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September 2012 – Post Olympic glow

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The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics is vying for the accolade of the best organised and brilliantly delivered Olympic Games ever.

For a few weeks the country, if not the world, was entranced with these games and with how well everything went. Much of it was housed of course in a series of excellent venues specially built without delay or any other mishap to the delight of the client. The whole construction industry, including the steel sector which played a very significant part in the construction of these venues – all steel of course – breathed a collective sigh of relief.  Now it can afford to give itself a well deserved pat on the back.

The main stadium itself was an undoubted triumph as a backdrop for the opening and closing ceremonies as well as for the events themselves. It doubled up well as a concert venue, which might give a pointer to its future. It was fitting to see those giant iron rings being raised as a tribute to the UK’s industrial heritage in a stadium made possible by  modern design and steel construction.

Visitors debate what their favourite venue was, some opting for the grandness of the main stadium itself which seemed designed to amplify the spectators’ support for the efforts of the athletes. Others admired the elegant Velodrome, or the striking design of the basketball arena, which is designed to be shifted in its entirety, perhaps to Rio for the next Games. A large number of BCSA Members and Associate Members contributed to the Olympics through the supply of secondary steelwork as well as the supply of materials and components into these structures.

The precise legacy use of some of these structures is still to be finalised, but the possibility of completely removing some and reassembling them elsewhere in whole or in part, and the option of scaling down the main stadium for football use, is only possible because of the designed and built in demountability. That in turn was only possible because of the flexibility of steel.

These were the most sustainable stadiums ever created for an Olympic games which surely suggests the way that subsequent Olympic hosts will construct their stadiums. As Chris Wilkinson touches on in our article on architect Wilkinson Eyre, this demountability will become increasingly important in future, not only for stadiums.

New NSC website
NSC now has a new website which went live on 1 September, at, which is a slightly different address from our old site. As well as featuring current issues and having its own search function,  the new site contains searchable digital versions of NSC for the past five years. We hope to extend that to eight years shortly. The old NSC site will be linked from the new one to keep the older archive available.

Another change to announce is that New Steel Construction is going over to a six times a year frequency from this issue. It will be the same size as before, with all the usual features, and still focusing on the use of steel in designing and building. There will in addition be two special issues each year, with the first one in January 2013 to focus on the education sector. We hope you will enjoy reading it as much as before.

Nick Barrett

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