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Project Management Challenges In Construction Of Emirates Stadium Construction Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Construction
Wordcount: 4519 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The PMI defines project management as ‘the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources through the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve pre-determined goals of scope, cost, time, quality and participant satisfaction’ (Smith 2002)

“Through the project management process, business needs and requirements are transformed into deliverables or outputs the project will provide to meet; this transformation process is made up application of constraints such as time, cost, quality, motivation and application of project management tools and technique.”(APM 2002)

According to Dinsmore, and Cabanis-Brewin (2006), project management processes are grouped into the following areas: they are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing. A good project manager must be skilled in applying this knowledge and be able to integrate these activities as the project moves through its life cycle.

The aim of this report is to critically evaluate the project management challenges and the management approaches in the construction of Emirate Stadium described in the groups’ presentation. Some of the challenges identified in group discussions includes; time constraints, planning approval, design and site constraints, procurement path, organizational/stakeholders management..This report compares some of the identified challenges with the established best practice in project management.

The second part of the report is develop guideline for the 2012 Olympic Stadium which will include an overview of the difference between managing a single, simple project and a project that is part of a large complex programme of work, also to outline the project management challenges of the 2012 Olympic Stadium.

2.0 The Emirates Stadium

2.1 Background of the Emirate Stadium complex

The need to generate additional revenue from the football event and also to provide a state- of the- art facilities for the fans is identified as the requirement for a new football stadium to replace the existing one .by Arsenal Football Club

The Emirate Stadium is located in Holloway in London Borough of Islington town.

The stadium is located in a high density residential area therefore restricting feasibility of increase capacity. Over 2000 new homes were built in Islington as part of the project.

Two of the key points in the club brief to design team were for the pitch to be as good as Highbury, and to create an exhilarating stadium atmosphere through the design.

Over 2,500 legal documents were signed in order to give the project full clearance.

The overall project put at about 390million pounds. . It was opened in July 2006, with seated capacity of 60,432 making it the fifth largest football stadium in the UK

(Source www.arsenal .com/emirates stadium.)

Fig 2.1 emirates stadium under construction

Source www.arsenal .com/emirates stadium.)

Main Project management challenges identified by different groups

Based on the group presentations some of the main project management challenges identified include:

Time constraints,

Planning and consent approval,

Design and site constraints,

Procurement path,

Organizational/stakeholders management

Document control

Some of the management approaches considered by the group include;

Involving contractor in early stage of the process

Design and Build contract

Site investigation

Collaborating planning and possible overlap during construction to meet deadline

Several procurement path

Involvement of the stakeholders

Redesigning to suit the shape of the site

Understanding of the scope of the project.

Evaluation of project management challenges and approach in the group work

2.4.1. Involving contractor in early stage of the process.

This can help in integrating the contractors idea and expertise in the planning and design process, although, Austin, Baldwin and Wasket (2000) identified that it might result in uneven design workload while they wait for consultant and other contractors to develop their own design, this result in the client paying for retainer while the project is yet to start, thereby increasing the cost of the project. Therefore it might be beneficial to delay the introduction of contractor early

2.4.2 Time constraints

It can be seen that in the case of Emirate stadium, delivering the project on time is very crucial; to enable the club to meet up with football season, Harrison and Lock (2004) stated that delivery a project on time is an extremely important objective to client as well as avoiding the risk of being skimped in respect of quality and reliability of being close to the budget but most time all the objective of the project cannot be met.

2.4.3 Planning and consent approval.

Two sets of people are involved in planning; they the client and the contractor .Obtaining the consent approval and satisfying planning requirement as well as defining the project goals, ensure availability of funds and selecting the design is the primary responsibility of the owner, this is one aspect that group presentations did not consider. On the side of the contractor, proper planning and scheduling contributed to their delivering the project on time.

2.4.4 Contract /procurement strategy

The contract strategy used in the construction of Emirate Stadium is identified as Design and Build. The type of contract is assumed to be the best when time constraint is considered, Rowlison and McDermontt (1999) reported that Design and Build approach involving overlapping of design and construction phases leads to economics and fast project, though the client has to limit the variation to minimum , finds evaluation difficult and also have to make early decisions.

However, Aritua, Bower and Turner (2006) reported that Design and Build procurement options has been criticized for being cost rather than design quality driven.

Chan and Yu-Ann 2005 identified design liability as the most important practical problem encounters in design and build system.

