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Aquatics Centre opens as London 2012 starts its one year countdown

With exactly a year to go until the start of the London 2012 Games, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has announced that the Aquatics Centre is now complete, the last of the six main Olympic Park venues to finish construction.

The Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Handball Arena, Basketball Arena and the International Broadcast Centre were all completed earlier this year.

Construction giant Balfour Beatty constructed the Aquatics Centre, which is being unveiled today with British Olympic hopeful Tom Daley making the first dive into the pool this evening.

Back in July 2006, the ODA set out a challenging brief to clean and clear the Olympic Park site and build the new venues and infrastructure needed in time for test events by the summer of 2011 - a year before the Games.

“The Aquatics Centre will be a fantastic gateway to the Games in 2012 and a much-needed new community and elite sporting venue for the capital afterwards,” said ODA chairman John Armitt.

“Five years ago, in July 2006, we published a delivery timetable which set out the ambitious target to complete the main venues a year before the Games. Today, with the completion of the sixth main permanent venue, I am proud to say that we have delivered on that commitment. This has now been achieved on time, to budget and with a safety record far better than the industry average.”

“The completion of the Aquatics Centre is the latest chapter in a British success story where tens of thousands of workers and business from across the UK have demonstrated the ability of this country to successfully deliver major projects.”

“With construction now complete on the Aquatics Centre, we are another step closer to the spectacular Olympic Park which will be host to world class sport in 2012,” said London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Locog) Chair Sebastian Coe.

Construction started on the Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre just over three years ago in June 2008 and has been completed on time and with an exemplary safety record. Over 3630 people have worked on the construction of the venue and over 370 UK businesses have won contracts including the steel for the roof from Wales, pool lights from Scotland, pumps from Bedfordshire, under-floor heating by a company from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and water testing done by a  Flintshire-based business.

In total, over 40,000 people have worked on the Park since April 2008 and over 1500 direct contracts worth £6bn have been distributed to thousands of companies across the UK.

Firms working on the Aquatics Centre include:

  • Alcontrol Laboratories from Flintshire - water testing
  • Aqua Pharos from east Kilbride, Scotland - pool lights
  • Grunfoss from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire – pumps
  • HJL Underflooring from  Newcastle-upon-Tyne - underfloor heating
  • Littlewood Fencing from  Battle, East Sussex - timber deck surfacing
  • Pitchmastic PMB, from  Sheffield - waterproofing services
  • Rowecord from Newport, Wales - steel for the roof
  • Response Safety Setting from Stafffordshire - safety netting checks
  • Straight line Services from Dartford, Kent - safety grilles
  • Sound Research Laboratories, Suffolk - acoustic services
  • Cordek from Slinfold, West Sussex - diving board moulds

Readers' comments (5)

  • Excellent news. Got to be good for the UK's reputation in construction.

    I am regularly surprised to find that our own magazine often fails to mention the engineering consultants in these sorts of articles. Got the architect and the main contractor here, but could you tell us who the designers were?

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  • Barry Walton

    Dear 'Justposted', Read the Engineering Special Issues Proceedings. CH2M (originally from a university campus in rural Oregon) sit on top of the pile so the NCE might have had purpose when they missed them out!

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  • @Barry: But they are the delivery partner, not the designers. In the end I googled it. Looks like BDOnline has the full set of designers (pasted below). Would be nice if NCE could add similar info to their articles.

    Architect Zaha Hadid Architects, Client ODA, Structural & services engineer Arup, Contractor Balfour Beatty, Sports architect S & P Architects, Reinforced concrete subcontractor A J Morrisroe, Roofing subcontractor Lakesmere, Steel roof subcontractor Rowecord Engineering, Timber ceiling Finnforest Merk

    Now that I'm on a roll: you'll notice that the project as a whole is stated as being on on time and to budget, but AC itself as being on time and .... with a good safety record. I'm guessing it overspent then. Anyone know the story there?

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  • It's interesting how this article shows the Handball arena as its main image. Arup undertook the structural design, including the temp seating.

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  • I believe that this is the only venue that had major cost problems, to do with the climate control - setting different levels for the athletes and spectators. But the overall program is under budget despite this individual overspend.
    It's something to be proud of no doubt, and is the result of some impressive collaberation, but one wonders if the general downturn in work since 2008 helped in no small part for securing lower prices all round?

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