Laing O’Rourke has been revealed as the preferred contractor for Everton Football Club’s new 52,000-capacity stadium.
The Premier League club revealed it is set to sign a preconstruction services agreement (PCSA) for a design and build contract, after what it described as a “competitive procurement process.” Everton and Laing O’Rourke will now work in partnership to develop a design and delivery programme. Everton said this will use the contractor's “digital engineering expertise and industry leading knowledge of modern methods of construction”.
Responding to the news of the appointment, Everton chief executive Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale said: “We are partnering with an organisation that brings a wealth of experience and a track record of quality, sustainability and global delivery, including major investment projects right here in Liverpool.
“There is still a lot of work to do on this project. Working alongside colleagues at Laing O’Rourke, we will develop our construction programme, while at the same time continuing to engage with our supporters on a number of matters as we await our planning application to be determined by Liverpool City Council.”
Laing O’Rourke UK building director Paul McNerney said the firm's unique engineering and manufacturing capabilities would “underpin” the scheme. “Our local team, supply chain and consultant partners have worked with us across many major schemes in Liverpool, including Liverpool One, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Clatterbridge Cancer Centre,” he added.
It’s the first time Laing O’Rourke has constructed a high-capacity, new-build stadium in the UK, although it has worked on several redevelopments, including the expansion of Manchester City’s Etihad stadium.
Before it was acquired by O’Rourke for £1 in 2001, Laing Construction was known as a specialist in the field. In the late 1990s it was appointed to build both the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and the City of Manchester Stadium (now known as the Etihad) for the Commonwealth Games.
However, the Millennium Stadium project turned out to be disastrous for the contractor and caused huge financial problems. The impact of signing a poor deal to build the stadium on a fixed-price arrangement, which it later admitted was bid too low, was dubbed the ‘Cardiff curse.’ Laing paid £31m to cover project costs, but the burden of the job was a contributing factor in Laing Group’s decision to dispose of the business.
Everton submitted a planning application for the project with Liverpool City Council shortly before Christmas and revealed its final designs for the 52,000-seater stadium (see video, below).
In a blog post earlier in December, the Merseyside team offered further details on the project, including plans to preserve the surrounding dockyards and design alterations that maximise crowd noise.
The scheme is one of the flagship projects in Peel Ports’ £5.5bn regeneration of the Liverpool dockyards – known as Liverpool Waters.
New York-based architect Dan Meis has developed the stadium designs, which feature a brick base and a roof made from steel and glass, the concept of which was revealed in the summer of 2019 (pictured).
Ex-Laing O'Rourke project leader Colin Chong is heading the project as Everton’s stadium development director.