Now it’s Scotland’s turn
As the London Games get underway, Glasgow is busy preparing venues and infrastructure for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Jan-Carlos Kucharek previews what’s in the pipeline and the long-term regeneration legacy.
It’s been overshadowed by the London 2012 Olympics, but the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is out of the blocks, with exactly two years to go before the opening ceremony. Four major new venues are under construction, plus an Athlete’s Village to serve the 6,500 or so athletes who will be participating. And just as in Stratford, the Games should help to leave a housing, transport and regeneration legacy in the Clyde Gateway, a corridor running from the south-east of the city to the towns of Lanarkshire.
Since Glasgow became the winning bidder in November 2009, Glasgow City Council has been coordinating the huge task of creating a new sports campus and Athletes’ Village in the Dalmarnock area of the city, together with redeveloping an existing facility in Tollcross into an Olympic-standard aquatics venue, and co-opting Foster + Partners’ Hydro Arena, which was already planned for a riverside site on the western side of the city.
But to connect the new facilities and the Clyde Gateway in the east to the venues in the rest of the city, significant new transport infrastructure is being built. A new five mile, £690m extension to the M74 opened last year to link the eastern campus with the M8, the transport artery between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Earlier this year, the final section of the Clyde Gateway road was also completed. As well as supporting long-term economic development, the £25m project will support the Games by linking Celtic Park, the location of the opening ceremony, to the Commonwealth Arena, Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and Athletes’ Village.
In addition, around 700 new homes — nearly half of which are earmarked for social housing — will be created in Dalmarnock. Athletes and residents will benefit from a new rail station opening in 2013. The station will be a key transport hub for those travelling to and from many of the Games’ events.
With the new levels of accessibility to the east end via the Clyde Gateway and the M74, Martin Kiely of WH Malcolm, part of the consortium building the Athletes’ Village, says “the map of the city has changed for good”.
Glasgow has allocated £0.5bn to host the two-week event. While this investment is significantly less than London’s £9.3bn, delivery of the projects is also markedly different from London.
“Whilst LOCOG was there to deal with Games-time requirements and the ODA was there to build venues, space and legacy, we’ve been set up differently,” says Glasgow 2014 head of procurement David Brown. “Our scale was different and we weren’t split up into delivery and operational phases. Glasgow City Council owns the venues and the infrastructure connecting them — our specific role is to manage their overlay in Games-time.”
It’s a key division of labour. While Glasgow 2014 is relieved of the project management of individual venues, it is still coordinating with councils with scopes of work, brief, access and sport accreditation requirements to ensure a successful overlay.
What London and Glasgow both share, however, is an emphasis on local procurement. Brown stresses that both Glasgow 2014 and the city council worked closely with the Glasgow Regeneration Agency, Scottish Enterprise and the Confederation of Small Businesses to encourage tendering from local firms to concentrate investment inwards. The use of public online forums was key — a lot of the work was let through firms on either the Glasgow Business Portal or Public Contracts Scotland.
It means that the spend has been distributed as fairly as possible, helping Glasgow 2014 to achieve an economic legacy as well as a physical one.
Commonwealth Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome
Total cost: £116m
Client: Glasgow City Council
Completion date: October 2012
Size/capacity: Commonwealth Arena 5,000; Velodrome 2,000 (4,000 Games-time capacity)
The two adjoining and linked venues, on a 10.5ha site, form the centrepiece of the Glasgow Eastern Campus, with a Games-time capacity of 9,000 watching the badminton and track cycling events, all seated under the same oversailing steel space frame roof.
Engineer and project manager Halcrow was responsible for the design, delivered under a two-stage contract under EU procurement rules. One of the most technically challenging aspects of the project was achieving the column-free spaces demanded for each venue. This meant two huge steel trusses across each to take the roof loads. Measuring 93m long, with a 10m x 9m box section, the 300-tonne trusses were so big they needed to be constructed on the ground in two sections inside the arena, before being lifted using two 400-tonne cranes, to be connected in mid-air once they were free of the building’s perimeter.
A steel bottom chord was then fixed to the underside of the truss to give additional stiffness before being placed on a steel grid structure. This formed the end wall of the central “hub” block — which divides the two venues and contains ancillary functions — and the steel perimeter wall structural columns. Architect Ralph Schürmann designed the 250m timber cycling track, having cut his teeth on the Beijing Olympics velodrome. Inside is a 1.2m depressed track centre made from concrete, which can have a multi-purpose use in legacy mode.
The Hydro Arena
Total cost: £80m
Client: Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC)
Completion date: July 2013
Contractor: Lend Lease
With a capacity of 12,500, Glasgow’s Hydro Arena, designed by Foster + Partners, which also designed the adjacent SECC “Armadillo”, is the city’s response to Scotland’s need for a world-class entertainment and events arena.
While unconnected with official Commonwealth Games procurement, the arena, which has been in the pipeline for more than 10 years, will be completed in time to be used as a large-scale seconded venue, hosting the netball and gymnastics events.
Topped out last month, the massive concrete fins of this elliptical venue support an inclined 123m diameter fine steel lattice shallow dome roof, over 40m at its highest point — all engineered by Arup.
As SECC project director Tom Doyle explains, the works are large scale. The central 330-tonne circular section was assembled on the ground, jacked up to full height on a temporary structure, and 16 steel sections were then attached to it using a 600-tonne jib crane. A secondary steel structure attaches to the concrete fins all the way around the building to support an ETFE external cladding skin, allowing for internal lighting effects and projections.
