Contractors on the Olympic project are paid quickly to avoid cashflow issues

Contractors on the 2012 Olympics are being paid undisputed invoices within 18 days as the Olympic Delivery Authority seeks to improve its cashflow procedures during the recession.

The ODA was previously using a more standard 30-day payment procedure, but has decided to cut this to 18 days to make sure that none of the 801 construction companies working on the Games suffer from late payments.

It is encouraging its contractors to pass on the cut in processing times down their supply chains, as smaller businesses and specialist subcontractors are suffering unduly from the credit crunch.

David Higgins, the chief executive of the ODA, told the Times newspaper: "What we don't need in this tough time is suppliers to contractors having problems because we are one of their major customers and we're delaying payment … This is an industry that has traditionally stretched out payments - 60 to 90 days is not unusual. Businesses depend on cash, so anything we can possibly do to alleviate cashflow problems we should be doing."

Next year will see a step up in the volume of construction on the Olympic park, with the start on site of the Media Centre and work continuing on the main sporting venues. Towards the end of next year, more than 9,000 workers are expected to be onsite.