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Sydney: prestigious and soul destroying


Running a high profile Olympics project can have its downside, Stadium Australia's former boss Alan Patching explained.

'I was left a little disenchanted from the experience, ' he says.

'Olympians are the second group of people who strive to do their best at the Olympics, the first group are the corporate politicians. It is soul destroying stuff.' In Sydney, the prestige attached to working on the Olympics meant there were few delays caused by industrial unrest.

And contractors did not let legal wrangles get in the way despite a tough stadium contract.

But pressure on costs caused other problems with Stadium Australia.

'The government absolutely screwed us in our bid. The only reason our bid team gave away as much as they did was the profile that would come from building the Olympic Stadium.' Efforts to raise extra cash into the project meant that new shareholders were introduced.

This caused problems, as more people wanted a say in the running of the project.

'We had a constant push for 'change this, upgrade that', ' Patching said.

'I could see their motivation.

But change mucks projects up. As it was, the effort spent dealing with change proposals and revisiting every facet of the contracted design increased costs, ' he says. 'I got the nickname Dr No.' Patching also urged the London Olympics team to choose contractors on the basis of personnel as well as company reputation.

'I know all the firms going for the programme management contract (for the Olympic park) by reputation. Their names are great, but I would say to them 'Show me the people', ' he said.

'There are a lot of companies around the place with great records. But reputations mean nothing unless the companies are presenting the same people that built the reputation.'

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