Scheme in Birmingham being built by Lendlease

Lendlease’s £350m project to build the athletes’ village for the 2022 Commonwealth Games is the most likely in the programme to bust its deadline, council bosses have revealed.

Birmingham council leader Ian Ward said the project (pictured), which will eventually see 1,400 homes built in the city’s Perry Barr district, was the job causing organisers the biggest headache.

The other major capital programmes that need to be completed ahead of the Games, which will run from 27 July to 7 August 2022, are the £70m redevelopment of the centrepiece Alexander Stadium, which a contractor has still not been appointed to, and the £60m Sandwell Aquatics Centre, which is being built by Wates.

Ward’s comments came as part of a presentation to the council’s newly formed Commonwealth Games, Culture and Physical Activity Overview and Scrutiny committee.

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Addressing the meeting last week, Ward said: “I think it would be useful for the committee to perhaps from time to time go back out to these sites where the capital build is taking place, particularly the village as that’s the one that contains the highest amount of risk in terms of delivery on time.”

A spokesperson for the council said Ward’s comments were made in the context of the project’s shortened timeframe.

Birmingham was handed the Games in December 2017 after original winner, South African city Durban, was stripped of its host city status – because it was unable to meet promises laid out in its bid. This meant the English city had just over four years, rather than the usual seven, to get ready in time.

The council spokesperson said the scheme, which is the largest of the three capital programmes, remained on track to be delivered on time.

The athletes’ village, which has been designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects and Glenn Howells Architects, received planning in December last year, while local firm DSM Demolition’s began knocking down the former Birmingham City University buildings that were on the site last June.

Lendlease started the main package of works in May, after being appointed to the job in November last year.

In a statement, Lendlease said: “We have an exceptional track record of delivering projects of this type around the world.”

The full Perry Barr regeneration scheme represents a £496m investment.

It is not the first time concerns have been raised about some of the projects associated with the Games,

Just a week after Wates won the scheme to build the aquatics centre last year, Building revealed it was one of two that authorities were so worried about they had already been given a red risk rating.

The aquatics centre, which is being built in Smethwick, and the £15m-£20m redevelopment of Perry Barr railway station, which will service the main stadium and athletes’ village, were both rated as having a high risk of busting their deadline or budget.

But Sandwell Council, which is responsible for the aquatics centre, has since said the scheme is on schedule while the risk on the station job has been downgraded by the client West Midlands Combined Authority.

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