Sporting Events

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Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

BHAM 2022 WOL 2022 3397
ARB Arena Birmingham 24
BHAM 2022 SMI 4 G9 A2867

In summer 2022, Birmingham and West Midlands hosted the first major multi-sport, multi-venue event delivered since the end of pandemic restrictions. GL events were appointed Official Overlay Supporter in 2021. For the first time at a Commonwealth Games, GL events took on the role of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor as well as delivering Overlay services.


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Walkways & Entrances

As Official Overlay supporter, GL Events had a crucial role in overseeing the entire lifecycle of the Commonwealth Games, from the early stages of planning and procurement to design and execution. This involved transitioning existing venues into games time operations, ensuring smooth running and KPI maintenance response times, and finally a rapid, safely delivered decommissioning period. 

In total, GL events was awarded three contracts to provide turnkey overlay for 12 Commonwealth Games (CWG) venues across the West Midlands. 

These venues ranged from capital build projects like Alexander Stadium, existing venues such as NEC, to greenfield locations like Cannock Chase for mountain biking, and city center sites for events such as cycling road races and marathons.

Rising to the challenge

Managing a project of this scale presented a variety of unique challenges across each location. 

Greenfield and brownfield sites were subject to restrictions due to heritage status, sites of specific scientific interest and noise restrictions. City centre sites needed consideration in relation to town planning, traffic management, logistics challenges, and operation under restricted working hours. This contrasted with sites in remote locations across vast areas which were difficult to secure, presenting asset protection and security management challenges. 

Working collaboratively with the Organizing Committee (OC) and stakeholders, including sub-contractors and incumbent teams at each of the venues, GL Events successfully navigated these challenges by maintaining transparency and close communication.

This cooperative approach allowed us to create plans that complied with established regulations and processes, venue requirements, structural loading, technical processes and working patterns to satisfy all conditions of a venue agreement.

One notable challenge faced was limited product availability due to disruptions in the event industry's supply chain post-Covid. To address this problem, GL events proactively engaged extra resource to source new suppliers and spread the risk across multiple suppliers and commodities. This mitigation plan dealt effectively with what was an ever-changing supply chain environment. Our schedule was regularly reviewed and amended as needed, to deliver on a “just in time” basis as commodities were required.

The solution

Birmingham 2022’s new turnkey overlay solution model involved GL events delivering core commodities, procuring supplier commodities, and coordinating the planning and delivery of required items for each venue.

Operating as the Principal Contractor and Principal Designer, GL Events meticulously managed regulatory compliance, project scheduling, building control approvals, town planning and all aspects of venue preparation to offer a safe and exceptional games experience. 

We delivered extensive overlay services effectively and safely, showcasing Birmingham, its people and its culture. The Principal designer and Principal Contractor requirements were undertaken on behalf of GL events by our partner organisation Event Safety Plan, who were embedded in the project team and planning from day one.

Sub-contractors were only considered if they had pre-qualified through our stringent assessment process, carried out by Operational, SHEQ, Finance and HR teams. This ensured that products and services were supplied at the best possible price, quality, standards and delivery conditions. 

This supply chain is rigorously vetted and audited to ISO 9001, 14001 and 20121 standards. In addition, our project team contained dedicated Commodity Managers who worked with Venue and Cluster Managers to deal with supply chain issues and resolve problems.

As a turnkey supplier, especially in the role of Principal Contractor, it was also essential to have transparency and strength of communications. Having direct contact with all functional areas, including direct links with FAs and all delivery related stakeholders and their schedules was key.

These games have been unprecedented and unique in terms of the challenges that we have faced. We’ve had a fixed budget to deliver a new model against an immovable deadline, all against the backdrop of a pandemic and periods of remote planning - which is unheard of in a complex multi-sport, multi venue games like this.

Use of GL’s resource and their network in the market was hugely beneficial to us.

Alex Kirby

Director of Venue, Village Development and Overlay, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games


GL events successfully delivered the turnkey overlay services on time and in budget for all 12 Commonwealth Games venues across the West Midlands, providing spectators, athletes, and event crew with essential facilities to enjoy the sporting extravaganza. 

Our team created designs, produced delivery plans and operational delivery, ensuring everything needed for a successful games was in place - on time and on budget. 

As Principal Contractor, we provided a one stop shop for all of the Organising Committee’s needs, delivering a streamlined, efficient project with a single point of contact and reporting lines. The client also benefited from the extensive supply chain and network that GL offers relating to the procurement of subcontractors and various commodities within the supply chain.

Alongside our operational delivery, our extensive social value programme saw GL events engage with the community, and help Birmingham 2022 to create legacy, with long-term benefit to the local and regional economy, offering apprenticeships, work placements and a range of other opportunities aimed at delivering long-term benefit to individuals in need of training, experience of the job market, and other life skills.