84°F
weather icon Clear

List of concerns keeps Las Vegas stadium project lead up at night

Updated May 28, 2019 - 2:08 pm

Though it sometimes seems officials have nothing but good news regarding the construction of the Las Vegas stadium, one official acknowledged a list of worries tied to the $1.8 billion project that occasionally keep him up at night.

At the top of the list was the 53-day delay of the fabrication, delivery and assembly of structural steel, according to Las Vegas Stadium Co. Chief Operating Officer Don Webb. There are about 185,000 individual pieces of structural steel that will make up the skeleton of the 65,000 seat domed stadium.

“Not all of it arrived when we wanted it to arrive and not all of it was fabricated as we wanted it fabricated and that created an almost two-month delay on the project,” Webb said at last week’s Las Vegas Stadium Authority meeting. “Had we did nothing than simply monitor that we would have indeed finished late. But we aren’t just monitoring it, we’re resolving problems; that’s what we do.”

In the process of overcoming that delay, the project team rearranged some project work out of its planned sequence to keep the completion date of July 31, 2020 on point.


“For instance, we’re actually in the process of applying finishes, finished walls, paints and fixtures inside a stadium where the exterior walls haven’t been constructed or closed in and where the roof of the building will not be fully enclosed until March of the next year,” Webb said.

While that allowed the project to dodge a delay, it also presents challenges going forward, Webb lamented. With the roof not expected to be fully covering the inside of the stadium for almost another year, some of the finishes inside the structure could be damaged if the area has a strong rainstorm.

“We’re factoring that into it, but that is preferable to delaying the completion,” Webb said. “It also results in protective measures and those come with costs in order to avoid much of that damage as possible.”

Impact of tariffs

Another issue is tariffs put on imported steel by President Donald Trump.

“The earlier rounds of tariffs, we worked those into the budget and in some cases worked around them by pre-ordering steel,” Webb said.

It remains to be seen how the tariffs will affect future purchases imported from China. Webb said it’s slightly unknown how that will play out.

“Since a lot of what has yet to be purchased and installed in the stadium involves high-tech electronics and those are largely currently produced in China, that presents a concern,” Webb said. “I don’t overly stress on this concern, because we’ve been in touch with some of the main manufacturers of our scoreboard and other high-tech electronics and we know about their plans to shift manufacturing to the Philippines, Mexico and other places, precisely because of these tariffs.”

The order tied to those electronics is between $2 million and $3 million, Webb said.

The cable net roof presents another possible issue, as the type being used hasn’t been used in the U.S. before.

“It has enormous advantages, but the fact that it’s not been completed in the United States on a major project and that it has such close tolerances, for instance, on an 850-foot length of this cable, it has to be within seven-eights of an inch on either side or else it doesn’t fit or operate properly,” he said. “That is a two-one-hundredths percent of variance. That is why I occasionally refer to this as a 17-acre Swiss watch. That’s the kind of tolerance we’re dealing with here.”

‘Little margin for error’

Raiders President Marc Badain said that despite the preciseness of the roof operation, he has full confidence the construction team put together by Mortenson-McCarthy Joint Venture, the general contractor building the stadium, will install the roof system in the time allotted for it in the stadium’s build schedule.

“There’s very little margin for error,” Badain said. “We have the best people in the world on it. I’m confident that it’s going to be done on time and on budget.”

The lack of an available skilled workforce has also been an issue the stadium team has faced. Webb said they’ve had an issue especially in finding iron workers for the site.

“Those of you heavily involved in public policy might want to reconsider the drive to push every high school senior into college to get a college degree,” he said. “There are many days that I have plenty of college graduates, but I can’t find a welder. Our fixation with college education is probably wonderful in some respects, but vocational training really shouldn’t be overlooked in this country as well.”

Webb said the project is about to be over the hump on that issue, as all of the structural steel is expected to be in place by mid-August.

Despite the concerns laid out by Webb, Badain downplayed the possible issues, stating the crew of 1,200 construction workers — which will balloon to almost 2,000 by the end of the project — have been and will continue to work around them, ensuring the stadium is ready for a fall 2020 kickoff.

