English Championship football club Birmingham City has confirmed plans to introduce safe standing at St. Andrew’s and announced that repair work in the lower sections of the Kop and Tilton Road stands is scheduled for completion during the 2023-24 season.
Sections of St. Andrew’s have been closed for the best part of two seasons due to structural issues. This has resulted in a significant reduction in stadium capacity and the club announced in October that it hoped St. Andrew’s would return to full working order in time for the start of the 2023-24 season.
The club used the World Cup break in November and December to carry out some repair work, including the removal of all pre-cast concrete units from the affected stands to expose the areas underneath. The remaining work is set to be completed during the summer.
In a statement released today (Tuesday), Birmingham said that contractors have given the target completion date of September 15 for the redevelopment of the lower Tilton Road stand, where the safe standing area will be located, with a test event to be held prior to a men’s first team match. The date is dependent on the planned works being granted statutory approvals and the final structural analysis results being expected, with the club stating that the date could be subject to change.
Remedial work in the lower Kop will progress simultaneously but this section is not set to be completed until November 16, a date that is also based on the aforementioned approvals and analysis results. The design of the lower Kop will mirror the previous seating plan, with coloured lettering making up ‘BCFC’ and the ball and globe in the centre. Improvements will also be made to accessible areas.
Birmingham has confirmed that rail seating will be installed in all blocks of the lower Tilton Road stand. The design will include a fold-down chair and a handrail that separates each row.
Blocks 2 and 4 of the Tilton Road stand will also include new accessible seating for the first time, capable of hosting 12 wheelchairs with adjacent companion seating. New accessible facilities will also be fitted nearby to serve supporters located in the new Tilton area.
A percentage of the safe-standing area will be allocated for match-by-match purchasers, and supporters who were seated in the lower Tilton Road stand in the 2019-20 season are guaranteed a space for safe standing. The club anticipates that around 1,000 spaces will be available for season ticket holders to relocate into the new development.
Birmingham will begin the next phase of the stadium work on May 9, following the conclusion of the 2022-23 season. A confirmed opening date for each stand and a full programme of work will be shared with supporters as soon as the club is in receipt of decisions from the local authorities regarding the statutory regulations.
The club has appointed Mace to provide project management, cost management and employer agent services during the redevelopment. AFL Architects is also working in collaboration with the club on the design aspect of the remedial works, while Ramboll is acting as structural and geotechnical engineers. The main body of work is being undertaken by Buckingham Group.
St. Andrew’s has not been open in its entirety since before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.