January 6 - In what has been hailed as a "major step forward", Balfour Beatty Group Limited has today been unveiled as the lead contractor to carry out re-development work on the Olympic Stadium in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The E20 Stadium Partnership, set up between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council, has awarded the £154 million ($253 million/€185 million) contract to Balfour Beatty to lead the transformation of the venue into an "all round multi-use venue", delivering a "lasting sporting, cultural and commercial legacy in east London."
This follows the companies work last summer on converting the Stadium roof and it will now lead transformation work set to include the construction of the warm-up track, spectator and hospitality facilities and external landscaping.
During construction Balfour Beatty expects to employ up to 400 people and, working with Newham Council's employment service Workplace, hopes to employ local people where possible.
Apprenticeships making up seven per cent of the total workforce will also be offered.
Sustainable construction methods will be used, including recycling features of the existing stadium into the new scheme and reusing crushed demolition material.
Work is due to commence on site early this year and is due for completion in the spring of 2016.
The Stadium will host five matches during the England 2015 Rugby World Cup before becoming the permanent home of West Ham United the following year.
It will also host various elite international events, including the annual International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League meeting and the 2017 World Athletics and Para-athletics Championships, while it will also be used for other sporting, cultural and community events.
Andrew McNaughton, chief executive of Balfour Beatty, described the companies "delight to be continuing activity on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park supporting the legacy commitment made as part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games".
"During construction, our firm commitment to the use of local labour and the creation of apprenticeships will continue to benefit the local community and the wider industry," he added.
A similarly positive reaction was given by Dennis Hone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, who described "another milestone in the development of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park".
"We go into 2014 on track to deliver a world class venue that, when it fully opens in 2016, can be used year round to host a whole range of sporting, cultural and community events," he added.
"The Stadium will be a truly remarkable legacy here in east London."
May 2013: West Ham Olympic Stadium £190 million conversion gets green light
March 2013: Building firms shortlisted to carry out London 2012 Olympic Stadium conversion