By Wes May ECA Executive Director Email: [email protected]

There’s a “law” the construction industry called the Law of Large Projects that states any really huge job will be beset with complications—that really monster jobs will almost always come in over budget and over time to completion.

In California we have seen that “law” proven over and over again:

  • The case of the Oakland Bay Bridge (over budget by roughly $5 billion and over time by six years)
  • The Gerald Desmond replacement bridge linking Long Beach to San Pedro (18 months behind schedule now and we don’t know what the final cost will be but estimates are running close to a half billion over now)
  • The California High-Speed Rail project that was originally estimated to cost $53 billion and is now “estimated” at $81 billion…and nobody knows when if ever it will be completed…they haven’t even acquired all the right-of-way for the first segment near Fresno yet and that is the “easiest” part.

So it was not surprising that the $2.6 billion Los Angeles Rams/Chargers stadium under construction in Inglewood has been forced to add a year (and again, nobody knows how much money) to the construction schedule. This time the reason cited for the delay is rain that filled the major excavation sites at the new sports arena this past winter.

“The continuing rains really knocked us for a loop,” said Bob Aylesworth, principal in charge for the Turner/AECOM Hunt joint venture that is building the stadium told the L.A. Times. “It was a very unforgiving two months for the project. And speaking from a building perspective, it really couldn’t have come at a worse time.”

Developers gave the Times reporters several reasons why the two-month delay can’t be made up over the next two years, among them an already ambitious timetable that left little room for surprises and the lack of scheduling flexibility for a stadium housing two teams.

We think it is the Law of Large Projects at work. ECA members are participating in this project and we wish them every success on the project as we do all contractors who tackle these mammoth pieces of work.

As an association we have concentrated on smaller things, local projects that serve the public need for water, sewer, roads and the like. These projects are more manageable, more affordable for the local agencies in charge of them and, while many are innovative, none are “experimental.”

We think this is just another reason you should consider joining this association.