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Olympics team in programme management retender


OLYMPIC PROGRAMME management bidders were this week rapidly re-forming and adding to their teams after Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive David Higgins announced he was reopening the tender process.

Six groups had thought they were down to the final battle for the high profile top job at the Olympic Park.

But Higgins has scrapped the competition and will seek new bids for a wider ranging contract within the next two weeks.

The original programme management contract was restricted to managing progress of construction work.

But Higgins said on Tuesday that the ODA now wants to appoint what he termed a programme/project manager that could procure, appoint and directly manage designers and contractors.

We decided we could either directly manage all the designers and contractors or we could focus on preparing and reviewing the design briefs, appointing a programme/project manager and managing the process.' This approach will allow the ODA to remain a 'thin', fast moving organisation rather than an unwieldy, bureaucratic authority. The rethink was also prompted by adoption by the UK of the new EU procurement directive at the start of the year.

This allows for 'competitive dialogue' or negotiation with bidders.

This change also encouraged the ODA to scrap the tender for the Velopark, even though bidders had been shortlisted.

Speaking at a government sponsored Olympics summit on Tuesday, Higgins said he was dispensing with the shortlist. He said the new programme/project manager would now procure the facility.

He said it made no sense to appoint a designer for the Olympic cycling venue when site investigations had yet to be carried out and the park's infrastructure designer had only just been appointed (see below).

'If we appointed someone now they really would have sat around for the next six months twiddling their thumbs while we did all that background work on the park, ' he said.

One industry source said the programme management shake-up was partly caused by a feeling at the ODA that the bidding teams were unsuited to the new, expanded role.

It is expected that project manager bidders will hook up with contractors to give them more 'muddy boots' expertise and extra capacity. Contractors are also likely to be wooing consultants.

The original six on the shortlist were: Arup/Gardiner & Theobald, Mace/Davis Langdon, EC Harris/Parsons Brinckerhoff, Capita Symonds/KBR, Bovis Lend Lease and Amec.

The ODA has put back the deadline for appointing a programme manager from March to July (News last week).

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