Lakhta Center is a multifunctional complex in St. Petersburg with the Gazprom headquarter and public spaces occupying a third of the area. Construction was completed in October 2018, now start work on the arrangement of business and public areas. The opening will take place in about a year, when the complex will be fully prepared to meet guests. »



"World of Science" и Planetarium

Transformable Hall

Observation deck

Panoramic restaurant

Project Status

December 2019:

  • Main construction and installation works are completed,
  • Preparation for the commissioning of the Complex is in progress.

Video of stages of construction

Panoramas of stages




Presentation Materials

How to Build a Super Skyscraper in Russia Quickly



How to Build a Super Skyscraper in Russia Quickly

Аlexaner Bobkov

Executive Director by Lakhta Center

Russian construction projects that are unique in complexity, scale and cost are regularly resulted in the commissioning of the facilities with a delay of a year and a half or two years, which is still considered to be a victory. Projects with costs exceeding the original estimates by several times and long overdue have already become an ordinary scandal and are no longer surprising to the general public.

The construction of Lakhta Center in Saint Petersburg (a Public and Business Center with Gazprom Group headquarters) is set to break with tradition: the Tower is growing by one floor a week on average. As we started the construction, we studied all the successful international projects worldwide to understand the best practices. In this regard, the principles of the construction speed management are worth to be discussed.

Let’s Start with a Design

The key to the successful and quick implementation of a construction project is a combination of three necessary components that must occur in the same place concurrently. These include high-quality design documentation, regular financing and fast decision-making. So, design documentation comes first.

Trying to save time and money at the stage of surveys and design documentation development, as clients often do, is not advisable. The designers selected must have all necessary competencies, including experience with unconventional projects with the use of modern design technologies. For instance, I believe that BIM design today is a crucial condition for implementing a large-scale project. A 3D model of our facility allows us to minimize the influence of the human factor, decrease the number of mistakes, and make transferring design solutions into steel, concrete and glass precise and fast.

Then Main Risks Should Be Determined

Risks in a large-scale project are hardly different from those that are faced when implementing smaller construction projects in our country. These include irregularity of supplies and failures to deliver parts and materials, the necessity to return some materials due to their low quality, failures of some of numerous subcontractors to discharge their contractual obligations, logistics issues including customs delays, negative weather influences, and other issues. However, they are different in quantity because the number of potential negative events grows proportionally to the scale of a construction project.

How do we deal with these issues? In addition to standard open and competitive selection procedures, permanent monitoring of contractors and suppliers, and high-quality planning, a thorough analysis of each stage of the project is required. We defined around one hundred key activities out of more than 20 thousand types of work activities that could not be delayed lest we make impossible concurrent or subsequent project stages, affecting the deadlines set for the entire project. Very hard work is carried out daily with respect to all these fields including continuous monitoring of the state of affairs of each link in the chain of contractors and suppliers. This has become especially critical over the past crisis year.

Use a Different Model of Contracts Execution

Standard approaches to concluding contracts turned to be inapplicable to Lakhta Center. A detailed comprehensive analysis of the project showed that the conclusion of a standard “design and build” contract was quite risky.

Given the large scope and diversity of future activities, the submission of basic design documentation to the general contractor as a brief would automatically worsen management capabilities and significantly increase the cost of the construction. This strategy usually considers a kind of compensation to the general contractor for all the risks associated with the implementation and coordination of design solutions. For Lakhta Center, we made a decision to use the strategy to execute package contracts with parallel development of working documentation by the client.

Photo by Michael Gvildes

Our main contract agreement is subdivided into packages, for which contracts are concluded sequentially based on ready design documentation developed by us. This allows us to estimate scopes accurately, determine a final equipment specification, and, as a result, get a fair price as well as revise or improve process solutions, get a well-reasoned financing schedule and transparency in the management of financing the contractors’ work. There is a detail, which is significant: such approach allowed us to separate the ruble and foreign currency components for a number of packages.

The package strategy for conclusion of contracts helps to optimize project terms and save money. And the effectiveness of management of works and financing also helps to avoid one more major pitfall of a large construction project – issues with financing of both the general contractor and the contractors performing works. Such difficulties are unavoidable in cases when a real cost of certain types of works is considerably different from costs approved at the preliminary stage of the project. At the current construction stage we managed to save extensive resources as compared to the original quotation of the general contractor. This amount saved allows us to use the most advanced MEP equipment and finish materials within the project budget.

Try Out

The principle “measure thrice and cut once” is applied and at the same time it is necessary to be on schedule. Some of the stages in the work of the Lakhta Center team have been postponed in order to do better preparation for them. The construction stage that set a world record can be mentioned as an example: the construction of the bottom slab of the Tower’s box foundation.

Our foundation slab has been included in the Guinness Book of Records. And in this case the uniqueness of our facility lies not only in its physical size but in the excellent design that ensures the necessary load-bearing capacity with optimal dimensions, and in the construction methods. “The continuous pouring of concrete mixture into this structure lasted two days. Imagine that every minute there was another large mixing truck with concrete of a strictly-determined composition entering the construction site. Each truck passed all necessary checks and incoming inspections of the mixture and moved to the concreting point in the determined sequence. Drivers and local residents did not even notice these operations. Lakhta Center Executive Director regards the success of this stage planned as a complex military operation as an “organizational and managerial victory”. But before this, changes had to be introduced into the work schedule: the stage was postponed for several months.
During that time managers, engineers, logistics specialists and workers worked on refining the method by pouring concrete into the raft foundation of the Multifunctional Building, which is larger in area but split into several parts. In such a way we had a small-scale rehearsal of the operation of immense complexity.

Put a Cohesive Team Together

The decision-making power is a fundamental principle for implementing a unique construction project. The events that can lead to a project falling behind a schedule happen, without any exaggeration, every day. This is why it is required to make decisions on complex issues almost every day. A difficult decision, which can be delayed as a consequence, is often equivalent to a suspension of the construction process. And this is unacceptable.

This is why another success factor lies in getting together a highly qualified and motivated team. In our case the effective structure of the client company was created, and a professional and cohesive team was put together, although not without some difficulties and not at once. Broadly speaking, our team consists of the general contractor, designer, engineer, construction supervision team and scientific and engineering support staff - hundreds of people involved in the project. The natural selection process leaves people not only having extensive knowledge, experience, and capable of decision making, but also highly committed to the project, for whom it is not just a work but a professional and personal challenge, in the team.

Save Resources

Sound financing is a key to meeting the project implementation deadlines. However, there is the inverse relation: the effective use of resources, ability to meet deadlines gives more grounds to approve investments.

In our case, stable financing is provided in full by the investor despite the external difficulties, which to a considerable degree confirms the effectiveness of the project team.