Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Annex A

Wembley National Stadium
Temporary Athletics Deck: Outline Specification


  1.  Introduction

  2.  General Arrangement

  3.  Structural Design

  4.  Services

  5.  Fire Performance

  6.  Construction Constraints

  7.  Programme

  Appendixes (not reproduced)


  The new Wembley National Stadium is designed to allow for the accommodation of occasional major athletics events by the installation of a temporary deck over the arena and the lower parts of the seating bowl.

  This outline specification describes the arrangement of the platform and the type of works that will be required to create an elevated athletics arena on a suspended deck as and when required to temporarily convert the stadium for an athletics event. This specification is not fully comprehensive of all technical requirements. Some of these will depend on the detailed requirements specific to each event which are likely to vary depending on the needs of each event owner. Notwithstanding this, the overall scope of work involved in creating the athletics deck is not expected to vary substantially between different events.


Athletics Arena

  The athletics deck will be installed to create an arena at a level approximately six metres above the level of the permanent field level within the stadium. The athletics arena will fill the area contained within the horizontal contour of the lower seating bowl located six metres above the field level; this is just below the level of the vomitories to the lower seating bowl (see drawings in Appendices).

  The athletics area will include the following:

    —  a 400 metre eight metre lane running track with 10 lane home straight on the north side;

    —  a water jump for steeplechase events;

    —  a grass infield area for throwing events (javelin, hammer, discus, shot putt). This grass infield will be used for football and rugby matches;

    —  jump areas within the D-ends of the running track for high jump and pole vault events;

    —  throwing circles for hammer, discus and shot putt within each D-end;

    —  run-up tracks for javelin at each end;

    —  two sets of long-jump tracks and pits outside of the running track on the opposite side to the home straight;

    —  a single set of long-jump track with pits within the running track adjacent to the home straight;

    —  access ramps to/from the changing area at the permanent field level (B1) for athletes. These will lead up to the start of the home straight and down from the finish lines respectively;

    —  a wide vehicle access ramp to/from B1 level on the south side of the arena to provide operational access, marathon event access and parade access; and

    —  access and operational area between the outside of the running track and the edge of the arena.

  All parts of the athletics arena shall fully comply with the latest International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) standards with regards to geometric layout and configuration.

  With the exception of the grassed infield area and jump pits, all parts of the athletics arena, including access and operational areas, shall be covered with a synthetic sports surface approved for IAAF international events (Mondo or similar).

Basement areas

  With the athletics deck installed a basement area will be created beneath the deck at normal footfall field level. This area will be partly used to provide access routes to the ramps up to the athletics arena and also for some operational accommodation for event use (eg marshalling of athletes, etc).

  The deck construction shall be designed such that at any given specific location, a three metre high headroom can be created to accommodate operation and/or event facilities such as operational or event control offices. Warm-up running lanes may be incorporated into these areas which are likely to be orientated to be parallel to the home straight of the main track.

  The deck construction shall be able to accommodate a vehicle access route five metres wide and with a 4.5 metre headroom between large vomitories at football field level and the foot of the vehicle access ramp up to the athletics arena. The vehicle access route shall allow for the manoeuvring of an articulated lorry to/from large vomitories and the vehicle access ramp.


  The structural design of the temporary deck shall comply with all relevant British Codes of Practice. The structural system shall be able to accommodate localised sumps/depressions and sockets in the athletics arena as required to accommodate jump/pits, water jumps, pole vault equipment etc.

Design Loads

  The platform shall be designed to withstand all load effects induced from the following vehicles;

  Vehicles up to and including 7.5 tonnes maximum gross vehicle weight.

  This will include three tonnes vehicles and Group 2 fire engines.

  The loading shall be derived in accordance with BS5400 pt 2 and Highways Agency documents BD 37/88 "Loads for Highway Structures" as modified by load reduction factors within BD 27/97 "The Assessment of Highway Bridge Structures" to convert to the required vehicle intensities.

