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Editors Comment: Who will be last on site for the Olympics?

Oh! well, another year gone - and not a brick laid.
Editors Comment: Who will be last on site for the Olympics?

I am beginning to think government just does not have the ability to bring home the Olympic Games in 2012.

The budget is spiralling out of control. As a Londoner all I can see is the cost of several Walnut Whips a week being swallowed up in what this government does best - employing consultants - and talking.

Jack Lemley, the American engineer who was to head the building programme for the London Olympics, has quit and told the Mail on Sunday about toxic sites and unexploded bombs from the Second World War which will cost millions to clean up, and how government and the mayor of London Ken Livingstone repeatedly dismissed his warnings because they wanted to hear only good news.

Owners of businesses in the area are sitting pretty. And why shouldn't they? They probably do not want to move so they might as well cause as much trouble as possible before they are driven out.

If the Olympics is to be finished on time, then, as the timescale contracts, it is going to be the poor old m&e contractor who, last on site, will have to pull out all the plugs (or in this case, put in all the plugs) so that the venues - and the associated accommodation for the athletes, press and officials - will be ready on time.

We all know this is going to happen.

We all know the whole business will be fraught with high risk and, if other high profile projects are anything to go by, little or no reward.

No m&e contractor I have spoken to wants the high profile jobs because, again, the only people who get rich from them are the lawyers.

Which brings me to the burning issue this month (see p13).
As I said before, it will be the m&e contractors who will have to pull the Olympics out of the mess that is already piling up.

The least government could do is ensure they will get their monies when they rescue the Olympics from the disaster it is already on track to become.

But, as Martin Burton, director of Sladdens commercial division and a member of the HVCA's commercial and contractural committee, says it doesn't seem this is going to happen.

Why can't m&e contractors be paid when the job is done, just like everyone else?

It would be good to ask government but then the politicians would take so long to answer any other question (whoever heard a politician answer the question he or she was asked?) that anyone who was interested would have long forgotten what the original question was.
Government will need m&e contractors to pull its irons out of the fire for the Olympics, why won't it do anything for m&e contractors?

Paul Braithwaite,

1 January 2007


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