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How to build London 2012

Unless you're a budding sportsman or woman, chances are one of the best ways of taking part in the London 2012 Olympic Games will be in designing, programming or constructing the stadiums, transport links and buildings, or even masterplanning the green spaces in between.

Designing one of the Olympic venues will be one of the most exciting, sought after jobs ahead of the Games. The main Ł496M stadium is being designed by architects HOK Sport, consulting engineers Buro Happold and contractor Sir Robert McAlpine. The Aquatics centre, home to the swimming and diving pools, is being designed by Arup and will be built by Balfour Beatty. Both will start onsite in summer 2008. These are just two of nine sports venues within the Olympic Parks currently being designed or procured. There is also work outside the park at places like the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy and the Eton Dorney rowing venue.

The ground engineering of the Olympic Park is the bit you won't see in 2012, but is probably the most important part of the regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley. The area was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War and is likely to be filled with an array of chemical nasties from the factories that once stood there. The remediation and demolition work is being carried out by contractors Galliford Try/Morrisons and Nuttall and must be completed in time for construction next summer.

Getting athletes and spectators from A to B will be one of the biggest challenges of the 2012 Olympics. Jobs will range from building pedestrian routes between venues in the Olympic Park to building a new train station or planning a new, dedicated bus service. There will be no car parking at the Olympic Park, so the scope for highways work will be limited. However, in Weymouth they are planning to build a relief road to cope with increased traffic. The majority of transport work will be rail-based, and mainly Transport for London projects including the Ł1bn East London Line extension and the Docklands Light Railway extension to Stratford.

The Lower Lea Valley, the site of the Olympic Park, is criss-crossed with rivers and canals. Waterways in the Olympic park are currently lined with high concrete or sheet-piled retaining walls. To transform the area from one of industrial decay to something more like Hyde Park and the Serpentine, retaining walls will be broken out and replaced with less severe gradients that will lead down to waterways with reed beds and wetland areas. A Ł12M lock to control the tidal flow on the Olympic waterways is currently under construction and there is the small matter of providing potable water to the Olympic Park itself.

Construction of the Olympic Park will be managed by the ODA's delivery partner CLM Đ a consortium of Ch2M Hill, Laing O'Rourke and Mace. CLM will be overseeing a range of projects from infrastructure works to venue construction, each needing to be individually project managed. There are also associated Olympic projects, such as the neighbouring Stratford City development, which includes the Athletes' Village. This Ł4bn real estate scheme is being developed by Australian shopping mall firm Westfield and developer Lend Lease.

Perhaps you like the sound of being a part of every aspect of civil engineering and would prefer working your way around the various departments of one of the local authorities involved with the Olympics. Not all of these are in London as many events will be staged around the country. Your local council's sporting facilities might also be used to help train athletes from visiting countries and need some form of renovation.

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