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Sergey Kopyl, Director for design planning of Transstroi: Spartak’s stadium is more ingenuous, Zenit-Arena is the fifth in the world

Who else can tell us about all the nuances of construction but the man who has been involved in this issue from the first day.In his interview for SportsDaily, Sergey Kopyl told about many technical nuances of design planning and construction of not only the Zenit-Arena, but other stadiums which are getting prepared to host the World Cup 2018. Bare facts hide essence of the reasons why the workshave been heldfor seven years already and will be completed in three years.

We are at the facility since 2008

— Transstroi has been present at this construction site not from the very beginning, the facility has been attended by the company Avant (formerly called Sintez-SUI) for nearby 2.5 years. What kind of works has it managed to do?
— We engaged in the facility at the end of 2008. Before we engaged, Avant had dismantled 75-80 percent of the old hill of the Stadium named after Kirov: subsurface (filling) part, concreted stands. In addition, they have completed nearby 95% of the pile foundation,nearby 60% of foundation platforms on pile works and a part of reinforced concrete structures for the energy generation center of the stadium. I participated in the acceptance of the facility from Avant, I am here from the very first day.

— What kind of situation can we see now?
— You could see we have already completed 360 thousand cubic meters of reinforced concrete structures out of 460 thousand, mounted a part of draw-out field, metal structures of the framework of the external contour almost up to the upper mark of the stands at42 meters. In addition, we carry out worksrelated with the premises of the hill, which appeared in a new project, and reconstructpavilions.

— Have you remained satisfied with the works that Avant managed to complete? Did you have to alter anything?
— They have performed time-consuming works, but they were not the most difficult ones. It was necessary to drill holes for piles, put reinforcement cage in there and cast concrete. They are simple operations using technologiesproven during years, so it was rather difficult to concede spoilage.

RUR 15 bnhave been spent

— Deputy Director General of Glavstroy Karen Mdivanyan said that the stadium project at Krestovsky would enter the design textbooks. Why?
— First of all, it is one of the few stadiums in the world, which will have both draw-out field and sliding roof. Secondly, there are no stadiums with similar design at the latitude of Saint Petersburg. Thirdly, hydro-geological conditions are complicated here, which required the construction of a sound foundation for the stadium made of piles and foundation slab. The volume of these works only was about 220 million cubic meters. For comparison, the entire Wembley stadium is 90 thousand cubic meters of concrete. In addition, we have a stand bridge over the draw-outfield and this is the largest reinforced concrete span structure in the world practice of stadium construction, and the similar draw-out field is just the fifth in the world. All this, of course, is not the typical design.

— Is it true that the design planning of stadiums in Russia costs 50-100% more than abroad?
— According to my information (by the way, we have foreign consultants as well), the price is about the same. The only problem is that if the stadium is designed at once and no changes are made to it, the figures are comparable absolutely.It is even a little bit cheaper here; in Europe labor is more expensive. If the requirements for the project during its construction change, then, yes, the cost increases. For example, during the construction of Wembley stadium it was determined that its payback is not well worked out, and if the stadium is put into service in the projected form, there will be problems with the return of the funds spent on its construction. Therefore, the construction process was suspended, and built structures were dismounted, so this resulted in increased timescales and price. Now, having received the specific requirements of FIFA, the stadiums in Russia will be designed without further re-designing. Zenit Arena, in contrast, has a special history — first, it was found out that the project did not consider the payback issues and then Russia won the right to host the World Football Cup, which required redesigning.

— Do you have specific figures related with the cost of maintenance of the stadium for the city after the construction completion?
— A law has recently been issued in the Russian Federation about holding the Confederations Cup; it contains requirements for inclusion of a section into thestadiums construction projects which is devoted to this subject. At the moment there are no exact figures, but I think that they will appear in the coming months. But it is now clear that such a structure will require large maintenance costs.

