Phase One networkers take £9.3bn sum with pinch of salt and plenty of cocktails

Construction’s new professionals are not convinced that the 2012 Olympics will come in on budget, according to a straw poll conducted at last Thursday’s Phase One networking event.

More than 140 people from across the industry attended the event, organised by Building, at London bar Sosho. A poll of their expectations of the Olympics revealed that most believed it would be worth the money, but had no faith it would be built for its £9.3bn budget.

Of the 44 respondents, 37 (84%) said the amount would be higher. Just under half said it would be worth the money and a third said it was too early to tell.

There was also criticism of the way the design process had been managed. It was “cramped by the procurement method and ministerial interference”, said one guest. Another felt the designs missed the opportunity to be sustainable.

One architect said they were examples of “form over function”, adding: “Starchitects are not right for stadiums. They should be designed by stadium specialists.”

The Olympics theme continued with a speech by Olympic fencer James Beevers, a project management executive at the Construction Industry Council who had just returned from testing the Beijing 2008 venues.

He said: “The stadium plays an interesting game of scale. It’s has 100,000 seats but it’s all under the ground. There’s a lot of work to do on the landscape – you see lorries carrying full-size trees.”

The cynicism of youth: some views on the 2012 Games

"It’ll look good but there’ll be hidden costs. I don’t doubt the cost will be astronomically higher than expected."
Guy Miller, Metronet

"The designs aren’t spectacular. I want to go to China to see their venues. I don’t feel I need to go down the road to see London’s."
Magdaline Yeo, BPTW partnership

"Nasty surprises always crop up and on a scheme this size the probability increases. Also, I find the doughnut a little bland."
Aaron Brotman, Currie & Brown

"It’s an investment. Money will do east London lots of good and the Games should also help the industry if there’s a drop in other work."
Luke Sonnex, Hunter & Partners