  The loading shall include:

    (a)  Uniformly Distributed Load (UDL) calculated with reference to the loaded length and converted into a UDL per area; in conjunction with a Knife Edge Load (KEL) converted into a point load. These shall be modified to represent the desired gross vehicle weight;

    (b)  Nominal Single Axle;

    (c)  Nominal Single Wheel Load; and

    (d)  Nominal Accidental Wheel Loads.

  The minimum superimposed UDL that shall be used in the design is to be 11 kN/m2.

  The underside of the deck shall allow for a 0.25kN/m2 suspended service load for suspended services such as lighting, signage, sprinklers, ventilation etc.


  The deck shall be designed with a maximum deflection of 1:500 for any span under any combination of imposed loads.

Dynamic behaviour

  The deck shall be designed such that, with the finished sports surface installed, there shall be no perceptible bounce or vibration for persons running or jumping on the deck.

  All parts of the running track shall comply with the surface response requirements of the IAAF and specialist sports surface suppliers.



  The entire athletics arena shall be laid out to be level throughout without falls. The synthetic sports surface shall be continuous without joints and so shall provide a continuous watertight barrier.

  Drainage of the athletics arena shall be achieved through the use of a continuous drainage slot channel (Aco or similar) of suitable size around the outside of the arena and a drainage channel incorporated into the kerb around the inside of the running track. The grass infield area shall drain though the deck with water being collected to pass down onto the football field area below.

Timing/measurement cabling

  The temporary athletics deck shall incorporate provision for the installation of cables as required for specialist sports timing and measurement equipment associated with the competition. Cable conduits shall be provided beneath the sports surface to allow for the installation of cables by specialist contractors.

Below deck services

  The following services shall be incorporated under the deck as appropriate to meet safety and operational needs:

    —  emergency lighting;

    —  fire safety equipment; and

    —  ventilation.


  The temporary deck installation shall include such provision as is needed to comply with fire safety requirements. This may be achieved, for example, by the incorporation of a sprinkler system beneath the deck.


  In terms of construction constraints, two alternative scenarios are envisaged for when the temporary athletics deck might be installed:

Alternative 1: Stadium opens in Athletics configuration

  In this scenario the temporary deck will be installed before the stadium is first opened for use.

  The part of the lower seating bowl terracing below the level of the athletics arena will not have been installed apart from on the north side over the players changing accommodation area where the permanent concrete terracing and supporting steel rakers will be in place.

  Whilst the base formation level (compacted granular fill) of the permanent arena will have been created, the final construction build-up of the field will not have been installed. In effect, apart from the player's accommodation area on the north side, a level platform will be available beneath the entire extent of the temporary deck.

Alternative 2: Stadium converted for athletics from football/rugby configuration

  In this scenario the temporary deck will be installed after the stadium has previously been opened in football/rugby configuration.

  The temporary deck will have to be installed over the permanent terracing of the lower seating bowl on all sides.


  The programme for the installation of the temporary deck will need to take account of the precise dates of the specific event for which it is required. In general terms however it is considered likely that any major athletics event would occur during the month of August with at least one "warm-up" event taking place beforehand, probably in June. The Athletics arena will therefore need to be ready for use by the beginning of June.

  The exact start date for the installation of the deck will depend on the stadium events calendar at that time. It is likely, however, that the start date would be during January of the year in which the athletics event is to be held.

  Assuming the scenario where the stadium is converted to athletics from its football/rugby configuration, the anticipated programme for the deck installation and use during any athletics event year is as follows:

Beginning JanuaryStart deck installation works
End FebruaryCompletion of Deck Structure. Load testing
Beginning MarchStart installation of Sports surfaces, jumps, grass infield etc
End AprilComplete installation of Sports Surface, drainage, arena edge barriers, fire protection etc
Early MayComplete official track and arena homologation
Mid/End MayFA Cup final and Football League Play-off Finals played on grassed area with track
End MayComplete installation of timing equipment, initial testing
End JuneWarm up athletics event
AugustMain Athletics Event
Beginning SeptemberStart removal of temporary athletics deck
Mid OctoberRemoval completed. Installation of temporary football field (replaced by permanent field seeded in spring following year)

August 2001

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Prepared 20 November 2001