— What else did you have to change in the project in connection with the FIFA requirements?
— For example, the number of seats for VIP-persons, guests from FIFA. If before we had a snack-bar on their floor, now there will be a restaurant there. The number of parking spaces, seats in the stadium for the media, which has increased by almost a half; requirements for places for persons with disabilities were tightened. And in 2011, it was required to design an additional floor. For example, we had skyboxes, VIP- boxes behind the glass in a different place earlier, at the very top. Naturally, such a location which is remote from the field is not very interesting to the people who will buy them, so the boxes were moved down to the mark of 20 meters.

— We know that the cost of the stadium construction is RUR 34.9 bn. Now it is reported that further construction will cost RUR 12 bn, while the arena is 45% ready. So, the first part of the construction consumed much more money.Why is that?
— No, the matter is that the rest of the money was divided into two lots — now, as it was recently reported in the Construction Committee, a tender for RUR 12 bn will be held, and another tender for RUR 10bn more will be held next year," as explained by the official representative of Transstroy Anastasia Gordeyeva.

— How much has been spent currently?
— RUR 5 bn have been paid to Avant, we have the costs of RUR 8 bn plus the expenses of the city for the design planning. That is, nearby RUR 15 bn,- Kopyl took the floor once again.

— Maybe it is not a question to the address, but RUR 5 bn paid to Avant is too much for the amount of work that they have done, isn’t it? It seems that the amount is too high, isn’t it?
— This value has been confirmed by Glavgosexpertiza. Yes, there were some questions from the Counting Chamber, but these works are priced correctly in crucial respect.

Shifts in the construction are evident

— Does the fact that Saint Petersburg now officially claims the right to host Euro −2020 have any influence on the construction of the arena anyhow?
— The requirements are always changing, almost after every championship: the width of steps is increased, the width of seats is made larger. UEFA inspectors will come to us,have a look, but I think that fundamental changes are not expected. We have a cutting-edge arena.

— What will be the dimensions of the field?
— The stadium bowl itself will be 120×80 meters. It will accommodate general utilities, drainage, heating, foundation mass. We will use the maximum dimensions that are set for the layout of the field.

— How many seats will be located in the fan sector?
— Previously, we planned to room 10,740 people. But due to the redesigning of the seat location, the number will be changed (the host team fans will sitin the sectors G and F, SportsDaily’s remark), now this figure is determined. The sector H next to them will host media representatives.

— What kind of warranty is provided? How many years can and should such a stadium serve without serious intervention?
— The service life of such buildings is from 50 to 100 years. This is established by the regulatory documents.

— What materials are used in the construction?Are all of them Russian or, vice versa, foreign? Is it decided by contractors individually?
— Cast reinforced concrete, armature, cement, sand, gravel chippings, water, metal structures of the fixed roof are Russian. The sliding part of the roof is imported metal structures, although it can become possible to apply Russian ones. Now the Russian production sector is retooled and produces such structures that were not producedpreviously. Some of the equipment will be imported, but we strive to maximize the use of domestic equipment of good quality.

— 2 years and 3 months are left. Will you be in time?
— December 2015 is deadline for completion of the main construction works. They include the roof, concrete structures, finishing works, hill. Seven months are left — commissioning, testing works, including we need to involve people to imitate their entrance to the stadium and exit, evacuation.

— Can you frankly say that you are in time concerning all works? The Internet is now rages seriously enough. Some say that there is nothing built here, someone claims that it will be even better if you are not in time, then the world cupcan be given to Krasnodar, where they will certainly do the job well...
— Why should we give the World Cup to anyone? If there are no stops associated with any force majeure, it’s all real. Yes, the deadlines are tight, but they are real. We are able to meet them.

— Does the city authority or sports ministry impose pressure on you?
— The state contractor on behalf of the city, of course, is constantly communicating with us.The city pays us the taxpayers’ money, so it is obliged to control everything just by law. No pressure is imposed. Vice -Governor Marat Oganesyan holds weekly workshops devoted to the construction course solving the outstanding issues. Active cooperation has been observed since March — April of this year. Shifts in the construction are evident.

