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Cheltenham to Canada

05 November 2010

As the UK builds up to London 2012, experience with delivering services to the Olympic Games is much sought after. Cheltenham-based PKL has been a key supplier of catering facilities to major sporting events, most recently at the Vancouver Winter Olympics

CAST YOUR MIND BACK to last winter when most of  the UK was shivering under a foot or more of snow. Where we had too much, the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver had too little. It had to create artificial snow to ensure the races could take place. In the end the snow fell of its own accord and the Games were a great success.
Specialist suppliers of catering equipment and facilities to major sporting events across the world, PKL of Cheltenham, was selected to design, supply and install temporary catering facilities for athletes and officials in Vancouver and Whistler. PKL was also required to decommission and re-use the facilities sustainably at the end of the Games.
Crucial to the success was PKL’s close liaison and partnering with the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC), backed by regular contact with the International Olympic Committee. As project manager for the installation of catering facilities, PKL also liaised closely with local specialist sub-contractors.
The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada featured two Olympic villages at both Whistler and Vancouver. PKL had to build two kitchens, one at each Olympic village and each capable of feeding up to 5,000 competitors, staff and officials per day, with seating for 900. Each 10,000 sq ft kitchen was made up of modules, pre-fabricated in the UK, and assembled on arrival in Canada.
Whilst the provision of temporary catering facilities is a relatively common service, events such as an Olympic Games present the service provider with special challenges. These include the sheer size of the event and the numbers involved, the importance of food quality to the athletes, the relatively short time-scales, local regulatory requirements and the implications for the reputation of the Olympics should catering services not meet very high standards.
PKL started work designing the two facilities in 2008 and had a permanent project team
stationed in Vancouver six months before the Games commenced. A key to the success of the project was the use of PKL’s prefabricated Portable Kitchen modules. They can be shipped worldwide, cost effectively and efficiently. The Vancouver Games placed a huge emphasis on sustainability and, as well as optimising catering equipment for energy efficiency, all PKL’s items were returned to the hire fleet once the Games had finished.
Equipment in the kitchens included traditional combi ovens, brat pans, fryers and boiling pans, designed to ensure that athletes’ special diets could all be catered for. There were no cook/chill facilities as all food was freshly prepared on the refrigerated, freezer and dry storage were supplied for each village, capable of holding up to three days supply of food in case of security problems.
The kitchen modules contained all of the necessary extraction canopies, fire suppression equipment, electrical, gas and water fittings and waste handling. Electrical transformers were also integral to the design so that equipment usually used in Europe could accommodate the Canadian mains voltage
From the early stages of the tendering process, PKL worked closely with VANOC to gain a clear understanding of the requirements and priorities of the project. It was also able to provide advice gained from the company’s vast experience of providing catering facilities for previous Olympic Games and other major sporting venues.
Embracing the Olympic ethos of delivering economic value to host nations, PKL’s strategy was to make maximum use of local companies in support of the local economy.
The PKL team consisted of just a Project Manager, Contract Manager and Site Manager, working closely with Canadian sub-contractors to connect the pre-fabricated kitchens to appropriate services and utilities. Teamwork was especially important because of the need to complete the work before the arrival of cold weather and snow.
VANOC put a high value on sustainability for the whole event, including the temporary kitchens. PKL committed to re-using the facilities after the Games to avoid the potential problem of ‘flooding’ the local area with used catering equipment to the detriment of local suppliers. All the catering equipment that was used at Vancouver was reallocated to other sporting events.
Catering for the Winter Olympics
PKL worked with VANOC and specialist subcontractors to provide
● Infrastructure design for hot and cold buffet locations
● Dining hall and kitchen extraction systems
● Grease traps and supporting pipework
● Utilities including HVAC plant and equipment, external utility connections and secondary distribution to termination points for water supply, sanitary (including grease traps where necessary), gas, electricity, and exhaust systems to kitchen equipment
● Internal connections to external utilities supplied in close proximity of the main dining hall footprint.
● Gas, electrical and lighting pertaining to equipment provided.
● Service pathways for internal gas framework including internal and external connections fit out.
● Mechanical infrastructure for temperature controlled cold room and freezers.
● Water and waste services.
● Loading area and dry-store layout.
● Provision relevant specifications including equipment’s loads within the flooring capacity, fire rated insulation, sizing, utilities locations and utilities penetration
● Co-ordination with VANOC and the villages’ caterer for the front of house décor design.
● Provision of dining hall design drawings to meet all codes and regulatory requirements, integrating the needs from VANOC and the facility supplier.
● Integration of emergency systems design with the facility provider to meet code requirements
● Provision of the necessary Letters of Assurances of Schedule B1, B2 and CB with engineer’s approval for mechanical, plumbing, fire suppression, kitchen exhaust and electrical design and works
● Co-ordination and incorporation of utility design and documentation with other relevant stakeholders providing services to the main dining hall.
● Incorporation of HVAC supplier designs in overall design documentation
● Consideration of people traffic flow into overall design
● Proposals for a transition plan for the dining area from the Olympic to the Paralympic period, taking account of reduced seating, space allowance for wheelchair access and functional change requirements.
● Provision of ongoing design advice based on previous experience from similar games related projects.


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