Contractors have successfully installed the first piece of roof panelling at the Populous-designed Olympic Stadium as works continues to convert it into a permanent home for West Ham United
The announcement comes a month after the London Legacy Development Corporation agreed to increase the amount paid to contractor Balfour Beatty from £35.9 million to £154 million to complete conversion of the stadium.
Much of that leap in costs was to cover strengthening work on the main roof truss, which was originally designed to be removed after the 2012 Games finished.
Mark Craine, project architect and principal at Populous, told AJ: ‘We were commissioned to make the roof much larger in order to cover the new lower tier seats which will be installed for some events.
‘Cable net systems are becoming more of a norm now because they are so much more efficient than a normal type of roof made out of steel. They require less material and can span much further.’
The 1m x 4.4m roof panel is the first of almost 10,000 which will be fitted to the stadium over the course of the next six months. The roof, split into a solid rear section and a translucent forward section.
At around 45,000m2, the new roof has been designed at twice the size of the original, in an attempt to improve acoustics for spectators, while minimizing noise leakage to surrounding residents. At 84m at its deepest point it will be the longest single span roof of its type in the world.
Preparation for the panels involved lifting and connecting 930 tonnes of cable net, along with 112 steel roof rafters.
The roof will support new floodlights, with all of the work planned for completion ahead of the five Rugby World Cup matches earmarked for the stadium in 2015.
The venue will become the permanent home of West Ham United Football Club and the new national competition centre for UK athletics in 2016.
The news comes after senior adviser at Populous, Geraint John, became the first Briton to be awarded a medal for outstanding service to the Olympic Movement.
John worked on designs for three Olympic stadia during his career, including Sydney 2000, London 2012 and the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
David Goldstone, chief executive of the the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: ‘Installing the first roof panel represents another significant milestone in the transformation of the stadium into a world class multi-use venue.’