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Olympics contractors eye Brazil 2016 opportunities

London Olympic contracts and upcoming work for Rio 2016 are set to offer a lasting legacy for contractors looking to extend their Games success.  

Two big deals are yet to be won in London before eyes turn to Brazil, including a contract still pending for the redevelopment of the 28-acre South Plaza and South Park.

A new permanent tenant for the Olympic Stadium also needs to be secured, and could involve restoration work worth over £50m.

Deconstruction of the Olympic Park started this week, as contractors including ISG and Barr Construction get set to remove or renovate stadia and infrastructure, with 5,000 workers due on site in the next month.

Locog director of infrastructure and venues James Bulley told CN that interest from Rio in using UK construction expertise on the 2016 Games is  set to increase in the coming months after consultation with Rio’s Games planners.

A decision on the new tenant at London’s iconic Olympic stadium will be made next month, and a contractor will be appointed in December to the South Plaza and Park, which will include a 12 m wide tree-lined promenade and a hub incorporating a cafe, box office and a roof-top pavilion.

ISG commenced an intense programme of works this week that will culminate in the Olympic Park being transformed into a permanent new layout and stadia including the Aquatics Centre, Basketball Arena and Olympic Stadium being altered or rebuilt.

Barr Construction’s managing director Barclay Chalmers told CN the firm was exploring several options for the sale of the Basketball Arena, which it is due to start stripping down in January.

On the 18-month construction programme, the contractors that built the stadia will return to the park to remove or change them under the terms of the original deals, with ISG already underway taking down temporary buildings and structures.

Legacy in numbers

  • £76m - Work awarded to Bam Nuttall, which beat more than 140 bids to carry out work including clearing walkways and building new roads and pedestrian paths.
  • £292m - Money set aside in the Olympic budget for LLDC’s ‘Clear, Connect, Complete’ transformation of the Olympic Park.
  • 125 - Minimum number of temporary jobs for residents of host boroughs
  • 18 - Months expected to complete construction
  • 102 - Hectares of parkland  to be created on site, double the amount available during the Games. 2,000 new trees will  be planted.
  • 7,500 - Capacity of indoor entertainment venue at the North Park, which will open in July 2013.
  • 15,000 - Temporary seats to be removed from the Aquatics Centre

Commenting on the opportunities firms could have with organisers and developers for Rio 2016, Mr Bulley said: “They have looked at the structures we have delivered and they have looked at various products we have used, and I expect  as they start to go through their procurement phase they will have further discussions [with UK firms] on all of those elements.

“They have seen what has been achieved here and been so incredibly impressed.

“There is certainly a lot of interest, particularly from Rio, and indeed [2014 Winter Olympics host] Sochi as well, in engaging with the suppliers, contractors and others that were involved in delivering London 2012.”

He added: “We are very keen to capitalise on that and as we go beyond this year I’m sure we’ll have a lot of reach into those cities to create opportunities for suppliers, contractors and consultants that have been involved to make sure they are properly recognised.”

Locog is currently responsible for the Olympic Park and will hand over control to the London Legacy Development Corporation next month.

Bam Nuttall has been contracted to oversee its operations under its £292 million transformation of the site into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

LLDC’s executive director of infrastructure Colin Naish said the construction timetable “will be challenging in terms of the timescale but the important thing will be to get the right balance”.

“It will be fast-paced, but we want to get the right balance between being effective, efficient and safe,” he added.

CN asked the Mayor of London’s office what Boris Johnson would be doing to promote links for UK construction companies in Rio, after he took over as chairman of the LLDC last week.

A spokesman for the Mayor said: “The UK’s construction and event management sectors were the silent heroes of London 2012. The Games offered these businesses a shop-window which money can’t buy, and the job now is to build on that by relentlessly promoting those achievements.  

“The Mayor is determined to use the Games as a springboard for a lasting legacy for these sectors, and will centre those efforts on a series of visits to the world’s emerging economies including Brazil, as well as India, China and the Middle East.”

ISG was not able to comment on their work due to Olympics marketing protocol restrictions.

Safety first at park

Contractors will hold weekly meetings to ensure health and safety is a top priority in the deconstruction of the Olympic Park site.

Locog’s James Bulley said: “We will have about 5,000 people working across the Olympic Park in October; that’s a lot of activity, a lot of vehicle movements. The  risk is that people switch off a bit more than [in the pre-Games construction phase].”

A safety, health and department leadership team, including all main contractors, will meet each week to review safety standards.

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