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ODA underspends budget by £13.2M in first year

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FIGURES REVEALED within the construction budget for London's Olympic Park last week, show that the Olympic Delivery Authority underspent by £13.2M in its first year.

The spending shortfall for 2006/2007 was caused by a pause in the programme when ODA chief executive David Higgins and former ODA chairman Jack Lemley ordered a comprehensive project review after taking up their posts last year.

'There was an underspend because our budget was for a start-up organisation and there were pauses in what we did with the masterplan, ' said an ODA spokesman.

He was unable to identify specific areas on which spending was delayed, but the £13.2M will be carried over into the 2007/8 financial year.

This will be on top of the ODA's budget of £556.2M for the forthcoming financial year, which was confirmed along with the overall project budget of £9.33bn by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell last week.

In November 2006 NCE correctly predicted that the budget would be over £9bn (NCE 23 November 2006).

The London 2012 budget is as follows:

£3.1bn construction

£1.7bn regeneration and related infrastructure

£600M security

£390M non-ODA related costs

£2.7bn contingency

£840M VAT

Potential cost overruns on the project will be covered by the contingency fund, £500M of which has already been allocated to the ODA. The remaining £2.2bn will stay with the Treasury.

This equates to a 41% contingency, slightly higher than the 39% predicted by NCE readers (NCE 23 November 2006).

Olympic pool bidding underway

A shortage of contractors willing to build the London 2012 Aquatics Centre was expected to blight the tendering process for the key venue, as it started this week.

Contractors will be asked to deliver the Zaha Hadid and Arup design. Architect and engineer are expected to stay on to work on detailed designs with the successful bidder.

The structure will comprise a 14,000m 2 steel roof covering 2,500 seats. It must accommodate a temporary structure housing an extra 17,500 seats during the Games (NCE 30 November 2006).

Bidders must also go through a lengthy competitive dialogue process to win the job. With Laing O'Rourke working as part of the ODA's delivery partner and Sir Robert McAlpine working on the main stadium it is understood that few firms likely to bid.

The ODA was forced to choose Sir Robert McAlpine for the main stadium, because it put in the only compliant bid .

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