Press Release

Balfour Beatty’s transformation of the former Olympic Stadium ready for Rugby World Cup

22 September 2015


Stadium transformation film launched!

Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure company, is transforming the former Olympic Stadium into a world class multi-use arena. The transformation works have been paused so the Stadium can host five matches of Rugby World Cup 2015 with the first of those, France v Romania, set to kick off on Wednesday September 23.

To celebrate the complex works Balfour Beatty, Populous, Burro Happold and the London Legacy Development Corporation have commissioned a film which documents the transformation - click here to watch it. 

Balfour Beatty began the complex works to convert the venue in late 2013. Early works involved the de-construction of the old roof and the strengthening of the existing structure including the foundation, the iconic V columns and the perimeter compression truss. 

The ambitious new cantilevered roof now stands as the world’s largest weighing in at around 6,000 tonnes,four times the weight of its predecessor. Every seat fits beneath the enormous permanent roof cover which appears unsupported to the untrained eye and measures approximately 45,000m2

The main bowl of the multi-use stadium has an extra tier of seating and can accommodate 3,500 new hospitality spectators. The lowest tier of seats can now be moved nearer the field of play for pitch sports. The transformed stadium can accommodate up to 54,000 spectators for pitch sports with a concert capacity of 80,000.

The 14 new lighting paddles are positioned beneath the new roof, each weighing 43 tonnes. Four 600 tonnes capacity cranes lifted the light paddles and the other roof members into position. Once this work was finished in early May 2015, the original athletics track was uncovered and a new pitch laid in readiness for the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games that took place at the end of July.

Almost 50 apprentices received career changing opportunities during the construction period and more than 1,500 jobs were created for local people.

In November this world class multi-use Stadium will host an England v New Zealand Rugby Leagues international and the Race of Champions before the transformation work resumes in December. The works are due for completion in summer 2016 when the stadium is set to become the new national competition centre for UK Athletics and the home of West Ham United and in 2017 will host the IPC World Championships and IAAF World Athletics Championships.


Media enquiries to:

Antonia Edwards
Balfour Beatty

t:    +44(0)191 228 2715

m:  +44 (0) 7813363166                

e: | follow us @balfourbeatty

Notes to editors:

Balfour Beatty ( is a leading international infrastructure group. With 36,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.

Our main geographies are the UK, US, Middle East and South East Asia. Over the last 100 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including the London Olympics’ Aquatic Centre, Hong Kong’s first Zero Carbon building, the world’s biggest shopping mall in Dubai, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the US and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Photograph: An aerial shot of the completed former Olympic

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