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ODA chief defends Olympic construction marketing ban

The chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority said the restriction on firms publicising their involvement in the games’ construction work is “not the straitjacket it sometimes is portrayed to be”.

Speaking at a media briefing on the Olympic venues, ODA chief executive Dennis Hone said many construction firms were winning work abroad on the back of their Olympic pedigree, and that the ban was “not doing them any harm at all”.

The marketing rights protocol surrounding the Olympic Games is intended to protect primary sponsors, but has been criticised for stopping smaller firms advertising their work.

Mr. Hone added: “Yes, there is a restriction in terms of general publicity, but they’re able to use it in a very targeted way when they’re bidding for contractual arrangements.”

“Although it may be an irritation to some of the constructors, in terms of their marketing plans, it hasn’t prevented them utilising their experience on the Olympic Park and in construction during the 2012 games, in terms of making bids for other projects,”

“They [government] have to look at protection of the sponsorship arrangements that were put in place.”

Sir John Armitt told CN this month that the debate on the Olympic marketing gag should be put on hold for now, arguing that it could detract from the excellent work done by the construction industry in delivering the 2012 Games on time and to budget.

Sir John’s report, London 2012 – a global showcase for UK plc, had argued that “urgent action” was needed to relax marketing restrictions on London 2012 earlier this month, to which government responded that it hoped to have “a workable solution in place through which supplier companies can make reference to the work they have undertaken by the end of 2012”.

Also speaking on the panel, Royal Institute of British Architects president Angela Brady said: “We don’t actually make these rules, so it’s not for us to comment on that. But I’m a great promoter – if you’ve got something to show and it’s of good quality then I think you should be able to promote it.”

“As an architect I always say promote your buildings as much as you can. But buildings are quite big – it’s quite hard to hide them, I don’t think that any of those buildings will actually be out of the public eye.”

“We’ve just got to go on promoting the very best of what these buildings are doing, promoting the architecture.”

Mr. Hone also praised the work of the construction industry in delivering the project, telling CN he was “incredibly proud” of the on-time completions, the securing of post-games operators and the successful stress-testing phase on the transport network.

The construction work included a bridge made of recycled running shoes and the Stirling Prize-nominated Velodrome, and was the first Olympic project to have been delivered without a construction fatality. 98 per cent of materials on site were re-used, in keeping with the games’ goal of sustainability.

“This is the culmination of the efforts of thousands of people who’ve worked on this project, and next week, when it’s showcased to the world, I hope people realise that when they’re watching the sport, all of the activities and all of the construction and design and engineering they’ve done to make this possible.”

“I think that reflects on the designers, the engineering companies, the construction companies, and the 46,000 [construction] workers who’ve been employed on this site.”

Ms. Brady added that it was a “tremendous achievement” to have delivered the infrastructure: “there was a time not so long ago when every tube stop you went eastwards was a year of life expectancy lost, and that’s going to change now with this wonderful opportunity to regenerate the heart of London.”

Did your firm work on the Olympic construction site? Share your experience below or by e-mailing Chris.Berkin@Emap.com

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