Temporary demountable structures

The London 2012 Games involved an unprecedented use of temporary venues. From the outset, the guiding principle of London 2012's organisers was to avoid building large, permanent sports stadiums unless they had a clear use in legacy.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) was responsible for providing 36 competition venues and over 130 non-competition venues across the country.

This involves fit out of the venues built by the Olympic Delivery Authority and the erection of many temporary demountable structures (TDS) such as temporary buildings, seating stands, stages, large video screens and lighting towers.

On the Olympic Park, LOCOG temporary venues included the Riverbank Arena, the BMX Track, the Olympic Hospitality Centre and Megastore, and the athletes' dining facility at the Athletes' Village. Off the Park, temporary venues included Greenwich Park, Horse Guards Parade, The Royal Artillery Barracks, Lee Valley White Water Centre, Eton Dorney, and the adapted Earls Court, ExCel and North Greenwich Arena venues.

The total number of TDS required for the Games in London and around the country ran into many thousands. As well as those erected by LOCOG, Olympic sponsors  erected TDS on the Olympic Park for promotional and corporate hospitality purposes and many other organisations erected TDS at Games-related sites.

The erection and dismantling of TDS is construction work as defined in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and is therefore regulated by HSE.

HSE engaged early with LOCOG and its subcontractors, to make clear our expectations in relation to the safe construction and dismantling of temporary demountable structures. We produced an intervention plan to assist inspectors in seeking assurances that key risks had been identified and appropriate control measures put in place.

LOCOG had recognised that the safety and integrity of TDS during the Games was one of the key risks that needed to be managed in order to ensure a safe and successful event. In support of local authority co-regulators, HSE's more recent intervention activity had focused in particular on the development of clear arrangements for assuring the stability of TDS consistent with the industry-accepted (and HSE-endorsed) Institution of Structural engineers (IStructE) guidance for the safe management and use of TDS.

HSE had followed up our interventions with inspections at a sample of venues, to check that assurances given have been met in practice.

TDS research

In anticipation of the huge number of temporary demountable structures required for the London 2012 Games, HSE commissioned research into good practice in the erection and deconstruction of temporary demountable structures to inform designers, contractors, managers and workers in the events industry.