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2012: let's be positive


The first birthday of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) this month presents yet another opportunity - as if one is ever needed - for media scrutiny of the project's progress.

We now have a budget and a programme, and we will soon have a new set of milestones against which to measure progress going forward. All of which give much fuel for speculation and pontificating about the eventual outcome.

But let's get some fundamentals about the London 2012 project agreed and on the table.

First and most important is the cast iron fact that hosting the 2012 Olympic Games in London will be a very good thing for the whole of the UK.

No ifs and no buts. It is a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity for the whole country and shame on anyone who fails to capitalise on this fact.

If you are in business you should be asking yourself what your 2012 sales or marketing angle is. If you are involved in a sport you should be thinking how 2012 will help you to boost performance or increase interest. If you are a parent you should be thinking in terms of the impact the Games should have on your children and how to get tickets. It will truly be something for the whole nation to be proud of.

Which leads to the second fact - that the facilities to host the Games in east London will be completed on time and to a world class standard. There will be quality UK design and construction expertise on display.

There will be outstanding transport links, accommodation and facilities for both athletes and spectators. While the best seat in the house will no doubt be provided to television viewers, it will be a fantastic visitor experience.

Third is the legacy. We will see a shabby and run-down part of the UK capital transformed for the better with a dangerous and uninvestable landscape reclaimed. The 2012 Games will be the catalyst that kick-starts vital regeneration.

The budget has been set and while it is more than originally anticipated there is now at least a target to meet - and in the big scale of national expenditure on regeneration over the next fi ve years is not actually that much.

So having got these basics sorted out we can look back at an eventful fi rst year for the ODA with some degree of perspective. Certainly the organisation has - and still is - on a steep learning curve as it gets to grips with the scale of the task and the political and contractual environment in which it works.

It is right and proper that the media, not least NCE, continues to keep the project, its progress and cost in the spotlight. Without doubt there are aspects of ODA planning and procurement that are not progressing quite as hoped and it is still minus a chairman.

It will be important that the media keeps up this pressure over the next five years to ensure that targets are met while also helping to keep public and profession informed about progress.

Not least, as the project gets going, is the need to ensure that the whole procurement process is transparent and open to all so as many consultants, subconsultants, contractors and subcontractors are able to benefi from the opportunities that the event presents.

But for all the worries and concerns we should be reassured in some large part that the ODA with its delivery partner CLM is now in good shape to make this project happen.

Antony Oliver is NCE's editor

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