August 2022

London Olympic Stadium


Panoramic photo of the London Stadium from the back of the stand

Specialist Power Systems were asked to tender to replace many of the Central Battery Systems that provide emergency back-up power for the London Stadium. After several technical revisions and a formal tendering process it was clear that Specialist Power had provided the most cost effective and technically adept solution to initially replace 22 of the EN50171 life safety, standby power systems.

It was a successful project implementation scheduled over 8 weeks on-site, we ended up finishing the project two weeks ahead of schedule and within budget. As a result we have been entrusted to provide all the ongoing service and maintenance support for the London Stadium.

Carry on reading to find out all about this exciting project.

London 2012 Olympic Games logo

London Stadium – The Home of the London Olympics 2012

Originally called The Olympic Stadium, the site at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London was built to host the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. 10 years later and the stadium is now home to Premier League football club West Ham United and UK Athletics.

Most famously, on Saturday 4th August 2012, the Olympic Stadium was host to Super Saturday where team GB’s Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah all won gold in an unforgettable 44 minutes inside the Olympic Stadium.

Following the Games, it was renovated for multi-purpose use and now plays host to music concerts, stadium tours, UK athletics events and West Ham United’s Premier League home games.

In fact, due to its unique oval shape and relocatable seating, it was deemed to have the potential to host other sports such as baseball and cricket. 

Background to the Project

As the London Stadium can hold up to 80,000 people at any one time, an EN5071 life safety system or Central Battery System is critical for public safety.

The original units, which were installed when the stadium was built back in 2009 support the stadium’s CCTV security systems, emergency lighting and area access control systems in the event of any power failure.

Due to the units becoming end of life which unfortunately resulted in a number of failures, 22 of the 33 stadium’s central battery systems needed to be replaced. Specialist Power were asked to tender for the work by the stadiums facilities management company Vinci, who look after the maintenance of London Stadium.

Ranging in size from smaller 1.2kVA units right up to larger 40kVA units, we were successful in winning the contract and after an initial site survey, work started in 2021.

British Standards kite mark with EN 50171 underneath
Clock icon

Challenges of the Project

When the Central Battery Systems were originally installed, they were not fitted with any external maintenance bypass switches. This meant that for each of the 22 units, our team of UPS engineers had to shut them down one at a time, uninstall the existing units and then replace with new units. We also had to alter all the AC/DC electrical cabling to accommodate the installation of the new bypass switches.

The replacement process takes a lot longer in terms of downtime than if there was an external maintenance bypass switch in place. This would have allowed us to maintain the stadiums electrical loads on raw mains whilst we replaced the Central Battery Systems.

As a result of the units having to be switched off individually and the stadium loads turned off, we had to work around a short window of around 5-6 hours per day.

The downtime meant the stadium was without key resources for this period which added additional complications in terms of planning. For example, when the CCTV had to be shut down additional security staff were employed to cover this period.

The Project

Planning was crucial to limit downtime so that the power to each unit was only off for a limited period. Our engineers and project managers put a plan of action in place to install three units a week.

To minimise disruption and downtime, every Monday we prepared the three main installations by installing the new bypass switches on to the wall and installing the cables between the central battery systems and bypass switches.

Then on the following three days we installed one unit per day where the power was turned off in the morning and then put back in the afternoon.

With the prep work carried out on the Monday our team were able to work around the short timeframe each day so that the critical loads supported by the central battery systems were only down for a few hours.

London Stadium view of the pitch from the players tunnel
Recycling logo on the side of a van icon

All removal and disposal of the old batteries, UPS units and cabinets was completed on the Friday by our team of qualified disposal experts in preparation for the following week.

As the stadium is open to the public for stadium tours, music concerts and sporting events, we had to work around a list of dates that we couldn’t work on which was factored into the scheduling.

We also had restrictive access to several units that are located in metal enclosures at the very top of the stadium seating area. We employed a specialist team to move the units and batteries up the stairs into position. We completed 6 installations in two days as these units were smaller than the 16qty 10-40kVA in the plant room areas.

Central Battery System Monitoring

To allow for ongoing monitoring, all units were integrated into the stadium’s building management control system operated by Vinci Facilities, so that any faults are picked up 24/7 by the onsite Vinci operational staff.

Computer screen through a magnifying glass
Front of Socomec Masterys EM UPS

Socomec Masterys EM+ Central Battery System EN50171 Certified 3 Hour

As the London Stadium is open to the general public, the replacement units needed to be certified to meet strict British Standards EN 50171 safety requirements with a minimum battery runtime of three hours.

As a result, we chose to install 16 new Socomec units from their EMergency CPSS range (Emergency Central Power Supply System). The Masterys EM+ units are designed with a fast battery charge (80% in 12 hours) and a long-life battery with 10-year life expectancy.

Specialist Power Sales Director and project lead Adam Baverstock said about the Socomec product


“As a West Ham United fan, I was keen to win this tender. Specialist Power Systems and Socomec have forged a fantastic relationship over the past years. We have supplied many of the Socomec EN50171 life safety systems to other customers so we had no doubt it would be a great fit for this project.

The Socomec Mastery EM+ products are backed with a 3-year warranty which really demonstrates how much Socomec believe in their reliability. Specialist Power are an official Socomec service partner which means we provide all commissioning and maintenance services using our own highly skilled engineers. The project was completed two weeks early and in budget and all in all it’s been a very positive project.”

Photo of Adam Baverstock - Sales Director

Highlights of the Project

Due to the meticulous planning, our team of engineers were able to complete the install two weeks earlier than planned and on budget with no extra costs for our customer, which was recognised by the client

In fact, as a result of delivering ahead of schedule and on budget we were successful in winning the service and maintenance contract for the entire stadium to make sure the emergency back-up power is available round the clock.

If you want to know more about the London Stadium project or think we can help with your back-up requirements, then please give us a call on 01234 851155 or email [email protected]

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