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HOW TEMPORARY FLOORING SAVED THE DAY AT LONDON 2012


 A temporary flooring solution that allows buses to deliver park and ride users to a sports venue.

 

What would you say if I told you that there was one hero who had a starring role at London 2012.  A star that never got so much as a mention, let alone a medal? That hero came in the form of Temporary Flooring.

Temporary Flooring Creates A Park And Ride Solution For a Global Sports Event

While Mo Farrah, Laura Trott and Andy Murray were collecting gold, a silent champion was helping these sports giants, and their audiences enjoy a life-changing experience. When it comes to staging global sporting events, there is nothing more prestigious and in some ways terrifying than the ‘O’ word. In the case of London that was because the games were being staged in some iconic places, which had to be protected from being destroyed.  Protection during the construction of sports venues and then for the hundreds of thousands of visitors attending. I’d been working in and around the temporary flooring industry for almost twenty years.  But my experiences in London showed me the incredible potential of these brilliantly simple products and the problems they can solve.

The Scale of The Whole Event Was Astounding.

I’d been involved in some monumental projects before 2012, but when we began working on creating an equestrian venue at Greenwich Park - on the side of a hill, no less - things got truly challenging. In the design, one end the deck was about two feet off the ground whereas at the other end it was approx. 12-15 feet up in the air. We not only had to keep it absolutely level, but it also had to sustain the weight of 2000 tonnes of sand along with all the horses and riders! It was a massive undertaking. Since it was in one of England’s most historic Royal Parks when the decking was removed, the site had to return to close to pristine as it could be – as if nothing had ever happened. It’s operations like this that underline how incredibly versatile and ingenious temporary flooring can be, not to mention how vitally important it is when it comes to protecting the valuable, fragile ground. When I look back, I realise that it was during this period when my idea for Floorbox was born. But nothing could prepare me for the phone call I received that May when an associate asked me to track down 55,000 metres of trackway for the largest sporting event in the world in under two months.

How Do You Find The Worlds Supply of Temporary Road For The Biggest Event in The World?

Why did they need 55,000 metres of trackway? In my case, it was to create gigantic temporary parks at each of the venues to enable park and ride services. In general, the event used hundreds of thousands of metres for a whole raft of different reasons. To build the athletes villages, support the grandstand seating, and protect the surface of some of the most iconic sites around the capital. The trackway also had to create access roads sturdy enough to support cranes, vehicles and heavy machinery, as well as providing safe pedestrian access. 55,000 metres of trackway is five times the area of Wembley Stadium, and there were seven weeks until the opening ceremony. I scoured Europe and pulled in all my contacts to make it happen. It was an impossible task at such short notice. In the end, I was only able to source 35,000 metres – 20,000 metres too short. But then we came up with a solution.

 

Temporary trackway flooring being installed at Hampton Court during London 2012

 

The Logistical Challenge.

As many of the events weren’t running at the same time, we realised that with some careful logistics we could pick up and move the trackway from venue to venue. Initially, the venue at Lea Valley was the most urgent location – 2,500 panels (10,000 square metres of road.) had to be installed there by 10.30pm on the night of the opening ceremony. When that flooring was no longer needed, we were able to extract the panels with little disturbance to the site and transport them across London to Eton Dorney, just in time for the rowing events to begin. When it comes to transforming areas of ground into massive public events and then, a few days or weeks later, returning them to their former glory, temporary flooring is invaluable. Without these light, medium and heavy solution systems, none of those events would be possible without churning up the ground and destroying everything. The reparation bill would be horrendous. At London 2012 my eyes were opened to the true potential of temporary flooring. From that point on the idea for Floorbox started to bubble away in the back of my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I think Usain Bolt, Chris Hoy or Michael Phelps all deserved the medals. I just wish there was a special competition for the best all rounder because our kit would have been top of the medals table.

From that point on the idea for Floorbox started to bubble away in the back of my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I think Usain Bolt, Chris Hoy or Michael Phelps all deserved the medals. I just wish there was a special competition for the best all rounder because our kit would have been top of the medals table.