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London 2012: Out of the blocks

The last year has seen tremendous progress across the whole Olympic project, says Olympics minister Tessa Jowell.

The underground tunnels were completed on time and on budget, the construction of the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre have begun ahead of schedule and two thirds of the whole site, over 1M.m2 in total, has been cleared.

This and many other achievements led the International Olympic Committee to give London an almost perfect 9.75 marks out of 10 for our record so far when they visited in May.

This is testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved, in particular the skill and professionalism of the British construction industry.

However we are not complacent- we do not underestimate the size of the challenge ahead.

The Olympics is not only the biggest and most critical construction project in Europe, but is being constructed on an incredibly complex site which has been contaminated and criss- crossed by railway lines, canals and a tidal river making it difficult to access.

These challenges are being met with innovative solutions. For example, two off-site logistics facilities will control delivery flow to the Park, the renovation of Prescott Lock will enable barge delivery of heavy materials and an on site Waste Consolidation Centre is being set up for construction debris and waste.

We now enter the extremely exciting build stage where we will see our vision for London 2012 and the regeneration of east London take shape. And as it does, more companies from all over the country will continue to benefit from the Ł6bn worth of contracts.

We will also increasingly see the Games improving training and skills within the industry, particularly in east London, as the Olympic site becomes a National Skills Academy for Construction.

Our aim for London 2012 is to put on the best Olympics and Paralympics ever, delivered to the highest standards of design, safety and sustainability. But we cannot do it without the co-operation of the construction industry. That is why we have developed the London 2012 Construction commitments Đ a ground breaking agreement designed to promote a joined up approach from procurement to health and safety, and drive up standards throughout the industry
And why we are also using target cost contracts which are particularly suited given the time constraints we are operating under.

The performance of the contractors so far has been superb and is a credit to the reputation of the UK construction industry. I know that British construction will continue to have an outstanding contribution to make and by working together we can deliver a truly memorable Games.

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