One of these days, POW to the moon!

Tocci Stock

Today’s blog post is from Bud LaRosa, Tocci’s Chief Business Performance Officer

Well maybe not to the moon but certainly into space.  I have always loved achievable “big audacious goals” (BAGS) and Japan’s Obayashi Corp.’s space elevator certainly meets my criteria.  Obayashi’s planning to build its 96,000km elevator by 2050.

What really caught my attention about this concept was thinking about how to execute it. There needs to be an integration of several trends currently occurring in the construction industry.   They are:

  • 3P’s        Public Private Partnership
  • IPD         Integrated Project Delivery
  • BIM        Building Information Modeling


A project this size would stretch the bounds of a public private partnership as we currently know it.  No single business entity or nation could afford to finance the endeavor.  Several nations and private investors would have to agree to help finance the project.   At least one nation (on the equator – due to reliance on centrifugal forces to keep the ribbon taut would have to agree to provide a location.


Like the financing aspect, no one company would be able to manage/assume the risk of a project this size. The IPD “Team” approach would be necessary for a project this size.  The IPD model – is where the major contractors, designers, key consultants and owners act as one firm to optimize project results by maximizing efficiency through all phases of design fabrication and construction.

This approach – in which participants share in both the risk and reward – would eliminate major issues that would be created by each stakeholder acting independently (typical of most construction projects today) without consideration of implications for the whole project.  The risk/reward component incentivizes the IPD team to eliminate waste (i.e. reduce costs) in the design.  For these reasons the team approach of IPD, would be a logical delivery choice for a project of this magnitude.


Obayashi believes the project will start in 2025 and will be complete in 2050.  The changes in technology over this 25 year span will be incredible (think of last 25 years).  BIM  will allow for changes in materials or technologies to be incorporated into the model as the project is being built.

When completed, the vision contemplates a seven and ½ day elevator ride (200km/hour), a terminal station with laboratories and living space.  The cost is yet to be determined, but it is expected there will be significant cost savings for future space development.

Imagine, seven and ½ days of elevator music.  Blissful!!



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  1. Interesting read Bud. It’s got a light touch on the facts with just a little bit of that sandpaper humor you exude so gracefully.

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