Arup and Mace supporting delivery of 2019 Pan American Games

12 December 2018 3 min. read
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After the success of the 2012 London Olympics, the British Government tapped construction specialists from consultancies Arup and Mace in order to turn around struggling preparations for the Pan American Games. Construction was left well behind schedule just two years before the event, thanks to a spate of natural disasters, however the project is now understood to be back on track with just over six months to spare.

Since triumphing in the bidding process for hosting rights in 2013, Peru has been organising the largest sports event in its history, the 2019 Pan American Games. The event, set to take place in the capital of Lima, is the fourth largest sporting occasion in the world, but in the wake of the worst flooding in recent memory, Peru’s preparations were hamstrung by natural disasters, and construction was severely left behind schedule with only two years left.

For the event taking place in July 2019, the country had to deliver accommodation and sporting infrastructure for 10,000 athletes and 39 different sports, but design work had not even commenced. With so little time to turn around a struggling construction programme, Peru forged a partnership with the British Government, on the back of the London 2012 Summer Olympics. The agreement signed with the Department for International Trade in April 2017 paved the way for consulting firms Arup and Mace to bring their expertise to the event.

Arup and Mace supporting delivery of 2019 Pan American Games

The consulting firms have since told the press they had been tracking the games project. However, prior to the UK Government’s agreement with Peru in 2017, barriers including taxation and language were considered too great a risk for the firms to venture into the South American market. Now, hundreds of architects, engineers, and construction workers are labouring 24 hours a day in shifts to complete the sporting infrastructure on schedule. This includes a new National Sports Videna, or village, featuring a 15,000 capacity athletics stadium, aquatics centre, and sports centre with retractable stands.

Speaking to New Civil Engineer, Davendra Dabasia, a Director at Mace, said 60% of the facilities constructed for the 2012 London Olympics must be built in Lima, but in half the time. A collaborative approach is key to this, and Dabasia explained, “Our approach is an integrated team approach. The Peruvian authorities still have the delivery responsibility, but we’re there to give them advice on how to do that and are there step by step with them. Their project managers are learning from ours.”

Also talking to New Civil Engineer, Arup Director Jerome Frost said that the backing of the British government allowed a “greater sense of partnership” with the Peruvian government. He added, “It supports what the government is trying to achieve in having more of a partnering relationship in business and much more of a global presence for British businesses.”

With the project now firmly under way, Mace and Arup have already turned their attentions to the future in South America. According to the two Directors, both firms have already seen their work in Lima open up new avenues to more projects in the regional market.

Dabasia said, “We see around five or 10 years ahead, where we can showcase project management skills on major infrastructure schemes in places like Peru, Chile, Panama potentially and Colombia. In Colombia they have a big spend, with lots of metros and aviation projects. That’s where we can really help infrastructure progress in South America but also drive Mace as a business into those markets.”

Frost added that Arup is similarly already in talks to carry out further works in South America. “Colleagues of mine are already in meetings to look at infrastructure projects around Peru and South America where we might build on the legacy of this project and hopefully that will start to yield opportunities.”