Builders battle to win Olympic venue contract

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The Independent Online

More than 40 companies from around the world are vying to oversee the construction of London's multi-billion-pound Olympic venue. The interim Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) will reveal the level of interest later this week.

The contract will see the winning company or consortium responsible for nearly every aspect of the ODA's work. This will extend from building the venues and infrastructure to converting facilities following the Games.

It will be based in the ODA's offices, and is likely to sub-contract much of the work to other parties.

However, the company will be ultimately responsible for the work as project manager, as well as being closely involved with the budget.

"It makes sense," said one expert in public-private partnerships. "You would award one organisation this and so have one point of contact because you don't want to have to deal with the architect arguing with the electrician, or any of the day-to-day issues."

Only companies with turnover of £100m, or consortiums where each member has a turnover of £50m, are eligible to apply to become the Olympic delivery partner, as the eventual winner of the contract is being dubbed.

Balfour Beatty and Amec have already said they are teaming up to bid.

The ODA chairman, Jack Lemley, said: "Winning the job will depend on how successful each of the bidders is in corralling the right people into its team.

"We are going to demand a specific commitment from the bidders that we get to keep those people," he said.

All the construction projects for the Games will be funded by a £2.4bn package, which includes up to £1.5bn from the Lotto and £625m from London council taxes.

However, experts have warned that the spiralling cost of construction worldwide, as both labour and material prices soar, could result in the overall cost coming in much higher.