45-thousand facility for three years is an absolutely real goal

— Are you acquainted with the chief engineer of the stadium Spartak Arena Otkrytie Alexander Shishlo?
— No, we are not acquainted. But I know that our partners, who design the roof of the stadium at Krestovsky Island, do the same at the Spartak Arena as well. One of our construction partners will mount the roof there. In general, the stadium there is less complicated, of course; it is a classic onefor 45 thousand. It will enable for holding competitions of picked teams or semi-finals of the Champions League or the Europe League.

— Spartak Arena is built based on the model of Donbass Arena. Is there a prototype for Zenit-Arena?
— Yes. Kisho Kurokawa previously designed the stadium Toyota Stadium, where he used the same pylons, as we do, but vertical ones; the stadium was much smaller and without the draw-out field. He applied a very complicated solution at our place from the constructive point of view: hesloped the pylons. It’s one thing when the roof is suspended to the vertical part, providing stability, and another thing when the inclined part tends to fall constantly under the force of gravity.

— The universal football stadium for 45 thousand seats in Kazan was built for the Universiade — 2013 for less than three years. Are these timescales practical?
— The timescale of up to three years is realistic for 45-thousand stadiums without draw-out field and sliding roof. Of course, provided thatthe project is available already. Elaboration of necessary documentation and its reviewing in Glavgosexpertiza lasts at least one and a half years.

— That is, the fans of the cities where construction has not started yet, should not panic since everything will be done in time, shouldn’t they?
— Right, absolutely. Three and a half yearswill bemaximum, such as in Kaliningrad, where the facility will be built in a new location in complex hydro-geological conditions,and where infrastructurewill have to be developed.

— To sum up the whole conversation,does it hurt to hear everywhere irony about the «construction of the century»?
— Of course,it hurts, because I have dedicated nearly five years of my life to it. You just have to know why such timescales have been formed. First of all, holding o f the World Football Cup in 2018. Secondly, the concept of Kurokawa does not take into account the peculiarities of our soil, his figures as to cost and time were givenclearly without taking into account our conditions. In addition to the soils, no peculiarities of law or climatewere taken into consideration. The sliding roof was originally in the form of an accordion, but it was not accepted due to the fire regulations,it did not keep heat and did not withstand rain and snow loads. All these issues requiredelaboration and time. As a result, the sliding roof acquired a dome shape and will be manufactured of the material that will not accumulate snow, and so on. I hope that our discussion will help the residents of Saint Petersburg and fans of Zenit to understand better the situation. And, again, the timing still enables us for meeting the deadline — in the summer of 2016.

|On the subject

What happens to other arenas-2018?

Moscow, Luzhniki

Worksof dismantling the stands and under-stand rooms are to start in September, football matches in the arena are no longer held. The delivery deadline is 1 September 2017.

Moscow, Otkrytie Arena

The canopy roof will be mounted before October, VIP- boxes are glazed. Spartak is to begin the season 2014/15 in this arena.

Kazan, Kazan Arena

The construction is completed, the first match (Rubin—Krasnodar) will be held on 11 November.

Saransk, Yubileiny

The construction was launched in 2011; the deadlines were postponed several times, the latest data — 2015.

Sochi, Olympic stadium Fisht

The construction is already carried out and will be completed at the end of this year.

Yekaterinburg, Centralny

The stadium will be renovated by 2017.


The construction will begin in 2014, the study of the ground is held. The delivery time is 2017.


The dismantlement of the stadium Centralny will start in May 2014. The delivery time is 2017.

Nizhny Novgorod

Gosexpertiza-related operations for the stadium project must beginin October, the start ofconstruction is 2014.The delivery time is 2017.


The construction will begin in September 2014, the delivery time is December 2016.


The construction began in August of this year, the delivery time is 2017.

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