The second critical parliamentary report on the 2012 Games within a week has described Zaha Hadid’s Olympic aquatics centre as “over-designed”, writes Dan Stewart.
The report from the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee accuses the Games’ organisers of being “prepared to spend money like water” and says the engagement of delivery partner CLM has played a “significant part in the increase in costs” of the Games.
The report comes a week after the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee attacked the Games’ spiralling budget, expressed alarm that the £303m aquatics centre would cost more than four times the 2004 estimate of £73m. The centre is being built by Balfour Beatty.
In particular, it said the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) claim that the price had not changed during the procurement process was “simply incredible” and called for it to be justified.
It said: “The history of the aquatics centre shows a risible approach to cost control.”
The nature of CLM’s engagement on the Olympics is still not fully understood, said the report, and called for the main terms of its agreement with the ODA to be made public.
It said: “It is important that the basis of CLM’s remuneration and incentivisation is properly understood.” CLM is a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke, Mace and CH2M Hill.
The aquatics centre shows a risible approach to cost control.
Select committee report
The overall budget for the Games, which has risen to £9.3bn from the £4bn announced in 2004, also came in for criticism.
The report said the £2.74bn contingency fund previously announced excluded the amount built into each project budget. The ODA has said this adds up to £973m, meaning the total contingency is £3.72bn.
The overall budget of £9.3bn is unaffected, but this figure is 62% of the ODA’s estimated costs. The report noted that the contingency announced for building venues for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver was just over 10%.
John Armitt, the ODA chairman, said: “We believe we have a realistic budget and contingency and there is a rigorous focus on managing costs within this.”
n The ODA has awarded all four main utilities contracts for the Olympic park to one contractor. McNicholas won the contract to build networks for water, gas, telecoms and electrical civils.