2.5 Best practice in project management

The best practices in project management are those practices that are generally agreed that their application in the project has shown to enhance the chances of success over a wide range of projects. (PMBOK, 2004)

Atkinson (1999) queried, if successful project management means doing something right, that result in a project which was implemented on time, within cost and to a quality parameters requested, but which is not used by the customers, not liked by the sponsors and does not seem to provide either improved effectiveness or efficiency for the organization

Kerzner (2006) affirmed that best practices in project management are those actions or activities undertaken by the company or individual that led to a sustained competitive advantage, it can be learned from both failure and success. Defining project objective at the outset and establishing relative importance of these objectives is crucial (Smith 2002). The Primary objectives of the project are usually measured in terms of time cost and quality, whilst it may be possible to meet one or two of the objectives, meeting all three of them is almost impossible. (Smith, 2002).

However, the general knowledge, skills and processes described in general agreement documents of project management should not always be apply uniformly to all projects, the project manager and the team is responsible for determining the appropriate process and tailored it down to suit the specific project, because every project is unique on its own. (PMBOK, 2004)

3.0 The 2012 Olympic Stadium complex

Fig .3.0 Olympic Stadium complex under construction

3.1 The background of the 2010 London Olympic Stadium.

The 2010 London Olympic Stadium is located at the south of Olympic park Stratford, East London. The EDAW consortium working with Arup and Atkins was appointed by Olympic delivery Authority (ODA) to develop the master plan and the design of the Olympic Park, while the design of the Olympic venue or the Athletes Village was tendered separately.

In 2007, The Olympic Delivery Authority Signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the consortium known as Team Stadium to design and build the Olympic Stadium. The consortium is made up the designer, Hoks sport. Main contractor Sir Robert McAlphine, structural engineer Burro Happold, service engineer and landscape designer. The project was estimated at 498miliion pound.

The stadium consists of a lower tier of 25000 permanent. Seats set into the landscape with an upper tier of 55000 temporary seats. The sunken bowl built into the ground will contain the field of play and lower permanent seating. However, facilities for athletes within the Stadium include changing rooms, medical support facilities and an 80m warm-up track. Spectator services, refreshments and merchandise outlets will be located outside the venue on a ‘podium’ that will surround the Stadium, rather than being located within the Stadium itself.

Constructions began three months ahead of schedule and it is expected to be completed by 2011.

In addition, construction works in other parts of the Olympic village is still on-going, while some are close to completion, others are yet to start. This is based on the planned milestone schedule set out by the Olympic Delivery Authority., According to the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, some completion date has been moved further, this is to avoid the venue been completed and standing idle in the years before Olympic, as this call for additional cost of maintenance.

(Culled from official site of 2012 Olympic).

3.2. The outline of the Olympic Stadium

“People will be able to see with their own eyes a stadium which is designed to be different: an innovative and sustainable design which uses temporary elements to meet a complex brief, a stadium built for both Games and legacy”.(Olympic Delivery Authority Chairman John Armitt).

The design of London 2012 Olympic Stadium is much more than dazzling or ‘out of this world’ Architectural structure that is norm of modern day Olympic stadium. “The emphasis in the design has been on minimizing the quantity of material, whilst still producing the required performance, ensuring the sustainability of the stadium after the games give rise for incorporation of some temporary structures.

However, design and construction of such large and complex project need effective and efficient management to deliver the agreed scope of the project. The management approach in multi-projects is generally different from single project. Flexibility management process with explicitly define rules and procedure can be a source of success with large complex project. (Dietrich and Lehtonen 2005).

Baccarni (1996) defined project complexity as project that consists of varied interrelated parts and be operationalised in terms of differentiation and interdependency .On the hand Coffman believed that complex project comprises of subset of project that are composed of so many different facets that no individual or small team possesses all of the knowledge, experience, or skills required to design and implement them.

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Considering 2012 Olympic Stadium as a part of Olympic park which consists of interrelated and multidisciplinary projects that demand exceptional level of management and system approach which will be described to be inappropriate for a single project… Looking at the technical and organizational complexity of the Olympic park, it is clear that it requires involvement of lots of multi-disciplinary contractors, sub contractors, supply chain, trade, different technology and specialties. Williams (1999) sees technical complexity as a three-fold concept: the variety of task as the degree of interdependencies within these tasks, and the instability of the “assumptions upon which the Tasks are based.” Complex project requires proper structuring and scheduling in terms of Work Break down Structure and further down into related bid package for the qualified construction firms .to bid .For effective organizational management, the services of a planner, scheduler, contract administrator, legal adviser, procurement engineer, accountant will be require in a complex project unlike a single project where all the task will be handle by the project management..

