In July, the London 2012 bid team will know if London has won Olympic gold.
If it does, the construction industry has a chance to take gold, silver and bronze: with £8.3bn in capital projects in the pipeline, the Olympics will put the best of British design and construction on show to the world. But Lord Coe’s bid team is relying on demonstrable support from the public, the government, and the construction industry itself. The Building Awards later this month will put the London 2012 bid on centre stage, and Building will take a closer look at the issues in the four weeks leading up to the event.
The Olympic bid is built on a solid financial foundation. With guaranteed finance from the Treasury, the National Lottery and the Greater London Assembly, the Olympics are in an enviable financial position compared with other national infrastructure projects.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has confirmed £2bn in financial support, while legislation is going through parliament to allow £1.3bn in National Lottery proceeds to go towards the games. The government would set up a body called the Olympic Development Authority to oversee the construction of infrastructure, venues and facilities, while responsibility for transport projects would be devolved to an Olympic Transport Authority.
The Greater London Assembly is prepared to contribute up to £526.5m towards staging the games. The London Development Agency would also slice £210.6m from its budget, and the London Boroughs of Hackney and Newham would allow lands in their control to be used to create the Olympic Park.
The bid team’s motto is “excellence without extravagance”. Existing venues will be used where possible, and temporary buildings where appropriate. New facilities are being built only where legacy needs have been identified.
These new build projects sports and training venues – valued at almost £0.5bn – include the 80,000-seat Olympic stadium and Zaha Hadid’s new aquatic centre. The Olympic Village itself, which would be converted to affordable housing after the games, is costed at £0.5bn. The estimated cost of the press and media centre is £113m.
A successful bid would capitalise on the ongoing investment programme to improve the road and rail transport capacity of the Thames Gateway region. A total of £6bn in public and private sector funds has already been committed. Projects include extending the Docklands Light Railway to London City Airport, adding new stations to London Underground’s East London Line, and refurbishing all stations on the underground. The A13 and other significant trunk roads are earmaked for improvements in 2005-12.
The Channel Tunnel Rail Link also offers the opportunity to run a temporary service called the Olympic Javelin, linking St Pancras station in central London to Olympic Park. It would have a journey time of just seven minutes.
The London 2012 bid team has a strong chance of bringing the biggest sporting event in the world to London. If it succeeds, everyone in the industry would be a winner.
How you can help
More than 1 million people have already signed up to back the London 2012 bid. But Lord Coe’s team still needs more support. Readers can register their support at the London 2012 website at www.london2012.org or text the word “London” to 82012.
Please keep a tally of how many staff in your company sign up, and email the details to email@example.com. Companies that register the most votes will be mentioned in our running coverage of the bid.