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Emirates stadium team tipped to build 2012 venue


THE TEAM that built Arsenal's Emirates stadium is odds-on to construct London's Olympic stadium, it was revealed this week.

On Monday the deadline passed for expressions of interest in the project, and a poor response from contractors saw the Sir Robert McAlpine/ Buro Happold/HOK bid emerge as most likely to win.

As NCE had previously reported, consultants have struggled to find contractors to team up with to build the 80,000seat stadium (NCE 10 August).

Structural engineering firms had hoped the appointment of a delivery partner would free up those contractors locked into the bidding process, but Balfour Beatty and Bovis Lend Lease both ruled themselves out of bidding.

Laing O'Rourke, as part of the successful CLM delivery partner team, is barred from working on the stadium. And after the Wembley sco, Multiplex has taken itself out of the running.

'We decided against making a bid as none of the contractors available were credible partners, ' said the director of one structural engineering firm.

Mott MacDonald and WSP are both understood to have ruled themselves out of the project, while Arup looks likely to team up with German contractor Alpine Bau Deutschland, with which it built Munich's Allianz Arena, showcased during this year's World Cup.

SKM is also understood to be teaming up with a German contractor, as yet unnamed.

Many contractors have already stood back from the project because of the large amount of risk that comes with building a complex stadium on a tight schedule.

'By constructing an 80,000 stadium that goes down to 25,000 after the Games, you are in effect building two separate buildings, ' said one contractor.

'You need to have stadium and temporary venue expertise, and there are probably only one or two rms that can do that. In addition, it is an extremely tight schedule on an extremely high profile project.'

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) received some 50 expressions of interest, but the majority of contractors bidding are from outside the UK (NCE 1 June).

An ODA spokesman said: ''We have had a positive response and are currently evaluating expressions of interest. We hope to have a shortlist by the end of September.' A team should be appointed before the end of the year.

Site preparation work for the stadium is due to begin next summer, with main construction works starting mid-2008 and nishing mid-2011.

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