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Stad ium plans 'will bust budget'

NEWS - £250 million price for Olympic stadium centrepiece is set too low, architects and consultants tell last week's Construction News conference

LONDON'S iconic Olympic stadium for the 2012 games will bust its £250 million budget, experts warned last week.

Architects and consultants told a Construction News Olympics conference it would be tough to deliver a fitting centrepiece for the 16-day extravaganza at the current price.

Jay Parish, director of Arup Sport ? which designed Beijing's stadium for the 2008 games ? said: 'You can certainly build something for £250 million but the question will be whether it can meet the aspirations of London and the UK.

'One way to get the right price is to make sure the design develops with feedback from the financial model. If that takes place and you have sufficient time, then you will get best value for money.' One architect at the conference said plans to reduce the stadium's capacity from 80,000 to 25,000 after the games were 'fraught with risk'.

Mr Parish said: 'It is not a perfect solution going down from 80,000 to 25,000. Nobody is going to appreciate a procurement process that ends up with a stadium that is not as good as Athens or suchlike.' Franklin + Andrews managing director Andrew Williams, who helped secure the Olympics bid for London in Singapore last July, also called for realistic procurement. He said: 'We need realism in budget control. If we want more then we have to pay for it. The bidding process needs proper documentation and straightforward contracts ? and we need to have the confidence not to buy below the real costs.' He added that the London Development Agency was looking at procuring the stadium with a design and build deal.

Mr Williams said: 'The guidance notes from the LDA are leaning towards design and build contracts. They are desperate to know what the outturn costs will be. The main stadium could miss a trick by going down that route.'