The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is the largest stadium in the southern hemisphere. Located in Yarra Park, the MCG is recognised as an Australian icon, hosting significant sporting events such as the 1956 Summer Olympics, two Cricket World Cups (1992 and 2015) and the AFL Grand Finals.
Despite its large holding capacity, the MCG experienced empty stands for the majority of 2020 due to Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdown. When the return of the Australian Rules Football was announced for March 26, 2021; fans were bursting with anticipation and excitement. The prestigious stadium wanted to give something back to the loyal sporting fans, by delivering a visually appealing transformation of the Great Southern Stand’s concourse floors. In addition to this, they wanted a paint that could withstand the regular deep cleans required to ensure patron safety in this unprecedented time.
Given the short period between the end of the cricket season and the start of the football season, there was enormous pressure to get the works done quickly, without sacrificing quality. As Programmed has been working with the MCG for close to five decades, it is no surprise that they engaged Programmed as their trusted expert maintenance partners for this challenging project.
Originally the Programmed team had two weeks to prepare a comprehensive plan to repaint Level One. However, as it got closer to commencing the project, the team were also asked to repaint Level Four and the basement. To accommodate this scope and workload which had significantly increased in just a matter of days, Programmed deftly adjusted plans, schedules and supply orders to ensure there would be sufficient quantity of paint to still complete the project in time.
To deliver the quality result the MCG sought, Programmed first had to grind the floor and apply a coating of Sikafloor, the highest quality paint on the market. Characterised by durability, this harder and thicker paint would withstand the frequent washing and rigorous cleaning regimes of the MCG necessary to ensure a clean site for patrons, as well as one that was healthy and safe. Given this speciality product was measured by weight rather than metres; it required adequate preparatory work to ensure the correct quantities were combined for the mixture. Various stakeholders from the MCG and the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), the mandated guardians of the MCG, were engaged throughout the planning and implementation phases to ensure the eventual solution would meet their standards and provide the best possible adhesion.
The looming start of the football season and long-awaited return to in-person games also put a lot of pressure on food vendors to be fully stocked for the large crowds expected. As a result, there was the additional challenge of unexpectedly heavy foot traffic as tonnes of food supply deliveries coincided with the painting project’s commencement. This could have damaged the floors if not managed appropriately. Programmed dynamically shifted plans and work to cater for the increased traffic, working around the needs of various vendors and food deliveries while still ensuring the floors were immaculately recoated ahead of Game Day.
Through skilful planning and expert workmanship, the more than 11,000 square meters of MCG concourse flooring were fully re-coated, primed and ready for the throng of football fans. In addition to high-quality aesthetics, the floors had to meet a Pendulum test slip rating, which they passed with flying colours.
It was another quality outcome the MCG, MCC and Programmed could all be proud of, and the faces of the thousands of excited fans when the football season resumed made it all the more worthwhile.