Olympics purchasers are on their starting blocks

13 April 2005
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14 April 2005 | Cara Whitehouse

Procurement has begun for the construction of the first major projects of the proposed 2012 London Olympics.

The location of the games will not be announced until July. However, two projects - the Aquatics Centre and the VeloPark cycling arena - will go ahead, regardless of the International Olympic Committee's decision.

James Bulley, director of infrastructure at London 2012, which is overseeing the bid, said the projects' independence from the bid allows planning to begin.

He told SM: "All the ingredients are in place for us to have confidence that these projects, as well as future structures, can be delivered on time and to budget."

Notices will be placed in the Official Journal of the European Union this month for development of the two sites, which are due for completion in 2008.

The London Development Agency (LDA) is heading procurement for the £70 million Aquatics Centre and its design has already been awarded to architect Zaha Hadid. The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is handling the £22 million VeloPark infrastructure.

Bulley added that the procurement strategy for the Olympics as a whole is unlikely to be in place until the end of June.

But he said London 2012 had taken lessons from previous Olympics and projects such as the rebuilding of Wembley Stadium.

"We are trying to simplify management structures and procurement procedures."

Bulley added that he expected the construction of Olympic venues to be subject to the government's gateway reviews, designed to ensure infrastructure is delivered on time and to budget.

"The project will benefit from reviews and it's an opportunity to check if we are performing well."

A spokesman for the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) said it could not comment on specific projects but he confirmed that reviews are applied to high-risk or high-value projects.

He added: "I imagine that the 2012 Olympics would fall into one or both of those categories."


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