The home of English rugby, Twickenham Stadium, is undergoing a huge renovation project ahead of the Rugby Union World Cup in 2015.
The stadium seats 82,000 spectators and is the largest dedicated rugby union venue in the world. The stadium will host ten games during the Rugby World Cup including the opening game, two semi-finals and the final.
The £75 million development has been commissioned by the Rugby Football Union in a bid to enhance the stadium, not only for the Rugby World Cup but for the next 25 years. Twickenham’s Stadium Director, Richard Knight, told Premier Construction the renovation is focused on upgrading the stadium to sustain for another 25 years, as well as being part of the preparatory process for the World Cup.
The project is improving the stadium in a number of ways, including installing new technologies that will vastly improve the fan experience, as well as improving general operational efficiencies. The project began in June 2012 with a projected completion date of early 2015. The works are progressing on a phased basis as they have to be scheduled around Twickenham’s hectic events itinerary.
In the summer of 2012 a new LED strip was installed in the mid-tier of the stadium to feature fan messages supporting the England team, and the mechanical and electrical infrastructure project began at the same time. Other tasks included installing an IT backbone in the stadium, installing a new pitch with under-soil heating, improving the public bars and toilet infrastructure and improving the hospitality boxes. Richard said that all ongoing work focuses mainly on improving the fan experience, player requirements and operational facilities.
During summer 2013 there has been a complete transformation of the changing rooms which has including a significant upgrade to the player medical and recovery facilities. In the summer of 2014 further work will continue including the replacement of the existing video screens and an upgrade of the floodlights. The main VIP areas will undergo a refurbishment and Hi definition Wi-fi will be introduced inside the stadium allowing the RFU to have greater engagement with fans and to provide them with unique content and opportunities whilst they are in the stadium
Currently the main contractors are Shepherd Engineering Services, which are undertaking the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering infrastructure works and the refurbishment of the changing rooms within the stadium. KSS Architects are the project architects whilst Gardiner & Theobald have provided cost management for the development. Richard said that given the varied nature of the individual projects additional contractors and consultants would become involved as works progressed.
The feedback from the England players so far has been exceptional following their first use of the changing rooms after their successful game against Australia. The feedback from fans generally has also been good, with a lot of support for the look and feel of the stadium and the enhanced atmosphere that the new facilities support
“The key objective of the project is to enhance the event day experience for fans. London is a competitive market place for stadia and entertainment and so our aim is to ensure that Twickenham continues to give supporters what they want both on and off the field. As a result, we are all seeking to achieve the best experience for fans so they continue to support us.
“In terms of delivery we have to date delivered each phase of the project on time and below budget. We have still got another significant 12 months ahead of us to finish off the project but everything is currently on plan”