London 2012 Olympic Games

DuraDeck at Hampton Court Palace Trackway layout for Opening Ceremonies ArmorDeck at Weymouth Sailing Village

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Client: The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Ltd. (LOCOG)
Location: 24 Olympic and Paralympic venues in the London 2012 Olympics, including the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, London, UK
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Ltd. (LOCOG) had a vast requirement for portable flooring and temporary roadways across a wide variety of venues, each with their own special performance requirements and environmental considerations. From minimising pedestrian wear on the front garden of Hampton Court Palace to facilitating the construction of a temporary equestrian arena on the protected grounds of Greenwich Park to protecting the running track and athletics field during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of both the Olympics and Paralympics, the temporary flooring needs for the 2012 Games were as varied as its participants. LOCOG’s first challenge was to find one company that could provide the appropriate products for each particular venue, manufacture the quantities required (1,866,505m²), work to extremely tight deadlines simultaneously across multiple venues and adapt to the constantly changing demands of a sporting event with unparalleled scope and exposure. LOCOG awarded the trackway contract to Signature Systems Group because of their manufacturing capabilities both in the United States and the United Kingdom and their demonstrated determination to go to any lengths to complete their works to their clients’ satisfaction, on time and within budget.
While each of the 24 venues requiring temporary flooring or roadways for the 2012 Olympic Games provided their own challenges, protecting the competition surfaces during each of the four Ceremonies at the Olympic Stadium was one of the most complicated in terms of performance, aesthetics, and logistics. The pre-rig load-in for the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games required several massive cranes weighing up to 20 metric tonnes each, fully-loaded articulated lorries, and myriad smaller forklifts and other vehicles to traverse the protective surface without causing any damage to the rubber running track beneath, while maintaining a safe surface for the thousands of athletes and performers to walk, run and dance on during the Ceremonies themselves.

ArmorDeck3 was chosen to meet this requirement because of its weight-bearing properties, quick installation, and smooth attractive surface.  The flat bottom and ribbed interior of the ArmorDeck3 panels, combined with their interlocking edges and cam locks at each corner and edge would help to disperse the over-sized point loading throughout the floor.  To provide even more weight distribution and protection to the track, Signature first swept the track clear of any small pebbles and debris, then laid a thick layer of Visqueen plastic to ensure no fuel or chemicals from the Ceremonies or vehicles would ever make contact with the rubber running track.  Next, a 5mm layer of rolled recycled rubber was applied to help absorb and distribute the excessive weights.

The next temporary flooring challenge posed by the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games was a design requirement that part of the floor remain exposed and be a dark grey colour to represent the M25.  ArmorDeck panels are normally white or translucent, but custom colors can be created.  Because custom coloured panels are more expensive, LOCOG opted to use translucent panels where they wouldn’t be visible and only use the custom grey panels where they would be exposed.  This posed several additional challenges.  The positioning of the grey panels had to be precise.  Signature produced a set of installation drawings from the original CAD layout of the Stadium, detailing row by row the design of the translucent and grey panels like a knitting pattern, to minimize confusion and speed installation.  Crew chiefs would periodically count the installed mats to confirm that they were being laid exactly in the configuration required for the Ceremonies.  Additionally, the assistance of the Stadium’s surveyor was employed to check key points against a GPS system to confirm that panels weren’t just laid in the precise pattern, but that the entire floor was positioned within millimeters of the site plan so that all of the staging, lighting and props were perfectly aligned.

The installations and extractions of close to 20,000m² of ArmorDeck3 at the Olympic Stadium in London in would have been complicated projects on their own due to the large quantities involved, but there were many logistical considerations that added to the complexity of these works.  One of the greatest of these considerations was the timing.  Due to the nature of Signature’s work at the Stadium, they had to be the first in and the first out, meaning that any delays on Signature’s part in the installation would in turn delay all works following them and any delays to the other suppliers’ works on the extractions would reduce the already short amount of time Signature had to remove the ArmorDeck3.  While the installation for the Opening Ceremonies was completed in stages over several weeks, Signature had only 17 hours to remove all the flooring completely from the Olympic Park before competition commenced.  The time allowed for Signature’s installations and extractions were progressively shorter with each visit to the Stadium.  To accommodate these incredibly tight schedules, Signature’s project management team scheduled overlapping crew shifts, coordinated works with other suppliers, and broke down each project into smaller pieces so the crew had specific goals for reaching critical points.

