© Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal 2017



In late 2008 the Clients brief to the Principal Building Contractor (PBC) was to construct a world class multi purpose stadium in two and half years so that the New Durban Stadium, as it was then called, would host several local and international football matches prior to the FIFA World Cup Finals. It was to have 54 000 permanent seats with 16 000 temporary seats for the World Cup, 160 corporate suits, on site staff & VIP parking for 1000 vehicles, 50 000² of retail space, and a “cable car” that would transport the public to the viewing platform on top of the stadiums arch. This was no easy task considering magnitude of the project which included the following quantities for the major civil elements:

  • Excavations - 58, 187m³
  • Backfill - 280, 767m³
  • Concrete - 90, 196m³
  • Reinforcement - 9, 449 tones
  • Wall form work - 76, 307m²
  • Deck form work - 107, 683m²
  • Other form work - 93, 197m²
  • Brickwork - 5, 2 million
  • Plaster - 104, 389m²
  • Grano/Screeds - 67, 737m²

The construction of the major elements had to be sequenced, the bowl structure, arch, roof structure including the compression ring, finishes, podium, the pitch, the podium, external works and hard & soft landscaping to ensure that the optimal critical path was found. The works then had to be resourced so that the durations of tasks where minimized so that clients key project dates could be met. The PBC also had to fully carefully consider the financial constraints of their budget when allocating resources to the project.

The most critical aspects were the completion of the civil structural elements that would allow the erection of the arch. Thereafter the erection of the compression ring, allowing a window for the earth works to the pitch, and then the erection of the cable net. Once that was complete the final levelling, installation of the drainage to the pitch and laying the grass. The installation of the pre-cast seating beams as well as the seats and the placement of the roofing fabric also had to be carefully sequenced.

Due to tight program a significant portion of the concrete elements where pre-cast. This allowed for a high degree of tolerance of the dimension and finish of elements. It also reduced the framework requirements that would otherwise have been un-achievable. The co-ordination of the manufacture and especially the installation of these amongst the other elements been erected was also critical.

The other major aspect was the client’s quality requirements for both structural elements and architectural finishes. There were high tolerances on the concrete elements and very specific curing specifications which the PBC, in conjunction with the designs, to develop a modified water reticulation system based on the agricultural principals. The class 1 finish required on the architectural elements was achieved by the strict implementation of the approved quality system by the PBC supervision and the training given to both PBC employees and subcontractor employees. It is a major accomplishment to achieve the quality of construction within the time frame. The end result has led to several awards for design and construction excellence.

Arguably the most striking feature of the stadium is the arch. It was also the element that had the biggest effect on the program. The major features of the arch are:

  • Total Tonnage - 2900
  • Number of pieces - 56
  • Average of pieces - 3.5m x 40
  • Average tonnage - 50ton (max 105tons)
  • 210 ton ladder rung.
  • Cranes for erection - 600 tons/450tons
  • Manufactured in - Hanover (Eiffel)
  • Shipped from - Hamburg to Durban
  • Additional features:
  • Cable car
  • Viewing platform
  • Adventure walking
  • Big Swing

The PBC and the client made a significant contribution to the construction industry through the training and development program that was run on the Moses Mabhida Stadium project. A Training academy was set up on site and run by the PBC and upon completion R10 million had been spent on skills development. In total the academy ran 2681 skills programmes, trained 243 supervisors, employed and trained 40 students provided 24 learnership programmes and developed the skills base of 17 contractors. The academy improved the skills of 3000 people involved in the construction of the stadium.