Key Stats

underground Pressure Reduction Stations
of 300mm steel pipe
Award winning
project management


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Customer requirements

Following a competitive tender in 2008, Fulcrum was appointed by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) as the Independent Gas Transporter (iGT) for the Games’ “own and operate” contract and subsequently invited to tender for other infrastructure aspects of the Olympic Stadium and Park.

Fulcrum’s remit was to design and install some of the Games’ most critical gas infrastructure serving the Olympic Park, Athletes’ Village, VIP and global political leader dining areas, major sponsors’ hospitality suite, workforce dining area and the jewel in the crown, the Olympic Cauldron and its folding petals of gas flame.

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Project challenges

Timescales around the Olympic flame infrastructure were particularly challenging. The trust and relationship built with the ODA resulted in Fulcrum being named preferred installer. Successful delivery was crucial to the global reputations of Britain as host and the Olympic Committee as organisers.

Approval of design, installation and supervision of the Olympic Park and surrounding Village infrastructure required close consultation with a variety of unusual partner organisations – including anti-terrorism experts from Scotland Yard and national security organisations.

Pipework in the wider Olympic Park was installed by a number of GIRS-accredited UIPs to designs approved by Fulcrum Pipelines Limited (FPL), who monitored construction throughout to ensure infrastructure was fit for purpose.

In addition to the main Olympic Stadium, Fulcrum installed gas connections to:

  • The athletes' dining hall
  • VIP and political leader dining area
  • Sponsors' hospitality suite
  • Workforce dining area

As an iGT, FPL upheld its statutory obligation to maintain the infrastructure and be responsible for its safety and security by making sure a fast-response technical, repair and engineering team was available 24/7 for the duration of the Games.

In the years before the Games, progress meetings were held with ODA project managers and contractors on a weekly basis. Flexibility and adaptability was crucial. Any change in the schedule of surrounding construction had knock-on effects on gas infrastructure. Changes were frequent and Fulcrum undertook a significant consultative role in managing the needs of various parties whilst ensuring that our key milestone and completion dates were achieved.

Construction involved 4km of 300mm (12”) diameter steel pipe operating at Intermediate Pressure (IP) up to 7 bar and included three underground Pressure Reduction Stations. Pipework ran across three bridges, including the Channel Tunnel rail link, and underneath main railway lines and a canal. Fulcrum engineers meticulously reviewed and approved all third party design prior to installation – ensuring total compliance with gas regulations. This involved technical consultation on everything from engineering and safety, to contaminated land, cathodic protection systems, load requirements, pressure management and legal easements.

The gas supply to two energy centres provided heat and power for the Olympic venues and was the connection point for the cauldron. We installed the pipework from the existing system to the metering equipment and the outlet pipe from the meter to a valve train controlling the Olympic Flame. The system delivered a minimum pressure of 1.99 bar. After installation, physical inspections took place over the whole duration of the project, typically involving each Fulcrum manager walking the equivalent of 40 miles. Four fully-equipped teams, experienced in all gas distribution disciplines and on-site management, provided 24 hour gas emergency cover during the Games.

Testing was both stringent and comprehensive – with the cauldron’s happening in total secrecy as part of Opening Ceremony rehearsals. To prevent a media leak, the final test took place at 2.45 a.m. just days before the games, with the Fulcrum project team on-hand throughout.

A rolling rota of Fulcrum senior managers were constantly on-hand to provide instant advice and a rapid response from an out-stationed “Olympic Office”. Fulcrum’s professional consultancy ensured the safe and correct operation of relevant infrastructure and ad-hoc operational management challenges involving other contractors. For example, some architects had build expectations outside gas safety regulations. Alternatives were negotiated to ensure compliance and safety without undermining visual aesthetics.

In addition to meeting stringent site security requirements and the needs of multiple stakeholders associated with a large project, we were presented with a number of physical challenges to deliver gas to the cauldron:

  • The Olympic Stadium is located on an island, surrounded by waterways.  Any river crossing had to include anti-terrorist protection measures
  • The gas meter had to be placed in an unobtrusive location where it would not cause an obstruction to the many thousands of visitors to the Games
  • The burner train was placed within the main stadium, requiring the supply pipe to be fixed to the underside of the stands
  • As concession stands were to be erected immediately outside the stadium, pipe routes had to be carefully planned to avoid structures being built over
  • The underground pipework sections were to be laid through land which had been contaminated and where remediation works had been carried out

Our solution

We were able to work with all stakeholders and develop a solution which would deliver sufficient gas at the correct pressure to the cauldron.

Key to the project success was ensuring that our customer was kept fully informed throughout the design and installation process, and by having a dedicated Project Manager we were able to respond to those last minute changes which inevitably occur on major projects.

Our solution involved:

  • An Intermediate Pressure (IP) connection to an existing 80mm valve on the existing IP network within the Olympic Park
  • Laying and testing 114m of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) and steel inlet mains
  • Laying and testing 399m of MDPE (Medium Density Polyethylene) and steel pipework
  • Supplying and installing a meter / governor kiosk and concrete base
  • Final testing and commissioning of the supply
  • Securing adoption of the newly installed pipeline by Fulcrum Pipelines Limited.  

As in all cases, Fulcrum design and construction works were carried out to comply with the latest gas industry standards, these being principally;

  • IGEM/TD3 Steel and PE Pipelines for Gas Distribution
  • IGEM/TD4 PE and Steel Gas Services and Service Pipework
  • IGEM/GM/8 Non Domestic Meter Installations. Flow rate exceeding 6m3/h and Inlet Pressure Not Exceeding 38 bar
  • IGEM/UP/2 Installation Pipework on Industrial and Commercial Premises
  • IGE /GL/5 Procedures for managing new works, modifications and repairs.

The works were carried out under our client’s Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007 (CDM) Plan to which we added our Design File, Risk Assessments, Method Statements and evidence of competence.

Gas infrastructure specification for the Cauldron

Design Peak Demand:

10,833 kW

Operating Pressure:

1,500 mbar

The infrastructure comprised:

  • Inlet main to a meter / governor
  • Kiosk and base
  • Outlet pipework from the meter/ governor to the burner train

Inlet main


Source Pressure (Existing 80mm Steel Valve)

4,063 mbar

Pressure Drop    

76.49 mbar

Network installed




52m x 80mm API Intermediate Pressure Steel pipeline in ground 

62m x 90mm HDPE SDR11 Intermediate Pressure pipe line in a duct crossing a river 

Kiosk and Base


Kinsley Plastics GRP Kiosk 4000 (W) x 2500 (D) x 2500 (H) 

PAV 2 Concrete Base 4400 (W) x 2900 (D) x 0.25 (T) 

Outlet Pipework


Source Pressure (Meter outlet)  

 2,000 mbar

Pressure Drop  

 77.91 mbar



116m x 180mm MDPE SDR11 Medium Pressure in ground 

202m x 125mm MDPE SDR 11 Medium Pressure in ground 

81m x 100mm Steel API Medium Pressure pipe at high level under the Olympic Stadium 

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