The Olympics have dominated the news of late – that’s 2012, not 2008. But has the news been good or bad? Let’s find out …
• London 2012 officials have been in Beijing hoping to pick up pointers on building venues. ODA construction head Howard Shiplee and infrastructure and utilities head Simon Wright were there with a team of officials visiting venues and meeting with their counterparts in the Beijing Organising Committee to glean organisational and logisitic information relevant to 2012.
• A fresh influx of Irish workers is currently descending on London to work on the games and escape an economic downturn at home. The London Irish Centre said it knew of hundreds of workers who had moved to the capital this year, mirroring the migration of the early 1980s. Recruiter Hays warns, however, that the games are ahead of schedule, so there isn’t a huge demand now for freelance workers.
• Following overspends at the Olympic stadium and the aquatics centre, the Olympic media centre is now undergoing an extensive value engineering exercise after it was revealed that the design could run up to £90m over budget. The original £400m design, intended to accommodate 20,000 journalists, will be now be revised to include more temporary structures.
• Around £400m of the £1bn budget for the Olympic village is likely to have to come out of public coffers after original developer Lend Lease struggled to generate adequate funding. The village has already had its number of homes cut from 4,200 to about 3,000 to keep costs within budget. Lend Lease will now be engaged as project manager under an interim funding agreement.
• Upgrade work on Baker Street Tube station, a key hub for ferrying passengers to and from the games, has been scaled back to get the work completed in time. Taylor Woodrow will complete the £75m contract for the station, all of which was intended to have step-free access. But now easier access will only be created on platforms 1 to 6 for the Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines.