Wave of the future: RLB makes North America's first-ever inland surf park a reality

June 22, 2015.

Wave of the future: RLB makes North America's first-ever inland surf park a reality

NLand Surf Park in Austin, Texas, will not only be the first-ever inland surf park in North America, but it will also be another uniquely complex project in the Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) portfolio. The property and construction consultancy firm, an award-winning global leader in project management and construction cost consulting, is no stranger to challenging projects. It has worked on the world’s top resorts and sports projects including The Hilton Grand Waikikian, Honolulu, HI; Proposed Farmers Field NFL Stadium, Los Angeles, CA; and the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, Singapore.

NLand Surf Park, set to open in Spring 2016, is a modern, first-of-its-kind surfer’s playground that poses a range of construction challenges that require cost-saving design and water management strategies for the 113-acre park.

RLB’s Austin office, led by dedicated Project Manager Don Miller, is serving as project manager and design coordinator for NLand Surf Park. The firm originally provided budgeting services and went on to serve as design coordinator, ensuring designs meet certain cost-saving criteria, in a full owner’s representative role.

The revolutionary park will feature a lagoon about the size of nine football fields with eleven surfing areas and proprietary Wavegarden® technology to create one-foot, four-foot, and perfectly tubing six-foot waves. The project scope includes building the main lagoon, building its proprietary equipment foundation, and constructing a pier and boardwalks.

“We are delighted to serve NLand Surf Park on this intensely complex project,” stated Julian Anderson, President of RLB in North America. “Our experts have participated at every level of the development and we look forward to helping make this exciting park a reality.”

Innovative, sustainable water management system saves cost and environment

The lagoon is self-sustaining and will be filled with water only once. The entire site has been shaped so that rainwater channels into the reservoir. To further minimize water loss and cost, the lagoon bathymetry was designed via computer modeling to create perfect waves.

NLand Founder and CEO Doug Coors remarked, “We designed the park to tread lightly on the land and all its resources, especially water. Even in the most challenging drought conditions, we will be capable of operating the lagoon with only rainwater.”

Firm applies strategic tactics to solve budget, building codes, and design issues

NLand Surf Park is a private investment using no taxpayer dollars. RLB reprioritized the project schedule and budget – so that the lagoon can function and the park can begin generating revenue as soon as possible – and mitigated cost over-run risks. This includes ensuring the proper phasing, that wave equipment testing occurs, and that the park’s entrance and parking are prioritized for completion.

Cost-saving design strategies include designing out poured-in-place concrete pier supports from the support and amenity building design, and replacing them with gravel and pavers. This allows the foundation supports to move as they would on a natural beach and waterfront.

To enhance sustainability initiatives, RLB suggested an on-site nursery and the substitution of drought tolerant native species for invasive non-native plants. “We view NLand as a long-term, long-vision project,” said Miller “the trees, plants, and sod will grow in naturally over time, reducing initial landscaping costs. Removing invasive non-native plants and replacing them with drought tolerant native species will also greatly reduce water consumption.”

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About RLB

With a network that covers the globe and a heritage spanning over two centuries, Rider Levett Bucknall is a leading independent organisation in cost management and quantity surveying, project management and advisory services.

Our achievements are renowned: from the early days of pioneering quantity surveying, to landmark projects such as the Sydney Opera House, HSBC Headquarters Building in Hong Kong, the 2012 London Olympic Games and CityCenter in Las Vegas.

We continue this successful legacy with our dedication to the value, quality and sustainability of the built environment. Our innovative thinking, global reach, and flawless execution push the boundaries. Taking ambitious projects from an idea to reality.