The lead-up to CLM’s appointment as Olympic delivery partner has been a roller-coaster ride of political intrigue and competitive endeavour.
In November 2005, David Higgins, the former head of English Partnerships and the man responsible for delivering the Sydney Olympics in 2000, was named chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority.
By January Higgins had already whipped up controversy when he got rid of two of the existing tenders for a programme manager and velopark designer and introduced instead the role of delivery partner.
The move came as a huge blow for the existing consortiums who had spent six months bidding for the programme manager contract. The situation was made worse as accusations began to fly that Higgins had created the delivery partner’s job to give American engineer Bechtel time to bid, as it had not entered the race to be the programme manager.
It was not until late March that Mace and Laing O’Rourke joined up to form a consortium. It was the result of a late surprise move by the contractor which everyone expected to be focusing its energy on the Olympic stadium. But the pair, along with American Group CH2M Hill and Mace’s original partner, Davis Langdon formed a megaconsortium to rival Bechtel.
Following months of hard work from the four consortiums, Legacy, Bechtel, CLM and G3, the bids were delivered to the ODA by 27 July. In the lead-up to the week announcement of the winner was to be made, Bechtel was still the hot favourite.
But after the weekend, whispers that Roy O’Rourke’s team had inched ahead began to circulate and were finally confirmed on Wednesday after a 10-month battle.