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Iraq's field of dreams: Basra Sports City Stadium

The hopes of Iraqi football fans rest in hands of engineers from RMD Kwikform, as they race to complete the new 65,000 capacity Basra Sports City Stadium in time for the 2013 Gulf Cup. NCE reports.

Concrete plan

With concrete works already well under way and expected to last until late 2011, the landmark Basra Sports City stadium, is set to release the passion of a nation when it hosts the 21st Gulf Cup football competition (Khaleeji 21) in March 2013.

Groundworks for the impressive $500M (£350M) new complex − which includes a second 10,000 seat stadium − began in September 2009. It is being built for Iraq’s Ministry for Sports and Youth, with Irish-based Malachy Walsh and Partners acting as structural checking engineers.

Main contractor Abdullah Al Jiburi General Contracting Company brought in RMD Kwikform and its Kwikstage and Rapidshor shoring to support the main concrete construction of the stadium in January 2010.

Tonnes of equipment

With thousands of beams, hundreds of columns and numerous slabs for the eight level, 65,000 seat football stadium required, over 3,000t of equipment were shipped to site.

In addition to Kwikstage and Rapidshor shoring, RMD is also supplying column, wall and beam formwork, including steel Superslim soldiers and GTX timber beams.

With a tight construction programme of just 32 months, getting the formwork and falsework solution design, support and project sequencing right, has been key to Al Jiburi.

“Being such a high profile and socially important project for Basra and the country as a whole, we needed to make sure we had the right equipment, designs and support to ensure its smooth construction”

Abdul Hussain, Al Jiburi

“Being such a high profile and socially important project for Basra and the country as a whole, we needed to make sure that before we reached the formwork and falsework stage, we had the right equipment, designs and support to ensure its smooth construction,” explains Al Jiburi project manager Abdul Hussain.

“Because we have worked with RMD Kwikform on a number of projects, we know it has the resources that are set up to support our team on the ground and can therefore react quickly to any changes in sequencing or design.

“Due to the large scale of the project, we required a sizeable fleet of equipment.

“Logistically identifying the correct amount of equipment, getting it to site quickly and setting up a storage facility was therefore quite a complex challenge”

Abdul Hussain, Al Jiburi

“Logistically identifying the correct amount of equipment, getting it to site quickly and setting up a storage facility was therefore quite a complex challenge,” says Hussain. “Here again we have benefitted from input on the project from RMD Kwikform, which shares best practice techniques on equipment management that help to save time and money.”

Right people on the ground

For RMD the key was getting the right people on the ground.

“With any job of this scale you will face numerous challenges. For this particular project the most important element was how we were able to support the customer on the ground,” explains RMD regional export sales manager Alexis Potter.

“When we first tendered for the project we recognised that this was critical to its delivery. We therefore took time to find the right person to support the customer at site level.

“The individual we recruited had over 15 years of experience in formwork and shoring, with a proven track record of working on large-scale projects in the Middle East region. In showing this commitment to the customer, we have been able to develop a good working relationship with the site team from the very start of the project,” he says.

Managing flow

Managing equipment flow and availability was critical.

“On a project of this type, when you are transitioning from dock, to site, to erection, to dismantling, storage and handling, the logistics can be incredibly complex,” says Potter. “That is not to mention dealing with loss and damage to items that typically occurs on any construction site.”

For RMD Kwikform’s engineers, overcoming the challenges of the structure’s construction were key to timely delivery.

One of the more challenging elements of the project involved supporting large beams at levels 7 and 8 off the much lighter main concourse level which comprises cast insitu beams and hollow core precast
concrete planks.

“For this particular part of the structure, the engineering team had to create solutions that could support numerous operations,” explains Potter.

“These included casting a 1.4m deep beam at level 7, including a beam cantilever just over 9m in length. A sloping raker beam from the edge of the cantilever was also required up to level 8 to act as a tie to secure the overall frame.”

Complex falsework

The falsework system, therefore, had to be designed for cumulative loading from levels 7 and 8 off the lighter structure below. In order to achieve this, Rapidshor falsework with a maximum capacity of 80kN per leg was used in conjunction with Superslim soldier spreader beams as the primary support system up to the underside of level 7.

“On completion of level 7, with the primary support system remaining undisturbed, the raker beams up to level 8 were supported off a framework of Kwikstage Propping and Superslim Soldiers,” says Potter. This is an integral feature in resisting sliding forces induced by the sloping soffit.

2012 opening

Beam side forms, soffits and columns at these levels were formed using steel Superslim Soldiers, GTX timber beams and recoverable Rapid Bar Ties.

“At all times throughout this crucial stage, the input of our site operative was critical as he ensured all phases were erected safely and in accordance with our designs,” adds Potter.

With the formwork and shoring phase of the project on schedule for completion in late 2011, the overall complex is due to be opened to the public in late 2012.

A second £215M phase will create venues found on a fully-fledged Olympic Park, including an aquatics centre, Velodrome and two hotels.

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