Dominated for more than 100 years by light industry, the 2.5 km2 site was contaminated and its waterways choked. Beginning with the ODA's head of infrastructure, Simon Wright, we learn about the scale of the task faced by Atkins, the firm charged with leading what was to become the most comprehensive enabling works ever undertaken in the UK.

Atkins project director Mike McNicholas and Atkins Environmental Consultant Nin Prakash explain how initial work included in-depth 'desk surveys', the sinking of 3,000 bore holes – some with the aid of sonic drilling – and extensive on-site laboratory analysis.

The project involved the excavation of 2.3 million m³ of soil, 800,000 m³ of which were washed in five soil cleaning machines. But other treatments such as bioremediation (in which oxygen is used to accelerate the breakdown of waste by bugs) and stabilisation technologies are also explored.

About the contributors

Mike McNicholas has led the Atkins London 2012 team from 2005 as the project director for both Atkins' ODA and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) contracts.

Mike joined Atkins in 1982. He has worked on many high-profile projects, including the Atkins-designed Burj Al Arab in Dubai and the UK's Drax Power Station.

He also specialises in designing marine structures such as wharf walls, offshore islands and breakwaters, as well as foundations for heavy industries and power stations and aviation infrastructure.

Simon Wright is ODA director of Infrastructure and Utilities. He came to the ODA from Arup, where he was director and group leader of Arup Project Management Europe.

Simon is responsible for the delivery of environmental, geotechnical and civil engineering solutions and infrastructure, including ground remediation, earthworks, roads bridges and retaining walls.

He is also responsible for the commissioning and securing of operator licenses to provide for a range of utilities: water and sewerage, gas, electricity and other services required to stage the Games and to ensure that legacy issues are fully integrated and planned for.

Nin Prakash, who has a first in Geology and an MSc/DIC in Engineering Geology, is Atkins' principal environment consultant in the firm's land quality and regeneration division.

Nin specialises in Environmental Due Diligence, Phase I and II environmental and geo-environmental investigations and the design, management and supervision of soil and groundwater remediation works.

RIBA CPDDisclaimer: NBS TV programmes are the intellectual property of RIBA Enterprises and it shall be a breach of this right to copy, or in any way exploit commercially or show in public any of the programmes without the express permission of RIBA Enterprises.
The information contained in the programmes is not intended and accordingly shall not be relied upon either as a substitute for professional advice or judgement or to provide legal or other advice with respect to any particular circumstance. RIBA Enterprises accepts no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the information contained in the programmes.