altAugust 17 - John Armitt (pictured), the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), has claimed that a sensible decision has been made to let the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) transform the Olympic Park venues and infrastructure for legacy use immediately after the London 2012 Games are concluded.

The original plan meant that the ODA, which built the Olympic Park and the venues on it, would be responsible for transforming the East London location for almost a year before handing it to the OPLC.

But the transfer of responsibility follows discussions between the organisations over how best to deliver the post-Games transformation works in a way that ensures value for money and avoids duplication.

The OPLC will now take the £300 million ($494 million/€341.81 million) of scope and budget from the ODA, which has also seconded its transformation team to the Legacy Company to oversee the process including the removal of temporary venues and structures on the Olympic Park, removal of Games-time elements of permanent venues and the reconfiguration of roads, bridges and other infrastructure for legacy use in a decision Armitt has called logical.

"It is clearly the most sensible thing," Armitt told insidethegames.

"The previous arrangement meant that we were going to have six to nine months and then hand the Olympic Park over to the OPLC.

"But getting the Olympic Park across to the OPLC is the logical decision because it then gives them time to do things at their pace.

"We would clearly have been focused on getting everything down and away as quickly as possible but when it comes to next year, it may not be what they decide to do from a legacy point of view.

"So they can control that programme and that is definitely what is best from a legacy point of view.

"Passing the baton for post-Games conversion works to the Olympic Park Legacy Company will also ensure value for money as there will now only be one public body responsible for the work on site after the summer of 2012, enabling the ODA to conclude its contracts and wind-up early if possible."

In addition to the transferring of responsibility, the OPLC has appointed international consultancy and construction company Mace as its project management partner to work alongside them to manage the delivery of post-Games transformation work.

altMace will initially manage two Tier One contractors to be appointed by Christmas for the North and South Park, plus existing conversion contracts such as the Aquatics Centre.

Colin Naish, the executive director of Infrastructure at the OPLC, said: "By taking on the transformation work, the Olympic Park Legacy Company can be more efficient and effective in our plans to reopen the Park after the Games and, by working closely with Mace, ensure the transformation works support our long-term vision of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park."

Mark Reynolds, the deputy chief executive of Mace, said: "We are thrilled to be one of the few companies to have been involved with the regeneration of the Olympic Park from inception, with the original master-planning and contributing to the Candidate City bid, through delivery of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with CLM Delivery Partner [the ODA's delivery partner] and now onto delivering the legacy.

"We look forward to developing a world-class legacy with the Olympic Park Legacy Company."

The procurement process for the transformation of the Olympic Park is already underway, with a split shortlist of seven companies bidding for contracts in either the north or south areas of the 500 acre site.

This process will not be affected following the changing of responsibilities.

A total of 145 firms registered their interest following the start of procurement by the ODA in late February - 68 of these were for work in the North Park and 77 for the South Park.

The shortlist for the South Park is: Balfour Beatty Group; BAM Nuttall; Lend Lease Construction; VolkerFitzpatrick and Skanska Construction UK; while the shortlist for the North Park is: Balfour Beatty Group; BAM Nuttall; Carillion Construction; Lend Lease Construction and Skanska Construction UK.

A tender process in underway with the winning bidders expected to be announced in December 2011.


By Tom Degun