Adelaide Oval SMA, Adelaide Oval Arena LED & Lighting Upgrade

Adelaide Oval Arena LED & Lighting Upgrade
Adelaide Oval SMA
Lump Sum Design & Construct
$2.6 Million


  • Winner 2018 AIB Professional Excellence in Building Awards (SA Chapter) Commercial Construction Up to $5 Million
  • Winner 2018 AIB Professional Excellence in Building Awards (National Chapter) Commercial Construction Up to $5 Million

Sarah Constructions partnered with Mott MacDonald, Kojo, Philips Lighting and fellow South Australian Companies, Programmed Electrical Technologies and Big Screen Video to manage the installation of a world class LED and lighting upgrades to Adelaide Oval. The bespoke electrical works have put Adelaide Oval on the global stage, bringing it in line with the AV capabilities of the world’s best stadiums, attracting more international artists and adding serious “wow” factor to sporting events.

From project inception, Sarah Constructions Design Manager Sean Aplin provided pre-construction expertise on this highly technical project brief, with the construction phase led by NAWIC award-winning Project Manager Melisha Willington. The Sarah team programmed and coordinated the complex technical upgrades; including roof lighting and cable replacement, 360 degree LED on ground and tiered levels, plus a centralised control system for synchronised displays (watch the video illustration).

Working within a live stadium environment produced multiple programming challenges throughout the AFL Finals, SANFL Finals, the transition to cricket season, A League soccer and other sell out events. With high-risk works on multiple fronts and a demanding construction schedule, Sarah collaborated with specialist subcontractors early in the tender process to produce a detailed and bespoke construction methodology; not only to afford all site workers optimum safety assurances, but also to allow all major public events to go ahead according to the client’s schedule.

Dazzling screen and lighting upgrades put Adelaide Oval on the world stage

Adelaide Oval LED lighting night image

Design Challenges and Creative Solutions

  • A significant proportion of the works were considered high risk due to working at great heights. It was not always possible to use a boom lift, so the Sarah team contracted a specialist rigging company to design and build three swing stages (hanging scaffold system) to complete works to the leading edge of the roof canopies.
  • The major challenge was coordinating works around the Adelaide Oval’s public event schedule. Through detailed and collaborative forward planning, the Sarah team produced a thorough and bespoke construction methodology delivering the project ahead of schedule. Lights and advertising commitments had to be fully operational for each event, so each week, blocks of work were completed then packed up for the next game, while existing technology was integrated with the upgrades.
  • Safety of the public was paramount as daily tours of Adelaide Oval continued as well as general maintenance by their grounds staff. The Sarah team managed this by implementing stringent safety procedures and allocating dedicated safety resources to the project. An internal and external safety audit were also conducted during the four-month project.

Client Outcomes

  • The project was completed within four months, ahead of the planned public launch at the Day/Night Ashes Test match in December. During construction, every major event in Adelaide Oval’s calendar went ahead as scheduled. Completion came two weeks ahead of schedule, enabling the client to showcase the new displays at a large private event for their guests and clients.
  • Adelaide Oval’s vision was achieved on budget. Sarah’s design team exercised value management and cost saving initiatives to ensure the desired “wow” factor could be achieved within the client’s set financial parameters.
  • Completion of this project has further enhanced the stadium’s capability to showcase major sporting events and international music acts. It has also been reported the installation of LED lighting through the upgrade will reduce electricity consumption by 15-30%.
  • The project is a true South Australian success story and has been reported widely in the media. Adelaide Oval has since been shortlisted in two categories at the The Stadium Business Awards, which recognise leadership, innovation and achievement in the delivery, operation and management of sports facilities across the globe. The delivery of this project allows Adelaide Oval to be marketed globally as a premier entertainment venue.

Sarah Value-Add

  • Sarah Constructions brought a project vision to reality and defined a scope of works and methodology for an extremely complex install, where no documentation existed. This was achieved through close collaboration with the client, their partners and specialist subcontractors to understand every requirement, risk and cost, leaving nothing to chance. A detailed document was produced for all involved in the project to understand.
  • Sarah selected subcontractors with high-level expertise and engaged at a partnership level to deliver this project. Programmed Electrical Technologies, for example, were consulted early in the pre-construction phase in a collaborative effort to understand and quote on the complex job scope.
  • Sarah coordinated directly with third party contractors to ensure all responsibilities and deadlines were met. An example of this was the client’s pre-selected light fittings supplier. This additional relationship and risk management avoided unnecessary delays to program.
  • Sarah Constructions meticulous programming on site accommodated all event days, including some unscheduled events. For example, additional events surrounding The Adelaide Crows finals campaign was accommodated with short notice through close planning between all parties to mitigate the time lost and so no additional costs were incurred for the client.

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