Barclaycard Arena

Revamping one of the West Midlands’ biggest arenas.

When it opened in 1991, the former National Indoor Arena (NIA) was the largest of its kind in the UK, hosting a variety of national and international events including: concerts, business conferences and exhibitions. But by 2012, almost 20 years on, the venue was falling short of space and modern entertainment standards.

In 2014, the NEC Group appointed Gleeds to cost manage the refurbishment and extension of the arena. Their vision was to reclaim the venue’s position as one of Birmingham’s leading attractions, as well as being one of the West Midlands’ biggest arenas.

A better and bigger space

6,000m2 of space was added to the venue in just over 6 months.  The extension increased the arena capacity by 3,000 people, using a combination of permanent and temporary seating configurations.

New facilities include:

  • A spacious meeting hall accompanied by multiple restaurants
  • Private/corporate hospitality areas
  • Merchandising stands
  • VIP lounges
  • Bars and recreational facilities

Key challenges and solutions

To minimise the impact of construction on bookings, the client arranged for two 12-13 week windows for building work to take place. With such a short time to complete the work required, planning was key. Our team took care of:

  • Balancing client aspirations within the available budget
  • Detailing cost options during client workshop meetings
  • Carrying out risk assessments to identify and mitigate risk during the works
  • Providing a detailed and robust cost plan to control price fluctuations during the pre-construction period

The venue was renamed Barclaycard Arena after its renovation in 2014 and now welcomes over half a million visitors a year, attracting some of the world’s top talent and sporting events.

Did you know... 

Barclaycard Arena officially opened with a performance by singer Michael Bublé on 2nd December 2014. Since re-opening the Arena’s NPS scores have increased dramatically, demonstrating the enhanced audience experience. 

The ROI is on track through greater yields per show and more major events have been attracted to the Arena and Birmingham e.g  the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships.


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Paul Baston Risk

Paul Baston
Global Head of Risk