Chief Stadium Development Officer Colin Chong has ‘warned’ fans to expect the pace of the external appearance of the stadium to slow as efforts turn to internal works.
Colin Chong: “I think we should just warn spectators that in 2023 it will look like things are slowing down from an external perspective.
“A big milestone that people will want to see is the east stand steelwork that will fill in the gap between the north and south steelwork.
“However, it will slow down externally, although internally it’s going to be a hive of activity.
“In real terms, the fit-out is starting in January, when we will start putting all the wires and piping in.
“People won’t notice it as much, as it’s internal, but it’s equally as important to the stadium development as the roof going up.”
As with the external concrete and steel components, much of the internal walls are pre-manufactured in factory conditions and transported to site in just-in-time slots for installation.
All mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems in the stadium will be manufactured off-site in the Oldbury (West Midlands) factory of Laing O’Rourke’s specialist MEP business, Crown House Manufacturing.
The six-foot high modules and an innovative product called Techwall, will be delivered to site, lifted into place, connected and commissioned, in an approach that helps save time and energy.
“There are life-safe systems, resilience to be planned, and all the toilets on the concourses will be coming in in modules, pre-manufactured,” explained Chong, in a special Club podcast on the stadium build.
“The pipework will arrive pre-manufactured, tested in the factory, and be offered up and connected, so there are less connections throughout the whole building. There’s less welding, so less risk of fire and it’s the modern way of building things.
“Again, we’ll be working on all four concourses simultaneously, along with the hospitality lounges starting, probably in March.
“The skeleton of the dressing rooms is already in place (in the west stand). We’ve got the pit for the hydrotherapy pools and all the apertures for all the incoming services.
“There are hundreds of miles of beer pythons that have to go in at some point and they’ll all start to go in next year.
“We ramp up with people and we’ll end up with 1,000 people there next year and probably up to around 1,400 on site the year after.
“There’s a whole host of things going to happen next year, but not a lot of people are going to notice it because it’s going to be hidden.”