The arena was procured under a traditional fixed-price contract (Scottish GC Works I with Quantities) to reflect the complexity and completeness of the design and ensured Foster + Partners’ lead designer role, with Turner & Townsend as project manager and contract administrator.
Total cost: £32m
Completion date: June 2012
Size/capacity: Three shooting ranges, 6,400 seats
Contractor: John Sisk (Herts)
When German practice Magma Architecture won the competition with Mott MacDonald to design the shooting venue for the London 2012 Olympics, it was on the understanding that it would have to be totally demountable. The design, a pvc skin on a modular structural steel frame, opened in June at the Royal Artillery Barracks in south east London.
Magma Partner Martin Ostermann describes it as a “kit of parts” that can be re-assembled, explaining that even the concrete firing lanes are designed in pre-cast sections so they can be lifted out and reused. All very handy, given that the intention is to reuse the structure as Glasgow’s shooting venue in 2014.
Even the piles and footings have been considered. Engineer Mott MacDonald used steel pile caps sitting on 4m deep, 300mm diameter steel re-used oil pipes, which are all removable. The steel diaphragm structure separates two thalite-free PVC skins, whose interstitial area was the subject of detailed fluid dynamics studies. The conspicuous vents draw in air, temper it, and vent through the roof, creating a cool flow of fresh air over the inner skin, cooling the inside.
Total cost: £150m
Client: City Legacy
Completion date: 2014
Size/capacity: Accommodation for 6,500 athletes during the Games and 700 permanent homes
Contractor: City Legacy Consortium
Covering a 38.5ha site on the banks of the Clyde, three miles from the city centre, City Legacy’s Athletes’ Village will serve 6,500 competitors in Games mode. In legacy mode, the Village will become the 700 home centrepiece for the wider 1,400 home residential development of the area.
City Legacy is made up of four contractors: Mactaggart & Mickel Homes; Cruden Investments; CCG; and WH Malcolm. Glasgow City Council’s level of investment in Phase 1 of the project is reflected in the quota of affordable housing — more than 300 homes and a further 150 placed at mid-market prices, as well as a 120-bed care home for the elderly.
In addition, Glasgow 2014 will be funding, under separate contract, the Village services area, a complex of refectories, gym, fitness centre and ancillary services built to serve the complex in Games mode.
The council has acted as financial guarantor for the consortium to the tune of £35m — a strategic commitment to make this project a success in this historically deprived area of the city.
The stakeholders have set the bar high — they are aiming for a minimum 60% reduction in carbon emissions — a first in Scotland for a development on this scale. All homes will be BREEAM Excellent, heated from a district CHP energy centre and fitted with PVs.
WH Malcolm’s Martin Kiely, says that overall quality and cost ratios have been maintained due to economies of scale, with pre-fabrication featuring heavily. Two- and three-storey timber kit homes have been manufactured offsite and brought in.
WH Malcolm provided site remediation, piling and drainage installation as well as road building. To reduce the risk of flooding in the East End area, a new drainage pipe, the Camlachie Burn Outfall, was installed which runs beneath the Athlete’s Village and drains into the Clyde.
Kiely says the aim is to have the first social rented home released a year after the Games, with the private sale homes coming online later.
The Clyde Gateway
Total cost: £25m
Client: Glasgow City Council
Completion date: April 2012
Size/capacity: 2.6km long, four-lane arterial road
Contractors: Farrans and I&H Brown
Designed by engineering consultancy Gronmij, Phase 2 of the East End regeneration route opened in April (Phase 1, a 1.5km stretch, opened in 2007).
This extra length of road is vital, as it provides access to the Commonwealth Arena, the Athletes’ Village, the new Dalmarnock station and Celtic Park, linking this to the new M74 extension and cross-city connectivity via the M8.
Used to transport 18,000 athletes, support staff and hundreds of thousands of spectators, in legacy mode the new road will be the key piece of infrastructure for the Clyde Gateway urban regeneration area.
Built by Farrans and I&H Brown in exactly two years, the road required 35,000 tonnes of asphalt and more than 800m of 3m diameter tunnelling to mitigate storm water flooding.
Tollcross Aquatics Centre
The Tollcross swimming facility is being brought up to Games standards
Total cost: £13.8M
Client: Glasgow City Council
Completion date: February 2013
Size/capacity: 2,000 permanent seats, 5,000 during Games mode
Contractor: Barr Holdings
Built nearly 20 years ago, Tollcross is an existing swimming facility with an Olympic-sized pool, but to bring it up to Games standards, it required a further training pool and additional spectator seating. The requirement is for a new six-lane, 50m training pool to supplement the existing 10-lane one, plus the addition of a new community facility, and the refurbishment of the existing Tolcross facility.
An in-house project, it was designed and managed by Glasgow City Council’s Development and Regeneration Services, and procured under the traditional Standard Building Contract with Quantities, making Glasgow City Council contract administrator.
The new pool is being constructed to the rear of the existing building. Graeme Baillie, who managed the project for GCC, says the biggest challenge was in building the 75m long steel girder creating the column-free proscenium to give spectators the view onto the existing pool. Baillie says the scale of it was akin to “railway construction”.
This steel box girder sits on two box girder columns appended to the existing flank wall. Once in place, the existing roof’s load was transferred to the new structure via steel hangers mechanically fixed back to the girder. Walls and perimeter columns of the existing building, now redundant, were removed to create the clear view.
Despite borehole tests suggesting no problems with ground conditions, excavation revealed extensive sand substrate. To stabilise it either required variations to the formwork and retaining walls or more extensive cut and stabilising fill. To mitigate programme implications of a design change, the consultant team opted for the latter.