Racing towards the Singapore Grand Prix

Suhaily Ahmat Samsi
The Singapore Grand Prix is one of the stand-out events on the Formula 1® calendar and it’s not just for fans of motorsport. In the past decade, the race promoter has extended the action beyond the track and it now draws a large and diverse crowd. So how do you squeeze all of the energy and excitement into one city centre?

Suhaily Asamsi, who is the lead project drafter at Faithful+Gould, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, is one of the people responsible for helping the promoter, Singapore GP Pte Ltd, turn its vision for the Grand Prix into a reality. ‘I help our client visualise the entire site,’ she says. ‘From the grandstands to the food and beverage outlets and even the services. To do this, I create a detailed drawing that shows every facility on the park.’

Faithful+Gould, the engineering project manager of the Grand Prix, oversees the construction and removal of the five kilometre street racing circuit and the supporting temporary facilities. The circuit plan, as it’s called, that Suhaily produces is the blueprint for their work.

‘The circuit plan is the document we refer to throughout the planning and construction process,’ Suhaily explains. ‘It provides an overview of the park and helps the promoter see how their ideas are being implemented. It also allows us to discuss new features or facilities with them and show them how they will look on site. The circuit plan gives our client the confidence to move ahead with the changes or we work together to identify an alternative.’

Suhaily’s primary drawing is accompanied by more than 700 smaller, more detailed layouts that indicate what services and internal fit-out will be needed for each facility. The requirements at each location are specified, which means the furnishings and services can then be ordered. After that, the plan is passed to the contractor so they can start the build and installation.

Any modifications to the plan must be carefully considered. A change to one facility has implications for others. For example, moving a generator may seem straightforward but it will have an impact on cost and power supply. And if several vendors request modifications Suhaily's role can quickly become more challenging.

She uses her technical expertise and event experience to spot potential problems and recommend solutions. She says good time management, communication and team work are vital when you’re trying to manage that level of complexity and meet an immovable deadline. ‘We need to ensure we’re helping our client stage a spectacular event so all of the information that underpins success must be in my circuit plan.’ And there is no time for uncertainty over the detail. Construction starts as early as July for the September event. But in the final month before the race, construction teams work round the clock. ‘

So how does she manage the challenges that a fixed deadline and a high-profile event bring?

‘I’ve been doing this for seven years and it doesn’t get easier, there are always new things to consider,’ she says. ‘I joined Faithful+Gould as a temporary drafter, producing fit-outs for individual structures. Over the years, I learned more about the Grand Prix, our client and their partners, as well as the patrons. I also developed my understanding of working with government agencies and adhering to local regulations. I was thrilled when I was given the chance to take on the full-time role of circuit planner, which gives me a unique perspective on the park. Since then, my confidence has grown because of the amazing people I’ve met and had the chance to interact with.’

‘I didn’t expect to be working on a sports and lifestyle event but it has been an incredible experience. We help to design an event from the ground up and dismantle it weeks later. I really enjoy being involved in that extraordinary transformation of the site.’

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