Letters reveal details of ODA’s delivery partner decision

A series of emails and letters released by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has revealed how close Bechtel was to winning the contract to project manage the London 2012 Games.

Speculation has been growing that the US engineer was in dispute with the ODA after it lost out to the consortium led by Mace and Laing O’Rourke.

The documents, which have been released to Building under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that the US firm said the contract ought not to be signed off until it had been debriefed on why it had not won.

Bechtel was officially informed that it had been unsuccessful by email on 30 August. In that message the ODA told Bechtel it was less than five points behind CLM’s winning score.

The message stated: “The overall technical score achieved by the preferred bidder was 71.9 and your overall technical score was 67.4.”

Bechtel’s response came in a letter from Donald Marshall, a director, on 31 August. This takes the ODA up on its offer of a debriefing but insists that no moves be made to conclude the contract with CLM for a certain period.

The letter says: “For completeness we should be further grateful if you could confirm that you will not conclude this contract before a date which is at least three working days after the date of our debrief.”

The overall technical score achieved by the preferred bidder was 71.9 and your overall technical score was 67.4

Email from ODA to Bechtel

The ODA set up the meeting on 8 September and agreed to Bechtel’s request. The message from the authority stated: “I can confirm that the ODA will not enter into the delivery partner contract with the preferred bidder until three working days after the debriefing meeting has been conducted.”

No reason is given as to why Bechtel wished the ODA to delay the finalisation of the contract with CLM.

A source close to the case said: “I think Bechtel thought it had it in the bag. “About a week before the official announcement was made that CLM were the successful team whispers began to circulate to that effect and Bechtel were in contact with the ODA almost immediately.”

The bidders were judged and scored on five criteria: expertise and experience, ability of the team to work with the ODA, ability to provide effective management tools, commercial and contractual arrangements and cost.

Bechtel said: “The three-day period followed on from the ODA offering a debriefing and was part of the normal dialogue.

“At the time we were naturally disappointed as we felt we’d put forward a strong team but we wish the ODA well and have moved on.”