Gold-medal stable installation

Woodhouse fabricates luxury stables for four-legged Olympic competitors.

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Woodhouse Show and Event Services, Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire, England, has made a name for itself in the niche market of temporary equestrian stables. So when the 2012 Olympics were awarded to London, the company was as motivated to participate as any athlete.

In January 2011 Woodhouse bid both on its own and as a consortium member for the job of designing, fabricating, installing, maintaining and removing the Olympic equestrian stables, ultimately winning the direct contract with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). Design and fabrication commenced immediately, as LOCOG required 70 stables for a test event in July 2011. In addition to requirements such as natural ventilation, natural lighting and fire safety, Woodhouse had to meet LOCOG’s goals for sustainability and waste-avoidance.

“The test event went well, and we learned a lot about the design, the venue and the security restrictions we would face in 2012,” says Woodhouse managing director Tony Marsh. “In November 2011 we incorporated some requested revisions to the barn stable design and fabricated the remaining 220 stables throughout the low winter season.”

The site of the equestrian events, Greenwich Park, doesn’t allow staking due to archeological reasons. Temporary barn stables are normally self-weighting, as the weight of the stable sections work as ballast for the clearspan roof, Marsh explains. The stables were installed on heavy-duty decking at 0.3 to 2.3 meters above ground level, with panels weighing in excess of 1.2 tons each. Woodhouse fabricated steel anchor brackets that functioned as clamps to secure the stables to the deck panels and to support the ducting for the underfloor stable drainage system.

Athletes and grooms heaped praise on the structures. Following the Games, LOCOG venue project manager Stephen Jepson wrote to Marsh: “Your approach throughout the design, installation, use and de-rig was great. Nothing was ever too much for you.”

This project was a 2012 IFAI International Achievement Award competition entry.

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