Co-op Live: UK’s largest arena build sees £150m of construction orders go to local firms


Co-op Live, the UK’s largest entertainment arena currently being built in Manchester, is providing an economical boost to the area as it has been revealed that almost £150m of construction orders have been placed with local companies.

Described as the UK’s answer to Madison Square Garden, the £350m venue developed by OVG is being built by Salford-based BAM Construction.

The team behind Co-op Live is committed to local procurement, and a range of businesses across Greater Manchester and the wider North West region are being used to help create the venue, with a dozen firms from the region already engaged in the project.

It has been revealed that 9,000 tons of steelwork will be provided from a depot in Bolton, while a huge order for mechanical and electrical works has been placed with a firm based on Altrincham Road in Manchester, SES. Meanwhile, the venue’s façade and roof are being delivered by a firm in Cheadle.

Other services that will be provided by local companies include concrete, grouting, and lifts, plus smaller contracts for hoardings, welfare, catering, and security.

OVG claims its goal for Co-op Live is ‘to create one of the best and most sustainable live entertainment arenas in Europe. The construction project is one of the biggest to commence nationally since the onset of Covid and will provide a much-needed boost for the local construction industry at a critical time for economic recovery after the pandemic.’

In addition to material and services procurement, the arena will also create thousands of jobs. At its peak, Co-op Live’s construction site will see some 400 people working on it daily. BAM estimates that more than 2,000 people will work on the site over its three-year construction phase, comprising the majority of the 3,350 total jobs the project will support from now to 2023.

OVG has forecast that Co-op Live will create a further 1,000 jobs when operational.

An apprenticeship program is set to be announced as the construction program accelerates. Inclusion and diversity are embedded into BAM’s workforce goals, around gender parity, and diversity (as an example at least 15% of employees from ethnic minority backgrounds), at least 5% of employees who identify as LGBTQ+ and employees who live with disabilities are appropriately supported.

Tim Leiweke, Chief Executive OVG, said: “The beginning of the construction of Co-op Live is an exciting step in our plans to deliver one of Europe’s best and most sustainable arenas for Manchester.

“Co-op Live is an arena by Manchester, for Manchester, and of Manchester. Since revealing our plans last year, we have remained committed to maximizing the benefits it brings to the city and the whole North West. Today’s milestone of £150m in orders for local firms is a proud moment for the project and will help support local jobs and ensure the positive impact of our investment is being felt already.”

Robert Doherty, operations director for SES (Engineering Services) Strategic Projects, which is delivering the full Mechanical and Electrical works for the scheme said:

“As a local contractor our team mainly live and work in and around Manchester and this project has a real buzz about it. It has got everyone here excited and it is terrific for us to be involved. We are engaging with our own supply chain ensuring that packages are delivered by companies from the Manchester area. We will have over 100 people working on this project, creating opportunities for local people to be involved.”

Work has started, with millions of pounds of bulk excavation and remediation work underway that will provide work for the region’s hauliers and plant companies.

Ian Fleming, director of BAM Construction in the North West, said:

“The highly digital way we work allows us to achieve the sustainability demanded by the most ambitious clients in the world and it attracts young entrants to our profession. Working smarter means working safer for those 2000 people that will cross our boundary and using technology and techniques like off-site manufacturing.

“We rely on the quality of our supply chain here in the North West and how well we work with them to integrate all these elements together. Greater Manchester has got the talent and resources we need, and it means BAM’s work here for this northern landmark will boost the local economy and bring big social benefits for people living here, all of which is a source of great pride to me.”


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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at print and digital magazines and websites around the world covering everything from lifestyle to sport, technology, motoring, and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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