Contracts to build the final five blocks of the £1 billion Olympic Village will move to tender stage within weeks, John Armitt has revealed.
The Olympic Delivery Authority chairman said procurement of the remaining Village work would ramp up once a winner was announced for the first contract.
Developer Lend Lease will itself build five of the Olympic Village’s 11 plots, while Galliford Try, Ardmore and Wates are battling for the deal to build a further one.
This will leave five blocks to be procured, across three contracts. Individual longlists of between five and eight contractors are understood to exist against each contract, and a smaller number of firms will be shortlisted and invited to tender.
Mr Armitt told Construction News: “The slight majority of the Village work will be Tier 1 contracts.
“The first Tier 1 deal is shortly to be announced. We will then tender the rest over the next three months, with the first almost immediately.”
The ODA confirmed a winner for the first contract was expected in early August, and that all blocks would be awarded by the autumn.
The delivery body this week marked three years until the London Games begin in July 2012. The ODA celebrated meeting all its targets for the last 12 months, and published its targets for the next 12.
Mr Armitt said: “Four years in, we are where we wanted to be. In any construction project that is a win.
“Contractors can take a large share of the responsibility for that; at the end of the day it is them that have delivered.”
But the ODA chief said contractors faced a big challenge to stay on course as the build programme ramped up over the next year.
And he added that with half of all Tier 2 work still up for grabs, subcontractors should be pestering main contractors for work.
“At least 50 per cent of Tier 2 contracts are still to be placed, and after that comes Tier 3 and Tier 4, so there is lots of value over the next year.
“The guys most likely to make shortlists are the ones who make the most nuisance of themselves. They should get on the phone and get their ability in front of the main contractors.”
Mr Armitt confirmed that contractor Carillion would finish construction of the Media Centre, despite the changes to its design.
It had been rumoured that some work on the slightly re-scoped scheme would be re-tendered but the ODA chairman said: “Carillion will be charging down the field. They are flying at the moment.”
He added: “If you invite Cabe in then you are unlikely to get a clean slate. They are now satisfied with the changes, as is Hackney Borough Council, and work is well underway.”
Work on the Olympic site in Stratford, east London, has settled into a busy but sustainable routine, Mr Armitt said.
“We have not had to do seven-day weeks: it has mainly been Monday to Friday with some Saturday mornings. I was there at quarter to six one evening recently and it was very quiet. People had shut down and machinery had stopped.”
He added that there was “undoubted pride” from workers on the site.
The recession has both hindered and helped the Olympic construction project, according to Mr Armitt.
“The downside is that we could not secure private sector funding for the Village or the Broadcasting Centre, so we have used contingency funds and [efficiency savings].
“The upside is that risks we had two years ago concerning available labour and cost inflation have gone away.”
Defending the ODA board’s £100,000 expenses claims for 2008/9, Mr Armitt said that building relationships with contractors was vital.
“I have no problem with the expenses – it is all sensible expenditure. About £40,000 was on travelling to Beijing.
“People may question the entertaining of contractors, but it is the nature of the industry. When things go a little bit wrong it is vital to be in a position to deal with it and there is no better way of building that relationship than over a pint.”
50 per cent Of Olympics Tier 2 contracts still to be won
5 Olympic Village plots still up for grabs