Arup and Mace brought on board for Commonwealth Games stadium revamp

19 November 2018 3 min. read
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Two leading engineering and construction consultancies have been tapped to help modernise Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium, ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The £70 million overhaul will ultimately expand the arena’s capacity to 40,000 seats for the international athletics event.

The Commonwealth Games are an international multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations, which consists of 53 nations which are largely former colonies of the British Empire. The event was first held in 1930, and at intervals of four years has since completed 21 editions across the globe. Following its most recent outing on Australia’s Gold Coast, the games are due to return to England in 2022, with Birmingham to become the third English city to host, and the first from the country since Manchester in 2002.

In order to prepare England’s 'second city' for the event, a number of renovations will be required to see stadiums in the area fit for purpose, before 2022. This saw Birmingham City Council put out a tender for firms to lead a £70 million retooling of the Alexander Stadium in particular, which will host all the games’ athletics events, plus the opening and closing ceremonies.

Arup and Mace brought on board for Commonwealth Games stadium revamp

The Council stated in a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union, “A key component of the Commonwealth Games 2022 will be the redevelopment of Alexander Stadium site to meet all the games' requirements.”

Opened in 1976, Alexander Stadium underwent a £12.5 million expansion and refurbishment in 2011, which included the building of a 5,000-seat stand opposite the current main stand. This took the capacity to 12,700, just in time to host the Diamond League British Grand Prix in July 2011. The new proposals by Birmingham’s local authorities would see the stadium's capacity increased to 40,000, including 20,000 permanent seats.

The project will see the back straight stand from 2011 remain, but the other three stands will be demolished and rebuilt. In addition to the new stand, the work will see a 400-metre outdoor practice running track permanently housed at a nearby high-performance centre, along with new community sports facilities, a permanent warm-up track and a conference meeting space.

Following a competitive tender process, Arup has been selected to deliver the redesign of Alexander Stadium, fending off 12 other firms – eight of which were SMEs – for the role. Arup has previous experience on high-profile sports venues, something which is likely to have helped mark it out from the other firms. This includes having provided structural design services at Beijing’s National Aquatics Centre and the National Stadium – known as the “Bird’s Nest” – before 2008’s Olympic Games; as well as having worked on Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena and ACF Fiorentina’s Stadio Artemio Franchi.

At the same time, construction consultancy Mace has been appointed to manage the project as a whole. Earlier in the year, Mace published a report calling on British construction firms to modernise practices for maximum efficiency, in order to drive demand post-Brexit. Most recently in the sporting world, meanwhile, Mace has been working with Populous on its troubled revamp of White Hart Lane for Tottenham Hotspur. The stadium, which was expected to be re-opened for the new season, will reportedly host its first game in January 2019, according to reports from industry news site