At Mortenson, we take planning to the next level to ensure predictable outcomes, cost certainty, efficiency, and performance. In many cases, you only get one shot at doing it right. So guess work isn’t an option in our “tool box” when it comes to planning the work on such a high profile, complex, multipurpose stadium such as the U.S. Bank Stadium—home of the Minnesota Vikings. Virtual reality has been and continues to be a key ingredient in our success of planning and building high profile, fast-track, and complex projects ahead of schedule and under budget.
More than one year before the ground was broken on the mammoth and iconic U.S. Bank Stadium, Mortenson virtually constructed the project three different ways to optimize the phasing and sequencing of the work. With more than 12 cranes inside the bowl at any one given time and more than 1,500 craft-workers on site during the peak of the project, planning the flow and sequence of our work could not have been done without the use and implementation of our 3D modeling and 4D scheduling technology. Once we had all the logistical issues virtually coordinated for the actual “build” of the new stadium, we closely followed that plan to ensure optimal trade flow, equipment utilization, and design decision making. This detailed level of planning not only brought value to Mortenson and its trade partners while building such a large, complex project, but also yielded additional revenue for our customer on the front and back end of the construction phase by allowing for the scheduling of additional revenue generating events.
Mortenson’s use of 3D modeling and 4D scheduling was instrumental in the precision in which the work has been executed on U.S. Bank Stadium from the time we poured the first foundation on the project. Mortenson Concrete was responsible for the placing and finishing of more than 100,000 CYs of structural cast-in-place concrete on the project over the course of a hasty 16-month period. Our ability to self-perform the structural cast-in-place concrete on the project really allowed us to set the tone for the rest of the project and have complete control of the schedule. With more than 10,000 concrete deliveries, 10,000 embeds placed, 1,200 column pours, 160 raker beam pours, 120 pan/joist deck pours, and 55 slab-on-grade pours, planning the work and working the plan was key in order to be successful. Our integrated work plans (IWPs) and concrete lift drawings were a big aid in planning the work right the first time with zero defects. Mortenson’s IWPs and concrete lift drawings give the craft-workers in the field a simple and intuitive set of instructions to build the work safely and correctly. Our IWPs and concrete lift drawings are a set of instructions that pulls information from hundreds of other contract documents on to just one or two sheets. It allows our craft-workers to focus on putting work into place and not having to chase down information from multiple sources. These same lean construction practices, leading edge technology uses and intense planning methods were not only used for our structural cast-in-place concrete operations. They were also used extensively on, but not only limited to, the long span steel roof package, non-long span steel enclosure package, metal panel and curtain wall systems, the largest pivoting/operable doors in the world, and mechanical-electrical-plumbing systems, etc.
In today’s sports market, customers and architects are expecting more of the construction manager, and time frames to build large-scale sports projects are becoming shorter. So to compete in this market, you have to figure out a way to stay competitive and stay up to date on the leading-edge technology in the industry that can help differentiate you from your competition. The technology and planning on U.S. Bank Stadium has not only allowed us to build smarter and more efficiently, it has also allowed us to build more economically. These planning tools and techniques have greatly aided our schedule, budget, and quality and safety performance on the project. Because of this thorough, upfront planning and continual use of our technology during the course of construction, we are scheduled to deliver U.S. Bank Stadium six weeks ahead of schedule. This has allowed our customer to book events earlier than planned, resulting in additional revenue generation. In addition to delivering the project six weeks ahead of schedule, our meticulous planning and use of technology on U.S. Bank Stadium has allowed us to progressively “punch out” the stadium and be 100 percent done-done when we hand the metaphorical keys to our customer. It’s not very often that a contractor can turn over a building that is 1.8 million square feet and not have a single punch list item outstanding. It’s this approach that leaves a lasting impression for our customers.
Predictability of Cost
With more than 30 years in the sports industry and having built more than 170 sports and entertainment projects valued at $8.6 billion, Mortenson has the in-house expertise, knowledge, and data to quickly validate budgets and produce estimates for our customers. Mortenson was asked to estimate the new home for the Minnesota Vikings more than six years ago, and our team is delivering the stadium today for that same cost. We are an organization that implements lean construction techniques into our work plans every day, along with virtual reality and integrated work plans that make us one of the most technologically advanced construction organizations in the country. Our lean construction techniques, coupled with our leading edge technology, allow us to maximize value for our customers and deliver cost certainty.
Innovative Features, Proven Process
Mortenson launched into a new dimension of construction, 4D animations that is, on the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2002, and we have continued to make a name for ourselves by continuing to approach new and novel ideas with a rigor and proven process that enables us to deliver certainty of outcome and performance. Fast forward almost 14 years and we find ourselves setting the bar once again with another iconic facility, born of the elements here in Minneapolis. In today’s sport’s market, there’s a bar that is being set by the latest stadium or arena being opened, leaving owners and clubs all having to one up the bar that was previously set. Whether it be technology advancements, seating environments and amenities, revenue generators, fan experience, etc., these trends are becoming the norm and stadiums, arenas, and ballparks are becoming more of an entertainment destination. Design features and systems are being built into just about everything you can see, touch, smell, taste, or hear. Today’s more sophisticated fan wants to be entertained with non-game elements. The game itself has become only part of the entire experience.
As it relates to innovative features that cater to the fan experience on U.S. Bank Stadium, the large pivoting, operable doors, is the first feature that comes to mind. These large glass doors make up most of the entire west wall of glass on the stadium and are the first of their kind to ever be designed and built and are also the world’s largest pivoting, operable doors. The largest of the five doors stands a soaring 95-feet and spans 55-feet wide, while the shortest door is still a massive 75-feet and 55-feet wide. These doors are the front entry to the new stadium, providing an amazing view of the downtown skyline and open up to the three-acre outdoor plaza. When the weather outside doesn’t permit these doors to be opened, there are personnel doors at the bottom of the large pivoting, glass doors that will still allow ingress and egress. It took months of daily coordination with the various design partners and trade partner contracted to build these doors to come up with a design that would work. From developing 4D animations of how the doors will look and how they should operate to specifying the exact type of door seals to use, the design was born and ready for implementation. It took nearly 10 months from the time the first steel members started being erected for the door frames to the final testing of the door mechanization and startup. These doors have set a new standard for football stadium operability features and are truly an innovative and iconic feature.
Another cutting edge and innovative feature of the new U.S. Bank Stadium is the six-acre translucent roofing material on the south side of the roof. ETFE, also known as ethylene tetrafluoro ethylene, has recently made a name for itself—“Clear is the new retractable.” For the Minnesota Vikings, an open-air stadium wasn’t a viable option and a retractable roof didn’t make economic sense. With a transparent roofing material making up almost 50 percent of the roofing material used on the stadium, fans and spectators will be able to enjoy the feel of an outdoor stadium, but within a climate controlled environment. U.S. Bank Stadium is the largest ETFE roof in the U.S. and the largest ETFE application on any sporting venue in the country. FM