Work to transform the Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park into a year round multi-use venue to deliver a permanent sporting, cultural and community legacy in east London began today.

In contracts worth over £67m, London Legacy Development Corporation on behalf of the E20 Stadium LLP has started the work through contractor Carey’s PLC, who today began removing 25,000 seats and the grass field of play to prepare the ground for Balfour Beatty Group Ltd to start taking down the existing roof later in the autumn.

A new roof – twice the size of the original at around 45,000sq metres – will then be built and lifted into position by spring 2015. It will cover every seat in the ground and improve the acoustics and spectator experience for football matches, other sporting events and concerts.

Work to erect the new roof will be completed by spring 2015 when final preparations for the Rugby World Cup will take place including installing concessions, toilets, turnstiles, hospitality areas and laying the pitch for the five World Cup matches that will take place at the Stadium between September and October 2015.

Following the Rugby World Cup, final work will be carried out to prepare the Stadium for its long term tenants West Ham United FC and UK Athletics.

New retractable seating will be installed so the lower bowl can be protracted and retracted  depending on the type of event taking place; this allows closer pitch side football views while retaining an international class running track. These will be in place ahead of the start of the football season, domestic athletics championships and Diamond League events taking place in the summer of 2016.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

“Work is now underway to transform London’s stunning Olympic Stadium ensuring its long term use as a world class venue. The now iconic stadium will be converted and a new roof added to enable it to host a wide variety of sporting and cultural events. These construction works are creating valuable jobs and underlining the progress being made to deliver a legacy from the 2012 Games in east London.”

London Legacy Development Corporation Chief Executive Dennis Hone said:

“These works will ensure the Stadium will be a flexible venue used throughout the year, delivering a truly lasting legacy in east London. From the lighting of the cauldron to 2012 stars like Mo Farah, Hannah Cockcroft and Usain Bolt storming to victory, this iconic Stadium holds some special memories.  Today paves the way for the Stadium’s next chapter and I am sure it will host many more inspirational moments over the decades to come”

Kim Bromley-Derry, Chief Executive of Newham Council, said:

“By 2015, the Stadium will be a game-changer in every sense. It will be a venue capable of changing for a range of sporting and cultural events. No previous Olympic Stadium has ever done this – or proved its legacy credentials so quickly.  This exciting transformation will generate jobs for our local community at each stage of the project. Residents will be able to develop their skills while creating a brilliant asset for their area. The fact that everyone in Newham will be able to use the new Stadium will bring to reality the commitment we made in the original bid to host the Olympic Games to create a lasting legacy.”