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Birmingham nears Commonwealth dream

The work of fitting wet room waterproofing facilities is an important part of developing any new swimming, watersports or spa facility - and there may be plenty of contracts available in the Birmingham area soon.

Having spent years preparing a bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026, the city is now in pole position for the 2022 event after beating off competition from Liverpool to be the English bid. 

The two cities both declared an interest earlier this year after the original host city, Durban, had to pull out due to financial problems that have prevented it carrying out its own construction work. London and Manchester also mulled the possibility of bidding, but decided against it.

Both Liverpool and Birmingham passed a preliminary assessment in July, but England's Commonwealth Games chiefs have now recommended to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport that the second city gets the nod ahead of its Merseyside rival. Further scrutiny will be needed before Birmingham's formal candidature is rubber stamped, but the deal is nearly done.

Outlining the decision and what happens next, sports minister Tracey Crouch said: "I am grateful to the bid teams from both Birmingham and Liverpool for their hard work in making the case for their respective cities as potential Commonwealth Games hosts.

"Now, after a comprehensive assessment process, the government will look at the final bid proposal from Birmingham and decide if a formal bid will be submitted to the Commonwealth Games Federation. We need to be completely satisfied that the bid offers overall value for money from hosting the Games and that a strong economic and sporting legacy can be delivered from it."

Although one of the key factors in the success of Birmingham was the fact that many of its proposed venues have already been built, such as the indoor sports facilities of the Barclaycard Arena and National Exhibition Centre, Edgbaston Cricket Ground and the selection of different football grounds where rugby sevens may be staged. But if Birmingham does get the Games, it will also mean construction work to expand the Alexander Stadium for the athletics, as well as building a new cycling velodrome in Dudley and an aquatics centre in Wolverhampton.

The aquatics centre will be the most obvious site for wet room waterproofing projects, but there will be others in the changing facilities at the other venues that are either built from scratch or enhanced. Moreover, there may be further upgrades of existing sporting facilities or the building of new ones encouraged as a legacy of the games. 

Of course, even if the Birmingham bid does go forward with full government support, it is not guaranteed to win, as competition is expected from Malaysia, Canada and Australia. A potential problem for the latter country is that the Gold Coast will host the 2018 Games, which will mean many of the voters who decide the ultimate host city will be reluctant to let the same country host successive Games. As a result, Kuala Lumpur is likely to emerge as the biggest rival when the September 30th deadline for bid submissions arrives.

The Commonwealth Games was last hosted in England in 2002, when Manchester staged the event and built a new aquatics centre for it. Glasgow did likewise at Tollcross when it hosted the 2014 Games, although diving events were held in Edinburgh at the same venue used when the Scottish capital hosted the 1986 Games.


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