Congratulations to the CLM consortium of Mace, Laing O’Rourke, and the American engineer CH2M, aided by Davis Langdon, which this week won the race to become the delivery partner for the 2012 Olympics.
Our commiserations too, to the teams they beat; if it’s any consolation, there’s a lot more work to hand out.
The judging panel were impressed with the track record of CLM – between them they’ve worked on five Olympics, and Laing O’Rourke was able to point to its pioneering performance on Heathrow Terminal 5, which has become many people’s idea of a model megaproject. And it couldn’t have done any harm that Mace was so closely involved with the winning and early planning of the Games.
The British public should have every confidence that the winning team can rise to the challenge, and if we’re permitted this once to be a little jingoistic, it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the talents of British construction.
So time for a well deserved celebration before getting down to the task at hand. There are still sites to assembly and question marks over everything from the security to the budget. And of course the whole shooting match must now stop being a footloose set-up operation and transform itself into the most important construction project in British history. With less than six years to go to build it, the time pressures are already immense. It will made easier all round if everyone remembers the operative word in this team: delivery partner.
Denise Chevin, editor
The tigers are coming
Magners cider may not be the only Irish export to take the British market by storm. Irish contractors, nurtured on a fat-rich diet of European Union structural funds and multinational capital investment, have expanded until they’ve outgrown their domestic markets. The government has therefore suggested that they expand overseas, and for cultural, linguistic and economic reasons, the obvious target is Britain. So how much threat do these tiger contractors pose to our domestic species? Well, at this stage they have turnovers akin to medium-sized UK firms, so they won’t be appearing in our Barometer tables anytime soon. But with many clients struggling to fill tender list, a go-getting band of the newcomers may have an impact out of proportion to their size. That said, the £21m pre-tax loss at Costain reminds us that they may be tigers, but the UK market is a bit of a jungle.