a bulk of the labor and materials
imported from the main contractor Yenigün’s home
country of Turkey,” he says.
By contrast, some projects in Africa can be reliably
resourced using local non-skilled labor explains
Vision4Venue’s Florian Hupfer.
“We were able to complete the 50,000-seat Japoma
Sports Complex in Douala, Cameroon in two years,
with a bulk of the labor and materials imported from
the main contractor Yenigün’s home country of Turkey”
Mohit Mehta, principal and building performance director, ME Engineers
www.stadia-magazine.com June 2019 27