A visit to the Brazil Olympics website in early April shows time is ticking fast: only 131 days and 164 days are left respectively for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. The 2016 Summer Olympic and the Paralympic games will be held from August 5 to 21 and September 7 to 18 respectively. At stake for Brazil, will be its success in showcasing to the world its ability to build world-class sporting and related infrastructure at its capital city of Rio de Janeiro, for what will the second time in its history that the summer Olympic games will be held in a Latin American nation (after Mexico in 1968). For the more than 10,500 athletes from over 150 nations, including Kosovo and South Sudan for the first time, the expectation will be to take home as many gold, silver and bronze medals and also set new world records for the next generation. And for Hill International, the events will provide yet another opportunity to test its project management skills for the Parque Deodoro Complex contract, which will be the second largest competition center for the games.
In August 2015, Hill was contracted by the City of Rio de Janeiro to provide project management services for the Parque Deodoro Olympic complex being built at an estimated cost of $260 million. The venue will host 11 Olympic and four Paralympic sporting events. Hill International’s work involves preparation and review of all project facilities in general that includes architectural designs developed for the implementation of the Olympic complex, said Sergio Falcao, Hill’s vice president and country manager for Brazil. These projects include technical expertise for getting the premises ready to host nine Olympic events, which has called for mobilizing a large number of technical professionals in various fields of engineering to produce more than 1470 projects boards and 361 documents including calculations of memories, memorial descriptions and bills of materials. “Our scope also comprises providing PM services for the air conditioning and exhaust, CCTV, supervision and building security, prevention and fire-fighting, detection and fire alarm, electrical installations, technical lighting, road Lighting, natural gas installation, automation, and wastewater and storm water drainage,” Falcao said. Hill has nine of its professionals working for the contract that include a contract manager and project coordinator for planning and PM, four installation engineers and an estimator and a buildings technician as part of the ‘production’ team, and an administrative financial assistant. The team is based at the construction site of Deodoro and works on the verification and management of projects developed by a third party company, he said, noting the Hill team also has the backing of staff from the company’s offices at Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Current Status and Challenges
Parque Deodoro will play host to the following facilities/games: a radical park spread over 604,121 sq meters; a 101,104 sq-meter National Shooting Center, a Rugby and Pentathlon arena of 57,653 sq meters; an Aquatic Center of Modern Pentathlon with 31,861 square meters, Deodoro Arena with 50,750 sq meters; Hockey Olympic Center with 34,749 sq meters; Horse Hiding Olympic Center with 679,996 sq meters. Besides building these greenfield facilities, focus is also on the issues related to access and traffic management for the Deodoro complex, Falcao said. A series of improvement works are being developed in the venue area such as the BRT or Bus Rapid Transport Transbrasil – the corridor that will connect Rio de Janeiro downtown to Deodoro via Avenida Brazil and the BRT Transolimpica – a new corridor that will connect the neighborhood of Recreio dos Bandeirantes to Deodoro, in the West Zone. “We are at the final stretch of our contract and at this point attention gets larger and deadlines get shorter, at a faster pace," Falcao said. The International Olympic Committee will be soon be testing preparedness of the sporting venues and the schedule laid out includes: the Deodoro Stadium from March 5 to 6; the Aquatic Centre and Youth Arena: from March 10 to 14 March and the Olympic Shooting Center from April 14 to 25.
For hosting such major inter-disciplinary global sporting events like the Olympics, time is always a critical element. This was an issue that Hill had to deal with, Falcao said elaborating that Hill International was awarded the contract to take charge and complete the planned facilities at the Deodoro complex that was started by another company that was asked to leave the project. “Our team had to, in a short time, map and understand the set of information produced, the technical requirements required and set priorities for the construction work,” he pointed out. To solve the challenges, Hill structured a multi-disciplinary team with track-record in sporting projects with Olympic requirements. Also a planning and coordination projects team was set up to produce technical information and keep a close eye on schedule and issued related to quality requirements. “In this project, we used some strategies for optimization of time and search to maintain quality,” he said. These included: dividing projects at the pre-execution stage by disciplines allowing each team of engineers to focus on a specific set of disciplines when carrying out the design checks, identifying the need to adjust or either supplement; meetings with all stakeholders to conduct brainstorm sessions to ensure project solutions and requirements; deploying management and client relationship teams, with focus on correct understanding of various requirements; setting up a planning and quality control team, to keep an eye on provision of data and control of actions and ensuring greater efficiency to the production team.
“This is an iconic project as we are contributing to Brazil’s efforts to successfully face the challenges of executing an event of this magnitude and win. For the Brazil office of Hill International, it will provide an opportunity to bring on board our knowledge of best practices and technical requirements and also reflect our brand on the global stage, reinforcing the image of a company with excellence in project management,” Falcao said. Besides the Deodoro complex, Hill is also working for other opportunities related to the Olympics, Falcao added, with a focus on project management for the temporary facilities both on other infrastructure and various needs related to accommodate athletes, officials, national and international press, staff and the general public. Hill’s experience in its success with the Athletes Village project for the 2006 Doha Asian Games in Qatar will come to bear once again as the company moves ahead with the expectation of winning new contracts for the Olympic games besides the Deodoro Complex. The Asian Games village was later retrofitted to become a leading medical city in the Middle East with over 1,000 beds, staff housing and staff recreation and there is reason to believe Hill stands in a favorable position to win other contracts for the Rio Olympics.
By Ashok Dutta