London Stadium, UK

London Stadium, UK

The £481 million 80,000-seat London 2012 stadium was the centrepiece of one of the world’s most successful and sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games. Along with most other venues and infrastructure for the £7.3 billion games, it was procured by the Olympic Delivery Authority using NEC.

Four years later, the stadium has finally been transformed into a multi-use arena capable of delivering world-class sporting and cultural events – ranging from athletics, football and rugby to motor sport and concerts. It is now home to West Ham United football club and is the national stadium for UK athletics.

The £272 million transformation was again procured using NEC, though this time for E20 Stadium LLP. This is a joint venture of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) – which completed an award-winning £286 million transformation of the former Olympic Park also using NEC – and the London Borough of Newham.

Multiple contracts

The stadium transformation work started in July 2013 when Balfour Beatty was engaged under a £41 million NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option A (priced contract with activity schedule) to carry out the main structural works.

The existing roof was completely removed and a new 45,000m2 roof – the longest cantilevered roof in the world – was installed, covering all seats and improving acoustics for matches and concerts.  It also re-uses the iconic floodlight towers, 6km of cabling, 3,800 lights, 1,000 mechanical and electrical components and 19,000t of demolition material.

Alto/Sapa was then engaged under ECC Option A to design and install an innovative retractable seating system, which extends the seating from 60,000 capacity in football mode to 80,000 in concert mode. Finally Portview Fitout completed the hospitality areas – including 16 executive boxes and 3,600 corporate hospitality seats – again under ECC Option A.

Stop-start sequence

Unusually, the whole project had to stop half-way through so the part-finished stadium could host matches for the Rugby World Cup competition during September and October 2015.

LLDC executive director Colin Naish says, ‘We had to pause the construction, bring the stadium back up to an operational standard exactly on time for the rugby, take it back into construction mode and then still complete everything on time for the summer 2016 events.’  These included a sell-out AC/DC concert in June 2016 and, more critically, West Ham’s first Europa league game in early August.

'NEC was perfectly able to deal with the unique stop–start nature of the works,’ says Naish. ‘Through the flexible structure of the contract, the careful drafting of the works information and the use of early warnings to flush things out as early as possible, we had clear visibility of the programme and our performance against it at all times. This was essential to ensure we met the various fixed events while staying within budget.’

Benefits of using NEC

  • NEC is now a tried and tested procurement method for delivering critically important venues and infrastructure exactly on time and within budget
  • NEC contract processes provide the client with full visibility of the programme and performance against the programme at all times
  • Through a flexible contract structure and careful drafting of works information, NEC enables successful delivery of complex construction/operation sequences
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