Case Studies & Research

Case Study

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Prime, prep and coat every connection in 27,000 tons of steel. While suspended from the air.

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Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Opened: 2017

Owner: Georgia World Congress Center Authority

Key Tenant: Atlanta Falcons

Architect: HOK, tvsdesign, Goode Van Slyke, Stanley Beaman & Sears

Project Manager: Darden & Company

General Contractor: HHRM, JV

Structural Engineer: BuroHappold Engineering/Hoberman

Industrial Painting Contractor: Champion Painting Specialty Services Corp.

Services Engineer: WSP

Size: 2,000,000 sq. ft.; 30 stories

Seats: 71,000, expandable to 75,000

Total Structural Steel: 27,000 tons

Scope of Work: Clean & put 3-coat systems on all weld, nut and bolt connections.

This $1.5 billion stadium, host of the 2019 Super Bowl, pushes every design boundry. A 16-story window soars on one side, while eight triangular steel and glass sections form the rest of the LEED platinum stadium. It’s also a technological wonder, with fully interactive game-day experiences that include the world’s largest video screen. But its most unique feature is the stunning retractable roof, with multiple panels that slide open like a camera aperature to resemble a falcon wing.

Champion Painting Specialty Services Corp. (Champion) was selected to clean and apply 3-coat systems on every weld, nut and bolt connection in the stadium’s 27,000-ton steel skeleton to prevent corrosion and extend the stadium’s longevity.


“Without the skills and safety training of our IUPAT workforce, working in the air suspended from ropes could have cost lives. Instead, we didn’t have a single recordable injury in the stadium.”

Bob Souchuck, Corporate Quality Control and Safety Director
Champion Painting
Services Corp.

The Challenge

Originally, 90% of Champion’s work was to be done on the ground, with 10% aerial. But since the steel skeleton was erected early and was too angular for cranes, 100% of the work needed to be done using rope access. This meant the entire process had to be quickly refigured. And the structure was so complex, the steel network holding up the roof and video board alone had 850,000 bolts. Also, an accidental omission in the construction schedule meant Champion couldn’t bring in all the necessary equipment.

The Solution

After initially hiring an IUPAT rope access crew from Canada, Champion soon formed their own specialized rope access team. To meet the project schedule and have access to all the equipment they needed, Champion collaborated closely with other trades, who let them use their equipment at night. The team worked 16-hour double shifts for two years to complete the project on time, against all odds.

The IUPAT Industry Partner Advantage

“Most everyone in our company is an IUPAT member, so even management has that intense training to know what it takes,” states Bob Souchuck, Corporate QC and Safety Director of Champion Painting, a Florida-based specialty coating company. “And the certifications we achieve through IUPAT are crucial to being invited to bids. In fact, there are only a handful of Master Coatings Inspectors in North America, and we have two of them.”

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