Moreover, managing a large, multi-projects environment or complex projects is refers by some author as programme management, Fern(1991), stated that the common theme of programme management can be identified as the co-ordination of projects’ to gain benefits that it would not be possible to obtain were the projects managed independently. He also defined programme management as the coordinated support, planning, prioritization and monitoring of projects to meet changing business needs. Pellegrinelli(1997) pointed out that programme management is not same as multi-project management, that the nature and practice of program management are much more than resource management though management of scares resources or the establishment of appropriate information system is identified as core elements of programme management. Fern (1991), proposed single objective programme model as one of the generic models to describe how organizations define and practice programme management. According to Fern (1991), programme with single objective are often called macro-project or simple project which consists of large numbers of project which run concurrently, often employ large numbers of contractors and can benefit from programme management techniques.

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Furthermore, the differences between managing a simple project and a project that is part of a large complex programme, can be identify in the description of project and program by Pellegrinelli(1997) and Fern (1991), which states that project is a group of related task(activities) which together satisfy one or more objectives, while programme is a frame work for grouping existing projects (or defining new projects) and for focusing all the activities required to achieve a set of major benefits.

Some of features of managing a simple single project include project manager been responsible for directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives, while a large complex programme involves having a programme manager facilitates the interaction of other managers and team manager responsible for work package.

In addition, a single simple project have a set objective and self dependent for delivery, which entails, ensuring that trade-offs between scope, quality, time and cost are satisfactory and acceptable(Wideman,1990), while multi-project is interrelated and interdependent with other project in the programme. Significant increase in the number and independence of element between disparate project within a programme raise structural complexity to a level higher than that of single projects (Blismas et al 2004)

A single project has a linear life cycle and fixed duration in which performance of the project is measured; while in multi-project duration depends on the delivery of the entire project in the programme

Single project involves one main contractor with few sub contractors while multi-project involves large number of contractor, sub contractors and supply chain.

Other features of a single project includes managing risk and uncertainties in line with the project scope and objectives, abbreviated planning process and Single client management

In addition, scheduling and resources allocated is more complex than that of a single project the need and priority of a particular project is considered, detailed communication, organization and strategic management, multi-stakeholders management, development of software for project planning/scheduling and system control.


The purpose of these guidelines is to help in organizing, planning and control 2012 Olympic Stadium to achieve the project objectives. The guideline covers the life cycle of the project from initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling and closure of the project.

3.3.1 Initiation

This is the beginning of the planning phase, the need is identified, resources, preliminary drawing and block diagram is produce, analysis including budget estimation, project charter including cost, task, and deliverable schedule, scope is defined and impact assessment initiated, conceptual design created followed by detailed design and planning

3.3.2 Project planning

This include developing management Plan, scope planning and definition, creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), activity definition and sequencing, Resource estimating and allocation, Estimating budget and cost control, activity duration estimating, schedule development, human resource and communication planning, risk management planning, contracting, purchases plan (PMBOK, 2004)

Management Plan: is necessary for the development of preliminary project scope statement, project management processes, environmental factors and organizational process assets. (PMBOK, 2004)

Scope planning and definition is essential for creating project scope management plan that documents how the project scope will be defined, verified and controlled and also the creation and definition of WBS. Secondly development of detailed scope statement as basis for future project decisions. (PMBOK, 2004)

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): “Developing WBS with a corresponding project organizations and functional responsibility chart (Wideman,1990) Establishing the programme work breakdown structure and breaking it into work package for contract purposes”. (Wideman,1990)

Activity definition and sequencing is crucial in identifying specific activities that needs to be performed to achieve project deliverable and also identifying and documenting dependencies among schedule activities. It contains the activity list and attributes, milestone list, requested change and approved change requests project schedule network diagram. (PMBOK, 2004)

Resource estimating and allocation is important in estimating the type and quantities of resources required by each work package

Estimating budget and cost control: Each work package is treated essentially as a separate and autonomous effort requiring resources and input from variety of source (Clough et al, 2000).”At the earliest possible time, an acceptable program budget breakdown must be established, which properly reflects the best estimate of the work required to achieve the overall project objectives. This will form the basis for regular cost monitoring and reporting” (Wideman, 1990)

Contracting, purchases plan: Laws and regulations will require public bidding procedure in the government owned project. Advertisements of the project are required to ensure that all contractors who might have interest are offered equal opportunity to bid. A number of work packages may be assembled into a contract package for procurement purposes(Wideman,1990) Type of contract strategy and procurement route to be use and allocation of risk of project is identified

Human resource and communication planning: this is necessary in identifying and documenting roles and responsibilities and reporting relationships, secondly. Information and communication needs of the projects stakeholders are determined. (PMBOK, 2004)

