No matter what kind of public event or project you’re organising, it is crucial to start planning well in advance of your proposed start date. This gives you and your team plenty of time to thoroughly plan your event from start to finish, organise contractors, supplies, and factor in a contingency plan for any potential complications that may arise.

Next July, Paris will be hosting the world’s biggest sporting event, and with sustainability high on the agenda, the Organising Committee is limiting the event’s construction footprint by using existing or temporary infrastructures for 95% of its needs. Temporary infrastructure work is expected to include the installation of bungalows, containers, temporary stands, scaffolding, tents, roadways, car parks and pedestrian access, all which will require some form of temporary flooring or trackway system for their foundations.

From our involvement supporting London in 2012, there was an astonishing demand for trackway. And with the return of the biggest global sporting event in 2024, coupled with an extraordinary requirement for temporary infrastructure, we’re anticipating overlay supply issues and product scarcity next year, which could have a massive impact on many events, projects and businesses around the world.

In 2012, we experienced firsthand just how daunting trying to source trackway during a crisis can be, when we were called in last minute to tackle the predicament of sourcing and replacing a contractor’s failed trackway across several locations. The repercussions at some of the key venues for London’s historic sporting event could have been catastrophic, had it not have been for our knowledge and years of working in the Temporary Infrastructure sector.

Here’s our story, and why we can’t emphasise enough how important it is to guarantee your ground protection supplies now…

Temporary parks and road systems had been sourced and installed to enable bus transit to several London 2012 venues, including Lee Valley Park (White Water course) and Eton Dorney Lake (Rowing). All was going to plan and on schedule. However, the onset of Summer was abruptly interrupted as Mother Nature unleashed over a month’s worth of rain in just 36 hours. Heavy, continuous downpours literally ‘washed away’ all the hard work put into building the temporary roads, car parks and pedestrian access routes round these iconic locations. The ground itself was now unprotected, leaving it susceptible to potential harm and costly damage from the weight and movement of cranes, vehicles, and other heavy machinery deployed during the construction of each venue.

With just two months to go before the opening ceremony, and no suitable trackway, the situation appeared increasingly grim. In this worrying predicament, we were called in and asked to track down 55,000 square metres of heavy-duty trackway in just 7 weeks. The daunting nature of the task ahead seemed almost impossible to achieve, however, we were determined to rise to the occasion and overcome every obstacle that stood in our way.

To truly comprehend the magnitude of this astronomical challenge, let’s draw a parallel to something familiar. Consider the immense scale of the renowned Glastonbury music festival. Now, imagine the colossal task of orchestrating and successfully executing not just one, but a staggering 25 of these huge events simultaneously! This area alone amounts to five times the area of Wembley Stadium itself!

Leading up to the 2012 event, ironically, an abundance of temporary overlay was produced as manufacturers and suppliers fiercely competed to be a part of London’s endeavour. However, sustainability was a key consideration across all of the Organising Committee’s activities, and a consensus was reached to recycle this excess and repurpose it for other events and projects. As a result, suppliers quickly reallocated their stocks to cater to the demands of other outdoor events and construction projects scheduled that Summer. This inadvertently led to shortages being experienced across the UK and Europe.

Despite this deficiency, and with time against us, we managed to source some 37,000m2 of heavy duty panel trackway. It wasn’t the full 55,000m2 so we needed a plan. And fast. As many events were running at different times, the team’s idea was to deploy into the first day of scheduled sports and then once the events had completed, to de-rig, remove and relocate the systems into the events scheduled to run later in the day.

So, with a mammoth task ahead of us, we deployed 10,000m2 of trackway into Lee Valley completing the install at 10:30 pm on the night of the opening ceremony. As the White Water events came to an end, we returned to the site and collected all 10,000m2 before moving 25 miles west to Eton Dorney, in time for the Rowing to start. The track panels were reinstalled creating a large pad of around 14,000 m2 of temporary roadway once again, enabling bus services to access the venue.

You can now see why it’s so important to organise your temporary overlay well in advance and have a solid contingency plan to fall back on. During a period when product was scarce, failing to install suitable trackway escalated into what could have been a disaster.

When it comes to transforming areas of ground for large scale public events, and then returning them to their former glory a few days or weeks later, temporary flooring and trackway is invaluable. Without these light, medium and heavy systems, ground would be churned up and environments destroyed.

This was so very nearly the case for Lee Valley and Eton Dorney. Later declared “the wettest Summer in England and Wales for 100 years”, June 2012 alone recorded more than twice its normal monthly rainfall (145.3 mm, or 5.7″), making it the UK’s wettest month since records began in 1910.

The sheer impact of this extreme rainfall created an unexpected and difficult situation, which was miraculously saved so events could go ahead as planned. London 2012 was an enormous success on numerous fronts and that is testimony to the hard work and excellence of so many people involved in the project.

We understand the gravity of these situations, and why there’s no room for error. Based on our past experiences and projections for the anticipated trackway demand in 2024, plus the increasing frequency of heavy rainfall, we cannot stress enough on the importance of event organisers and contractors making adequate provisions for temporary overlay well in advance.

Meticulously evaluate the location and ground conditions so you can accurately plan for every potential scenario and guarantee you have the right kit for the application. Don’t leave anything to chance – you really can’t afford to! Time is money and money is time. Not all events or projects have time spare or entitle contractors to an extension of time, even when it comes to ‘exceptionally adverse weather conditions’. As they say, “the show must go on!”

Why The Box Group?

Our solutions are about much more than the provision of the right kit; they combine our years of experience with inventive thinking and a can do, positive mindset to meet logistical challenges, enable operations, mitigate risk and complete missions.

We offer a sustainable, comprehensive range of military and commercial grade solutions, developed to perform under the most testing and varied conditions. From overlay for large scale concerts and live events, to providing the infrastructure for humanitarian aid and military operational bases, we’ve spent more than two decades bringing success to projects by delivering practical, dependable, and high-quality solutions that are easy to transport, install, and pack up.

And you’ll find this experience and expertise in everything we do. When there’s no room for error, our clients trust us to deliver.

Call us on +44 (0) 203 286 7463 to secure your flooring needs and whether buy and sell-back might work for you compared with rental. Or send us an email with your enquiry and we’ll be in touch. Don’t get caught short. Secure your 2024 temporary infrastructure with The Box Group now.

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