“There’s probably 100 concerns a day,” Badain said. “We address them. We have a great project team. The Mortenson-McCarthy team is on top of everything and has never missed a deadline.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Southern Nevada could set a new resale-price record in coming months.
The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes – the bulk of the market – was $310,000 in September. Before the economy crashed last decade, prices peaked in June 2006 at $315,000, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.(Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Walmart container park in Henderson - VIDEO
Henderson could be home to a container park associated with a Walmart Inc. initiative. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recession lessons could help Las Vegas face next slump - VIDEO
While the last economic downturn had a dramatic impact on local casinos, most experts expect the industry will be better able to weather the storm during the next recession. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM and victims of Oct. 1 reach settlement agreement - VIDEO
MGM Resorts International and lawyers representing potentially thousands of victims of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip have reached a tentative settlement of between $735 million and $800 million. (Mat Luschek /Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Live music and EDM dominate the night on day 2 of A’Le’Innstock
After sunset bands rocked the crowds at A’Le’Innstock in Rachel, Nevada on the second night of the event.
iPhone 11 Release
Local Las Vegas long time Apple product consumer shares her excitement for the new iPhone 11 release Downtown Summerlin. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lihi Levin talks about a mobil app Dropit - VIDEO
Lihi Levin, regional manager at Dropit Shopping, talks about a mobil app Dropit. The app lets customers leave their shopping bags at a store then have them delivered the same day to their home or hotel so they can shop without carrying multiple bags all day. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
North Las Vegas company prepares for Mars - VIDEO
Robert Bigelow and his Bigelow Aerospace manufacturing facility played host to eight NASA astronauts and 60 engineers this week getting to know the company’s B330 autonomous, expandable space station. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas developer talks about a new apartment complex called “the yoU”
Frank Marretti lll, founder of G2 Capital Development, talks about his new apartment complex called “the yoU” near UNLV. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Steel cables will hoist roof at Allegiant Stadium - VIDEO
Stainless steel cables are being put into place at Allegiant Stadium to begin the process of putting the roof on the 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas. Stadium Chief Operating Officer Don Webb explains how the cables will be used to get the roof put on the future home of the Raiders and UNLV football. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The last remaining Sigma Derby game in Las Vegas
Derek Stevens, owner of the D Las Vegas, talks about the last remaining Sigma Derby horse racing game in Las Vegas inside his casino floor. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwich Review
Janine Blake of Las Vegas gives her review of the new Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwich at the restaurant’s location on west Bonanza Road on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019,
SuperZoo 2019 takes over Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas
SuperZoo 2019 show for pet retailers brought pet products of all description to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MSG Sphere at The Venetian to cost $1.2B plus
Scheduled to open in 2021, it is expected to be busier than Madison Square Garden in New York. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Favorite products from SuperZoo 2019
Some of the fun and interesting pet products on display at the SuperZoo in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MAGIC Convention Day 3
The fashion trade show MAGIC, held Monday through Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MAGIC Las Vegas - Day One
The biannual MAGIC convention show opened Monday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant celebrates naming deal with tailgate party
Allegiant Air employees celebrate with a tailgate party after the company’s naming deal with the Raiders for the new Las Vegas stadium.
Nevada's sportsbook operators welcome competition
Sportsbook operators from near and far are looking to get into in the established Nevada market, experts say. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a first look of MSG Sphere construction in Las Vegas
Representatives of The Madison Square Garden Company give the first glimpse of progress Tuesday of the under-construction MSG Sphere — a first-of-its-kind performance venue with high-tech audio and visual capabilities.
There's a new place to play board games in Las Vegas
Matt Smiciklas, co-owner of Boarding School Games, talks about the new Las Vegas business that he co-owns with Emily Labejof. Dedicated tabletop gamers can choose from more than 500 games to play for free in-store. The doors open to the public Saturday, July 20, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Renovations at the STRAT
Analysts say the $140 million renovation project at The STRAT, formerly the known as the Stratosphere, could help the hotel-casino compete with the evolving north side of the Las Vegas Strip. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST