Building Russia's Future
- By Maria Afonina
- Dec. 03 2015 00:00
Raymond Fadel is AECOM regional director for Russia and has worked with developers and architects for over 25 years. Maria Afonina talked to him about AECOM's recent projects and the construction market in general.
What major projects were completed by AECOM this year? What are the ongoing projects of the company?
Our major project this year is the M11 — the first 43 km of the toll road Moscow to St. Petersburg. It is a public-private partnership project that began five years ago. We finally finished the construction and the commission in October. In November, we started the maintenance period, during which time we must operate and maintain the road.
AECOM is also working on project management at Sheremetyevo Airport involving a new terminal with an annual capacity of 15 million passengers, plus a new transfer link to the existing northern complex.
Another project that we are currently developing is the VTB Arena Park, a sport and commercial complex. VTB Arena Park is a comprehensive development project that includes the construction of a mixed-use sports and leisure complex (VTB Arena and Dynamo Central Stadium), Dynamo Academy of Sports, Arena Park City Block and Dynamo Sports Park. The total project area is about 32 hectares.
The renovated stadium will be unique due to the fact that it will accommodate a soccer stadium and a multifunctional sports arena under one roof. Dynamo Sports Society Museum — a leisure and entertainment complex which will provide underground parking — will be located here. The roof will be made of special material, which will allow light to shine through.
Moreover, a large glass wall with inbuilt LED strips that will convert the glass into an enormous video screen at night will also be installed on the roof. The total seating capacity of the soccer stadium will be about 26,000 seats and the seating capacity of the multifunctional arena will be between 11,500 and 14,000, depending on what it is needed for — hockey, basketball or a concert. There will be an enormous screen placed on the west facade facing Leningradsky Prospekt.
We're also working on several important projects in St. Petersburg: Lotte Plaza, a 300-room hotel; Nevskaya Ratusha business center; and the LIFE-Primorsky and LIFE-Lesnaya residential projects with Pioneer.
How is AECOM involved in the preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup?
AECOM is a big professional team that supports Olympic games around the world. AECOM has been involved since Russia was chosen to host the World Cup. I hope that our support and professionalism can be provided in the regions, as well as in Moscow. We've been working on the Spartak stadium, a new 43,000-seat stadium. Our architects and engineers worked to ensure that international best practice and regulatory challenges were met. This project was completed a year ago.
I already mentioned our Sheremetyevo Airport project: in 2014, AECOM was appointed to provide construction management services for a major expansion of the airport ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The expansion will enable passenger numbers to rise to 53 million per year by 2023. Inter-terminal passenger and luggage tunnels under the runways will each be over 2,000 metres long, enabling quick and easy transfer between the north and south terminals.
What regional projects have you taken on? What are the peculiarities of work at the regional level in Russia?
AECOM provides services in different regions. We're working with major clients in Yekaterinburg — we developed big projects with the Forum group in particular. AECOM provided the design services and acted as general designer as part of these projects.
In Perm, we assisted a client in developing his facility by providing design services and project management.
We're also providing service to clients in Ufa, where we are building a poutry facility. AECOM's role is not limited to design and project management — we can extend our services according client requests.
Kaluga is one of the regions where we have taken part in several projects. We completed more than seven projects there, with Peugeot-Citroen, General Electric, Samsung, Volvo, Lotte, KT&G, etc. It was the first Russian region that we started working in, 18 years ago.
We don't see any difficulties in working in the regions. All norms and regulations are the same. Of course, Russia is a big country. For example, the seven time zones from Moscow to Vladivostok can make things complicated. The choice of the region depends on the requirements of the region and where the company can develop. The Russian government supports investors in the regions. And the regions are interested in getting investors to improve the level of life for the people who live there.
Could you tell us more about your projects in the Moscow region?
Apart from the aforementioned projects, we're supporting about 20-30 projects in Moscow, like residential and business centers. We will soon complete our work for the NTV media center. We're building a retail center on Kutuzovsky Prospekt, a residential building on Polyanka Ulitsa and in Glukhovo in the Moscow region.
How has the construction and design market changed due to the sanctions and economic situation?
I don't want to say that business has been affected by the sanctions rather than by the economic situation and oil price. I'd rather say that competition on the market now is very obvious and companies are providing a specific service, service that the client can really see. For example, AECOM now uses Building Information Technology, which will detect all possible probems and minimize risks.
There is some change on the construction market because of the sanctions or economic crisis. The change can be seen in the level of competition and that is good for the level of the services that companies are providing. The sanctions influenced investors who were looking for the support of international banks. But for the local market, where developers and clients are really doing business, it doesn't make any difference.