With all hands tied up with the 2012 Olympics, are football clubs going to find it hard hiring specialist contractors, asks Turner & Townsend cost manager Sarah Joyce

It has recently been announced that England is set to see four new football stadiums built before or just after the 2012 Olympics.

Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest, Everton and more recently, Liverpool, have announced redevelopment plans with values of £600m (including regeneration scheme), £45m, £400m (including shopping district) and £300m respectively; and it is said that other clubs such as Aston Villa and Tottenham are set to follow suit.

The designs for Portsmouth and Liverpool stadiums look fantastic, with Portsmouth incorporating urban regeneration elements with waterfront apartments and new public space on 13 acres of reclaimed land.

In fact, all four projects provide for the regeneration of the surrounding area, including housing and commercial developments.

As fantastic as the new stadiums are, especially for the football fans, are the football clubs going to have problems finding a contractor to take on these projects in an already busy market?

Many sporting specialists are already tied up with the 2012 Olympics, with the Olympic Delivery Authority already appointing design teams for the Olympic stadium, aquatics centre and velodrome.

In addition to this, the contractor that successfully delivered the £357m Arsenal Emirates stadium is now a key member of the Olympic Stadium team.

All four of these new stadiums are programmed for completion from 2009 to 2014 and it is said that construction work on Olympic venues is expected to peak in 2010. Will the lack of contractors available and market pressure caused by the Olympics affect these football clubs’ ability to appoint a suitable contractor?

Even if the clients are able to appoint the right contractor, will their prices to build the stadiums reflect the busy market and their willingness, or unwillingness, to be involved? Will costs escalate and the project budgets have to increase because of it?

In fact, a recent article in Building Magazine (23 August 07) stated that tender prices are forecast to rise by 34% over the next five years with the 2012 Olympics work being one of the main causes.

I look forward to monitoring the progression of these projects. It appears that Everton is set to be the first to appoint a contractor and I wonder who it will be? I think the next five years is going to be an interesting time to be working within the industry in London and being able to monitor the impact that the Olympics will have on the market place.