Olympic organisers seeking to make ten football pitches worth of glass secure in the event of an explosion
Olympic organisers are racing to make the glass across 26 Olympic venues safe ahead of this summer’s games.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) is set to award a contract worth millions of pounds to a firm to apply anti-shatter film (ASF) to the windows and other glass across 26 Olympic venues in a bid to ensure the glass is made safe in the event of an explosion during this summer’s Olympics.
The contract, which was put to the market last month, stipulates that the work will involve applying ASF to “approximately 26 venues covering approximately 75,000m2” of glass, which equates to around ten Olympic size football pitches.
The contract states that the commencement of the works must begin in May, ahead of the Games opening at the end of July, with the removal of the ASF to be completed by September. It stresses that “bidders must be certain that they can comply with these timelines before responding”.
Locog would not comment on the value of the contract, but a source familiar with the tender said it was worth up to £2m.
“It’s a massive job and they’ve left very little time to do it. There’s a feeling that it’s all very last minute and hasn’t been properly thought through,” the source said.
George Linsley, a glass and glazing consultant, said ASF was necessary to ensure that glass did not become lethal in the event of an explosion. “It’s definitely needed. It’s something that has to be done and it wouldn’t really be safe without it,” he said.
He said the kind of glass used across the Olympic venues, including clear, annealed, toughened and laminated, could all pose a serious hazard in an explosion.
“Even toughened safety glass is potentially dangerous. In an explosion it would break into a hail of particles that could be lethal,” he said.
“Laminated glass would explode out of its frame and fly across the room.”
He said Locog had left “little time” for a job of the size required to be completed. “Ideally you want to assess each building and the risks and determine the possible direction of an explosion,” he said.
A Locog spokeswoman denied that the move to secure the glass across the Games venues was rushed and the procurement was “in line with our overall programme plan”.
She said: “We are not installing late in the day, there is a big overall construction programme in the Olympic Park and it was always planned to install at this stage.”
“There is a huge variety of venues and buildings each will be surveyed to ascertain where ASF needs to be installed. “
The move to secure the glass across the venues comes after the Committee of Public Accounts this month slammed the “staggering” increase in security spending by LOCOG, which the committee said had in part lead to the expected cost of staging the Games to rise to £11bn, which is £1.7bn over budget.
The committee said Locog’s original estimate for the number of security guards in and around the venues of 10,000 was a “finger in the air estimate” and that had now more than doubled to 23,700. This meant security costs had risen from £282m to £553m.