BECHTEL LOST out on managing construction of London's Olympic Park because it was too expensive, London Mayor Ken Livingstone conrmed this week.
CLM, the joint venture company set up between US programme manager CH2M Hill and UK firms Laing O'Rourke and Mace, was last week appointed as the Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) delivery partner following a head-to-head battle with US giant Bechtel.
The US programme manager's track record of running major projects such as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and the West Coast Main Line had seen it become many pundits' favourite to win the £100M-plus ODA contract.
However, after a technical appraisal took the short listed bids of Legacy (Bovis Lend Lease/KBR/Capita Symonds) and G3 (Amec, Balfour Beatty and Jacobs) out of the running, Bechtel proved more costly than the victorious CLM.
Livingstone said: 'Both put up a convincing performance, but Bechtel's price was considerably higher.
'I'm delighted with the decision. Bechtel offers a very good package - and you can be assured that they would have built it to time and budget because of the price. But it leaves them now as a strong contender for Crossrail.' CLM will be headed by Laing O'Rourke boss Ray O'Rourke as chairman and CH2M Hill's Ron Brooks as chief executive and programme director.
As delivery partner, CLM must manage planning, design, construction, commissioning, maintenance and costs of the 202ha Olympic Park in East London - and then oversee conversion to legacy mode after the games.
Brooks said his team's first tasks would be to identify immediate priorities and to work on planning applications for the Park due to be submitted in January 2007.
Industry reaction to CLM's appointment was overwhelmingly positive.
Costain chief executive Andrew Wyllie said he was delighted for Ray O'Rourke, while WSP chief executive Chris Cole said it was 'a good British decision'.
Following a 10 day cooling off period, CLM is expected to of cially take up its role next week.
For more reaction to CLM's appointment, turn to page 14.