As the dust settles on London 2012, Team GB’s athletes aren’t the only ones who should be proud of themselves. We look at how UK construction made the Games great

will hurst

Well, what a result! Even in the midst of our post-Olympic hangover, we can reflect on the astonishing fact that Team GB won 65 medals at the Olympics including 29 gold, during a Games which has wowed the world with its attention to detail and fabulous atmosphere.

London 2012 will be remembered as a triumph: a triumph for the athletes, the organisers, the volunteers, the armed forces, and yes, for those who delivered the Olympic Park and its venues, the UK construction industry.

As the architect of the aquatics centre, Zaha Hadid, tells us in the Olympic memories section of this special edition, that the “Thank you London” banner that US swimming superstar Michael Phelps and his team-mates held up should be seen as a message to the construction team as much as anyone who was involved in making the Games a reality.

One wonders whether the capital’s proposed victory parade should not include engineers, surveyors, architects and contractors among the athletes and others taking part.

We all believed some time ago of course that the industry had delivered when it mattered most. This is why we launched the Building 2012 campaign at the start of the year to help ensure that the greener, faster and smarter ways of working developed on a formerly neglected and polluted 500-acre plot of land in east London are celebrated and learnt from.

In this unique edition — the first Building has ever published exclusively for the iPad and other tablet devices — we round up the campaign so far, looking back at the best news and features we’ve produced on the Olympics over the course of the year.

As well as Olympic memories from other key figures such as Balfour Beatty’s Mike Peasland, you can also look forward to an in-depth review of the Olympic Park in operation and its prospects from Building’s critic Ike Ijeh, an analysis of the great Olympic marketing row from architecture and marketing expert Peter Murray, and a photo gallery of stunning 2012 images.

Whether the infectious optimism generated by the Games can help pull UK construction out of the mire remains to be seen.

Looking at Team GB, the lessons are clear. The fact that Britain’s athletes produced their best performance in more than a century at London 2012 demonstrates that mood and confidence does play a part in producing success.

But Team GB shows that public expenditure matters too. It is no coincidence that funding for athletes has rocketed in recent years with around £4bn of National Lottery money pumped into British sport since John Major’s government decided to do so in the mid 1990s.

The rewards of investing in construction could be equally great given that a pound invested in the industry produces around £2.84 of GDP as well as boosting employment, skills and economic competitiveness.

So come on government. Seize the moment and help UK construction realise its potential as another of our world-beating teams.

Building 2012

Will Hurst, assistant editor