July/August 2012 – Steel Construction
From the surprise award of the 2012 Olympics to London seven years ago, it was clear that the building of the Games venues would put the construction industry under intense, arguably unprecedented scrutiny.
An unhelpfully low initial build estimate of
£2.4bn meant that every increase in cost – it eventually rose almost fourfold – resulted in squeals of protest, particularly after the economy lurched into recession.
Even so, there is a sense of quiet pride at construction's achievement in delivering the venues comfortably on time and within budget.
The designs may in some cases be prosaic, but with the exception of the main stadium, all facilities built for the London Olympics have a clear future role.
Costs have been kept under tight control. Close-knit project teams, with contractors involved early, have identified savings that would not have been found on less collaborative projects.
The organisers' boast that these would be the “greenest Games ever” have been helped by contractors' long experience of working on brownfield sites; over two million tonnes of contaminated soil were treated in situ, resulting in an estimated saving of £68m.
Construction companies involved with building the venues should be able to shout loudly and proudly about their achievements. It's just a shame that London's Olympic organisers prevent them from doing so.