First of 52,888 seats are installed at Everton FC’s new £750m stadium being built in Liverpool docklands. Tony McDonough reports
Everton FC has installed the first seats at its new stadium in Bramley-Moore Dock.
Work on the arena on the Liverpool waterfront is now well advanced and over the next six months contractor Laing O’Rourke will install the 52,888 seats. It is planned for the stadium to be open during the 2004/05 football season.
This latest milestone moment came less than 24 hours after another key moment in the project saw the final piece of steelwork hoisted into place to complete the roofing structure.
The first permanent rows of blue plastic seats – which follow previous tests to assess rail seating – have been fitted in the north east corner to kick-start the next phase of the bowl development.
Detailed work has preceded this new development that included bolting supportive handrails to the concrete terracing and then installing a seat carrier system on each individual row, for the seats to sit upon.
Paul Harvey, construction manager for Laing O’Rourke on the Everton stadium, said: “We have a lot of activities that have to knit together and a lot of risk involved, so all of that needs coordinating.
“Although the seal installs might look like a simple operation, there are 50,000 holes to drill and a lot of safety issues, with hand and arm vibration.
“Bluecube, who are installing the seats – and led by our engineered safety team – have come up with a really good new method using new drill rigs and a suction system.
“And, with some independent analysis it’s pretty much taken away the risks of hand-arm vibration and the dangers of dust inhalation, so that’s a massive move to a different level of safety.”
He added: “The last seats will be installed around Easter of next year. The biggest job is the drilling… Hopefully, by Christmas, the whole upper tier will have blue seats in them.
“We can’t put the lower tier of terracing in until the roofing has finished, and with the final steelwork lift taking place yesterday, the bigger cranes are moving off site and we can start installing the lower tier.
“That should all be in place by December, at which point we can start drilling and getting the seats in.”
There was a second significant development on site this week as the final section of roofing was lifted into position.
The final rafter tip was installed at the south end of the east stand, 11 months after the first piece of roofing steelwork was installed and just 18 months since the first steel column was erected on site.
Work will now accelerate to add the final coverings to the roof, which is already close to completion on the north stand.