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ODA bans cars from 2012 site

Workers on the 2012 Olympics will not be allowed to drive their cars to the site and will be told to take public transport instead.

Workers on the 2012 Olympics will not be allowed to drive their cars to the site and will be told to take public transport instead.

The Olympic Delivery Authority has banned cars from the east London project because it is worried the thousands of workers needed for the job will turn up late because they will be stuck in traffic jams.

In an exclusive interview with Construction News, the ODA’s man in charge of construction, Howard Shiplee, said: “We don’t want people driving in. There will be no cars on the project. It’s a planning restriction and we don’t want to clog up an already congested part of London.”

He added that environmental issues – the 2012 organisers have put ‘being green’ at the heart of their building programme – were also a factor for the no car policy.

Instead, workers will be told to use nearby Stratford station or catch one of the hundreds of mini buses the ODA will be hiring to ferry workers in from prearranged pick-up points such as underground stations.

Mr Shiplee said in addition to the two main entrances – one in the north and one in the south – two more will open to make it easier and quicker for workers to get onto the site.

One of these will enable workers to walk from Stratford station and onto the site in less than 15 minutes.

Stratford is served by both underground and overland lines and from next year will receive new ‘javelin’ trains running from King’s Cross in north London down to Ebbsfleet in Kent as part of the
local commuter service on the CTRL line.

At the moment there are 3,000 workers on the Olympic Park but this will rise dramatically next year and peak at around 23,000 in 2010.

This will see 9,000 on the main park, plus a further 6,000 on the Bovis Lend Lease job to build the athletes’ village, 6,000 more on Westfield’s scheme to build a retail complex at Stratford and a further 2,000 carrying out associated work. Work begins in earnest this week when main stadium construction starts.

Mr Shiplee said workers will be subjected to hand and retina recognition biometric tests to enable them to get on the site, which has boundary that runs to more than 10 miles.

Mr Shiplee added: “It’s extremely challenging getting them through the gate between 6:30 and 8 am and this technology is tried and tested.

“The hand recognition test is very quick and if we need to add more turnstiles then we will.”

Safety first

Mr Shiplee has said that firms that breach health and safety will be removed from site – but only as a last resort.

The ODA has put the welfare of workers at the top of its list and has graded firms according to the conditions they offer staff on site.

More than two million man hours have been worked so far, with no reportable accidents.

Mr Shiplee said the ODA had to set standards in safety that the industry could follow.

He added: “It is top of our agenda and we would kick firms off. If we saw a firm doing it wrongly, we would talk to them, tell them how to do it properly and tell them ‘we’ll be keeping an eye on you’. But if they ignored all that, then we would kick them off.”

The ODA is planning to open two more training facilities at Waltham Forest and Newham in addition to the skills academy it already has on site. Around 20 per cent of the 3,000 staff on site are from local boroughs – 300 are previously unemployed.

The number of trainees stands at three per cent of the current workforce.

ODA vow to vet subcontractors for value

With ISG picking up the last of the big four venues and Sir Robert McAlpine due to start work on the
main stadium site tomorrow, attention is now turning to the subcontractors the winners will use.

Keller is beginning piling work on the stadium’s bowl but Mr Shiplee said the ODA was vetting the second and third tier contractors that were being used on the job. He said: “We’re making sure we’re getting a spread of the market and that we’re getting a balanced spread.”

Mr Shiplee said there were a number of bids where main contractors had said their tenders had been based on using certain subcontractors, which he said he was happy with.

But he added that he still expected value for money and in the case of firms such as Balfour Beatty that have a number of subsidiary companies that could be expected to carry out work on its jobs – Balfour owns piling firm Stent – he said: “If firms are using in-house companies, we don’t want to see discounts given and we’re looking for transparency.”

Aggregates Industries is supplying concrete and aggregates. Mr Shiplee said the ODA had worked out that it would take one million truckloads to bring in the required amount. Instead, it will be taken in by 3,800 trains.