Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

No.20 The London 2012 Olympics


The opening ceremony of the 30th Olympic Games will take place tomorrow in what just seven years ago was an industrial wasteland.

The construction of the London 2012 stadiums and infrastructure, both within the Olympic Park and elsewhere in the country, on time and to budget has been a major success for civil engineering.

Add in the impressive sustainability, local economy and health and safety achievements and this £9.3bn project has gone a long way to restoring the reputation of the industry in the UK.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), led by chairman Sir John Armitt, drove the construction project from the outset, with CLM - a consortium of CH2M Hill, Laing O’Rourke and Mace - appointed as delivery partner.

Keeping the project on track turned out to be quite a task with a turbulent seven years including a credit crunch, a global economic crisis, a change of government and a major austerity drive.

Tough decisions were made along the way - ditching the Park’s wind turbine; stripping costs out by re-engineering and ditching the wrap around the main stadium; and using government funding for the Athletes’ Village.

But the project appears to have overcome all these hurdles to ease over the finish line.

Demolition began on the Olympic Park in late 2006, with earthworks underway by May 2007.

Enabling works on the Park were undertaken by Atkins, Arup, Bam Nuttall, Morrison Construction and Capita Symonds.

By May 2008, construction of the Olympic Stadium and Athletes’ Village had begun.

Sir Robert McAlpine was the main contractor for the stadium, with Buro Happold as structural and services engineer. Lend Lease was the developer for the Village, and built several of its 11 residential towers.

The other venues got underway over the next 18 months, with 2010 the busiest year for the mammoth project.

The Olympics construction workforce increased to about 11,000 people that year, with up to 1,000 deliveries of materials each day.

All the work has paid off . A year before the Games were due to begin, all main venues were ready to be handed over by the ODA to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games.

It was a sign of how well the industry has done on the project, that all the negative headlines in the run-up to the Games surrounded security and logistical issues rather than infrastructure.

If Team GB performs as well as the country’s civils industry, the national anthem will get a good airing.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.