Prime minister to champion industry’s work to global VIPs during Games

The UK’s construction industry will be promoted to the world’s leading clients during the London Olympics, in an effort to capitalise on the Games spearheaded by 10 Downing Street.

Prime minister David Cameron has become personally involved in the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) initiative, which will be formally unveiled later this month and involves a global business summit on construction and infrastructure held in London, expected to be attended by up to 300 foreign VIPs.

The government’s move, which also involves a summit to promote the creative industries including architecture, comes as Building kicked off its extended Olympic coverage this week with the launch of the Building 2012 campaign to celebrate construction’s contribution to the Games and promote the industry abroad.

It also coincided with an appeal to the prime minister made by New London Architecture boss Peter Murray, who called on him to help reform strict marketing rules drawn up by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, which Murray claims are denying firms involved in the Olympics their “due credit”.

Back in September, Cameron announced a UKTI programme in 2012 that he claimed would generate a £1bn boost to the economy including the ‘British Business Embassy’ highlighting key sectors for global growth.

“We are determined to make the most of this opportunity to ensure we deliver a lasting economic legacy that will benefit the whole country,” he said.
However, the construction industry’s leading role in the initiative has only now emerged.

While the two construction-related events will use the 2012 Games as a springboard, Building understands they are intended to promote the best British firms and not just those with direct involvement in the Olympics.

Conference speakers are being finalised with organisations including the Design Council and the UKTI’s own construction sector advisory group also being consulted on the plans.

Murray, who outlined his concerns in a letter to the Times this week, told Building that Locog’s “No Marketing Rights Protocol” prevented contractors, engineers, architects and others from showcasing their Olympic involvement.

“Now we have a success that shows that the UK construction industry can deliver large scale projects on time and on budget, but most of the teams involved will gain little recognition for their work because of the protocol,” Murray said.

He added: “Surely a quick call from Cameron to [Sebastian] Coe suggesting that Locog comes up with a positive strategy to deal with this issue and calls off the legal attack dogs, is not beyond the realms of possibility.”

A spokesperson for Locog said: “All suppliers to London 2012 sign no marketing rights clauses in their contracts. A large proportion of the funding for the staging of the Games comes through sponsorship - companies which purchase the exclusive rights to promote their association with the Games.

Without these sponsors the Games wouldn’t happen which is why we ask suppliers not to publicise their involvement.”