In a surprise move, contractor links up with Mace to form megaconsortium for 2012 delivery partner role

Laing O'Rourke is set to make a dramatic entrance into the race to become Olympic delivery partner by teaming up with Mace.

The move, which comes after speculation about Mace's choice of bidding partner, would create a megaconsortium to rival anticipated competition from US contracting giant Bechtel.

Building understands that the details of the formidable consortium, which also includes Mace's initial bidding partner Davis Langdon and American project manager CH2M Hill, are currently being negotiated.

Laing O'Rourke's inclusion among the list of bidders is a considerable surprise, as many had expected the firm to bid for the Olympic stadium. Most observers agree that it would be difficult for one firm to be delivery partner and also work on individual projects because it would create a conflict of interest.

In the race for Olympic gold: O’Rourke and Pycroft, head of Mace

In the race for Olympic gold: O’Rourke and Pycroft, head of Mace

The anticipated line-up for the job of delivery partner, which was relaunched by David Higgins, Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive in January, is now:

Other firms that thought to be interested include engineer Jacobs, Turner & Townsend, Gleeds and international consultant URS.

CH2M Hill is a large US firm with 13,000 employees and a strong presence in the nuclear sector. It has extensive experience of project management and would offer the team international kudos.

The news came after Building reported on its website last Thursday that Bovis had teamed up with Capita Symonds and KBR.

Sources close to the delivery process expressed surprise that the scope of the bid documents gave a lot of power to the delivery partner.

One said: "At the moment it seems quite old-school, with the delivery partner responsible for kicking ass."

The source added that the exact nature of the role could be changed by the ODA before the summer.

Bids have to be in by 25 April. Mace and Laing O'Rourke declined to comment.