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Frosts Landscape Construction - Commercial landscaping specialists

QEOP Legacy Transformation

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

The objective of the Transformation contract was to remove all no longer required games-time infrastructure, convert the permanent venues to their legacy configuration and bring forward a permanent area of parkland which includes extensive road and mountain bike tracks. Except for the South Hub works, this contract made Frosts Landscapes the sole landscape company responsible for all the QEOP transformation works which is valued at around £17.5 million.

The contract included the following scope:

  • Procure and install 370,000m2 of wildflower and amenity seeds and turf.
  • Assist with topsoiling and subsoiling and formation of tree pits.
  • Design and install extension to existing irrigation system.
  • Install 4000 new trees.
  • Lift and transplant 300 trees upto 70cm girth
  • Supply and plant 37,000 shrubs, 586,000 bulbs, 550,000 herbaceous plants and wildflower plugs.
  • Install toadflax strips, frog pond and hibernacula.
  • Swales and checkdams.
  • Wetland planting to the river edge and frog ponds
  • Installation of cedec paths and raised planters.
  • Construct the North Hub Play Area which included paths, play equipment, bespoke play features, water features, sand pits, high specification planting, play bark, rubber play surfacing, sculpted concrete, willow pods, boulders and gabion baskets.
  • 1500m of post and wire fencing.
  • Maintenance and watering.
  • Design and construct 12 football pitches.

The Olympic park remained one of the most challenging places to work. Considering the scope involved, which is predominantly soft landscaping with limited earthworks; this is likely to be the largest single contract of this nature undertaken in the UK.  At our peak the Frosts workforce was a total of 124 people including all the office team, landscapers and specialist subcontractors.

Many design principles remained the same with crisp shaped landforms, vistas and complex layers of planting. The major new additions to the landscape were the mountain bike and road cycling tracks through the new northern parkland and existing landscaping in Eton Manor. The mountain bike track obviously had to be challenging enough to befit such a high status cycling facility, which the QEOP is set to become, so the new landscaping had to provide steep sloping profiles.

As in the games, Professor Hitchmough of Sheffield University was involved in developing the new wildflower mixes, evolving the design around what had been successful and less so in the games. All the seed was sourced as UK native if available and new species were viability tested and mixes adjusted as necessary. All seed was stored and carefully mixed by hand in our dedicated climate controlled cold store in Milton Keynes. All trees were advance procured by the client from a UK supplier and all other plants were contract grown and regularly inspected off site prior to delivery. Two specialist irrigation subcontractors were employed by Frosts to design and construct the irrigation systems across the park.

All timber was sourced as FSC and where possible recycled materials were used to make the contract as environmentally sustainable. Existing materials were re-used within the new scheme where hundreds of trees were lifted and replanted in new locations. Some plants were moved and others were lifted and given to local community groups but most of the existing games landscaping was protected and enhanced through additional over planting, over seeding and bulb planting to extend the flowering season and bio-diversity.

Other challenges that had to be faced included the ban on using Ash trees due to the Die Back disease and the strong winds and rain in autumn 2013 which affected the ability to work on the soils and affected some of trees. The first phase of the park was completed and opened to the public from June 2013 which utilised many of the freshly completed landscaped areas which created some issues, but the LLDC summer events programme meant there were thousands of people being drawn to the park while other areas were still a construction site. The works and associated logistics including security had to be carefully planned to ensure the works could continue and be completed on time. The park is now fully open and accessible to the public.

Project details

Jan 2012 – Mar 2014
Main Contractor
Bam Nuttall
Landscape Architect
Bam Nuttall