Jack Pringle says design and build contracts for 2012 Olympics would compromise quality of design

The president of the RIBA has warned that the way Olympic contracts are awarded is risking design excellence.

According to an article in The Guardian today, Jack Pringle said budget cuts could turn the 2012 Olympics into the “tarmac and plasterboard” games.

He criticised the strategy of opting for design and build contracts. "It is important that the process is not contractor-led, the crude old design and build... let us not sacrifice games excellence on the altar of the crudest form of reliable delivery."

There has been talk of using design and build contract for the Olympic Stadium which was awarded to Team McAlpine consortium after it was the only contender. The consortium includes HOK Sport, the architects of the new Arsenal stadium.

Pringle said: "The contract was a parody of one's worst fears. HOK are a marvellous architect, the Emirates Stadium is fantastic, the Sydney Olympics stadium is fantastic, and McAlpine are one of the most accomplished contractors. But is this a one-horse race?"

The comments will fan the row over the role of design on the Olympics.

Pringle has already written to Olympics minister Tessa Jowell arguing that the ODA was being too cautious. And Lord Rogers personally warned Jowell in October that the design-and-build route would result in lacklustre designs.

Pringle was speaking at Riba's London 2012 Olympic legacy dinner.