Risk management: The purpose of risk management process is to make effective project management decisions about what happens on the project in future. This consist of risk source identification, risk impact assessment and analysis and managerial response to risk in the context of the project (Smith, Merna, Jobling, 2006)

3.3.3 Execution stage

This involves coordinating people and resources, integrating and performing other project activities. Some of the activities of this stage include Directing and managing project execution, performing quality assurance, acquiring and developing project team, information distribution. Selection of consultant, supply chain contractors and sub contractors. (PMBOK, 2004)

Directing and managing project execution. This process is necessary for directing the various technical and organizational interfaces that exist in the project to execute the work defined in the project management plan. Some of the activities here consist of approving corrective and preventive actions, approving change request and defect repair, validating defect repair, administrative closure procedure. (PMBOK, 2004)

Acquiring and developing project team: this is essential for obtaining human resources needed to deliver the project and also for improving the competencies and interaction of team members to enhance project performance. (PMBOK, 2004)

Information distribution: design and foster intensive, open and timely communication within the project stakeholders. Employ multiple channels and mediums, in particular modern information technology and extensive face-to face interactions.

Prepare systems that prescribe for most processes simple and brief procedures for flexibility of details. Restrict optimization to the essential.

Selection of consultant, supply chain contractors and sub contractors. This process is essential for reviewing bids and proposal, selecting from among the potential contractors and negotiating a written contract, it also entail risk allocation between the client and the contractor. (PMBOK, 2004)

3.3.4 Monitoring and controlling

This process is crucial for collecting, measuring and dissemination performance information, and assessing measurements and trends to effect process improvement

Integration and ongoing progress is monitored against agreed milestones, results reported in accordance with mechanisms identified in the communication plan.Secondly monitoring changes and recommending preventive action in anticipation of possible problem is an important element of monitoring and controlling (PMBOK, 2004)

3.3.5 Health and safety and environment Maintenance of health and safety on the site is vital for a successful project delivery. Mandatory personal protective equipment for all the workers on site is necessary Also all the site machine and equipment should be working properly. Workers should be properly trained to use the equipments.

3.3.6 Project closure: this involves closing of project and contract closure. It is necessary for finalizing all activities, completing and settling each contract, including the resolution of any open items and closing each contract applicable to the project. (PMBOK, 2004

3.4 Outline of Project Management Challenges 2012 Olympic Stadium

Some of the project management challenges:

Design constraints:

This involves getting an aesthetics design which depicts legacy of modern day and world class Olympics, as well as being iconic, environmentally friendly and sustainable in terms of future use and maintenance.

Time constraints;

Meeting deadline for the project for the Olympics events is very crucial and one is of the major indicator of measuring success or failure of the project.

Site constraints

The soil/site ground is poor from engineering and environmental viewpoint. Owing to past use of the site which resulted in uneven settlement that can only support very light construction. Site is located between two branches of River Lea an old embankment containing sewage artery. The above constraints call for redesigning to suit the site location and environment.

Complexity of the project

The multi-project nature of the project involves managing large numbers of subcontractors and supply chain. The construction of the stadium is just one component in the Olympic park,

Resource allocation and scheduling

Efficient allocation of resources in multi-project environment is a major challenge facing the programme manager, as this can lead to success or failure of the projects.

Global recession and price inflation

The world economic crisis of 2009 is a major challenge for the project, as this will cause price inflation for goods and services required for the project. The initial project estimate will no longer be feasible.

Stakeholders’ management

The project has different level of stakeholder. They include the financier, the host community, the supporters, the critics, the press and the general public.

Project Co-ordination and document control..

The complexity of the project comprises large number of document which might have minor and major changes from the initial design that need to be communicated to people involve with the project.

Logistics Challenges

Transportation of huge numbers of workers and materials to the site using the existing means of transportation, amid the busy city of London.

Health and Safety

Maintaining safety in the site is a major challenge in construction site with large number of workers and ensuring that all contractors adhere to the health and safety rule in the site.

3.5 Conclusion


The facts remains that projects are distinctive and unique in their own way. Project life-cycle as well as their requirements is different from each other. What worked for one organization in a particular project might not work for another; it all depends on the organizational culture and values, project environment, interpersonal skill, etc. The general guideline as contained in the Project Management Body of knowledge is only to serve as a guide that needs to be tailored down to suit a particular project.

Also it can be seen that project management is more of a practical discipline than theoretical, this can be deduce from the uniqueness of every projects, because change is inherent in any project. There must be a change from the laid down planned and schedule strategy, change therefore cannot be eliminated, most especially in construction because of the project uncertainty, it is expected that plan must change. The ability of the project manager to apply the principles of risk management and improve effective change management will determine result of the project.


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