Another considerable logistical challenge was the high level of security in place at the Olympic Park and the Stadium.  Each stage of the Games required different levels of accreditation for each member of crew to enter each area of the Olympic Park.  The fit-out stage required all crew to obtain a biometric pass containing a scan of their hand and passport information as well as a background check, completion of an SPA safety training course and safety inductions for both the Park and the Stadium.  Accessing the Stadium during Games Time required a new pass with a separate background check by the Home Office, an upgrade pass for the Stadium and a Ceremonies Contractor pass in addition to new site inductions and the SPA card.  The period between Olympics Games Time and The Paralympics required all the former plus additional transition passes; all accreditation had to be re-applied for and processed for the Paralymics Games Time.  Due to the transient nature of crew labour and the extensive works Signature’s crews were completing on other off-Park venues, getting all crew completely accredited in time for their works at the Stadium involved extensive coordination and collaboration between Signature’s project coordinator and LOCOG’s access team, Ceremonies’ accreditation manager, LOCOG’s Games Time Accreditation team, the Olympic Park Enrolment and Pass Office, the Uniform Distribution and Accreditation Centre and the crew company contracted to work with Signature.  Signature’s project coordinator was on site at each installation and extraction to ensure all crew was allowed on site and trouble-shoot any accreditation issues that arose at the gate to the Park.  The process of getting product, trucks and equipment on site was no simpler.  Each vehicle and each driver needed its own permits and accreditation.  Each vehicle was booked to arrive on site at very specific times and was only permitted to enter the Park during their scheduled window.  Prior to arriving at the Park, each vehicle was required to be screened and sealed at a location off-site and then re-checked once on site.  To ensure that all trucks with product and equipment made it through the extensive screening process, the logistics manager of Signature’s warehousing and distribution center remained on site throughout all works coordinating the complicated schedule of deliveries and removals. 

Throughout their works at 24 venues of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, Signature Systems encountered countless challenges and complications, especially for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympic Games.  Signature’s project team rose to meet each challenge to LOCOG’s great satisfaction, confirming that they made the right choice in selecting Signature to provide their temporary flooring and roadway requirements.


DuraDeck provides ground protection during a bridge dismantle project

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The Project

A dilapidated pedestrian bridge In North East England needed to be dismantled. The bridge was surrounded on all sides by soft turf, making access for the necessary heavy lifting equipment problematic. There were also concerns by the borough to protect the ground from undue damage during the dismantling.

A 56-tonne crane and a 30-tonne low loader needed to be positioned alongside the bridge in order to remove it. Before this could happen, though, a temporary platform/roadway strong enough to take the weight was required.

Ideally, the contractor wanted to avoid removing the grass and laying a temporary tarmac surface, as this would have be costly and time consuming. Instead, the contractor wanted to create a heavy-duty platform/roadway that could be placed over the grass to support the weight of the crane, without causing any lasting damage to the grass.

The Solution

The contractor found Signature Flooring's DuraDeckTM ground protection mats. DuraDeck is capable of supporting vehicles weighing up to 72 tonnes and was used here to create a temporary surface across 50 metres of grass next to the bridge.

A separate 20-metre stretch was created to divert traffic over the grass, allowing work and vehicles to keep flowing during the job. The DuraDeck mats proved their environmental benefit - preventing any damage occurring to the soft ground and leaving the turf completely undamaged.

While DuraDeck portable roads can be joined together to form a more long-term surface, they are also effective simply laid side-by-side, allowing large areas to be quickly protected.

Another advantage is that, weighing just 39 kilos each, the resilient high-density polyethylene (HDPE) panels can be moved by hand with no need for any further lifting equipment.

Paul Fleming, foreman at Carillion said: "Using the DuraDeck ground protection mats saved us a tremendous amount of time and effort. Without them, we could never have finished the whole job in just one weekend, as preparing the site before starting work and reinstating the field at the end would have been a long-winded process.

"After the protection had been down for five days the only sign it had been there was slight discoloration of the grass – and just two weeks later, this had completely disappeared.

"Not only did the DuraDeck mats allow us to reduce costs by working more efficiently, they also minimised inconvenience to residents of the area." One of Signature's British distributors, Speedy Time, who sold the job to the contractor elaborates, "The key benefit of DuraDeck to contractors is the reduction it offers in job times as well as set-up and clean-up costs."

"An added environmental benefit is that the long-lasting HDPE panels are manufactured using more than 90 per cent recycled materials."

"The dilemma in the construction industry has always been having a product that can be re-usable for protecting floor and ground surfaces that is economical and the least labor intensive to use. It was a great resource to find Signature Systems Group, LLC and their product - DuraDeck - for protecting the clay tennis court surface for a restoration job we are performing on an indoor court arena.

Having a one source contractor, as Signature Systems Group, LLC., to provide and install the rental of the DuraDeck protection mats for the court arena restoration job has been a valuable asset in the success of the Tennis Court project. The DuraDeck mats have provided an excellent protective work surface for all of the heavy scaffolding and construction traffic that was used during the execution of the work. In matter of fact, DuraDeck mats have proven to be so successful, other subcontractors involved in the project have inquired for rental or purchase of the "DuraDeck System" for their future needs.


Signature (Fencing and Flooring) Systems Europe, Ltd
Unit 1, Blackett Road
Blackett Road Industrial Estate
Freephone: 0800 678 5893
Direct: +44 (0) 1642 744 990
Mon-Fri: 9am-6pm GMT
Press Enquiries & Photo Requests:
Deb Wong
+1 212 953 1116 Mon-Fri: 9am-6pm EST

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