With the London 2012 Olympics and Para-Olympic Games the UK construction industry has demonstrated an ability to deliver complex projects successful. Through hard work and dedication the team has delivered what even our cynical press has grudgingly has to admit is a fantastic range of facilities and infrastructure. This applies not only to those working on the high profile projects in the Olympic Park but other teams dedicated to the less glamorous projects such as the transport and communications infrastructure.
The Association for Project Management has done a good job of working with the Olympic Delivery Authority to capture the legacy learning from the project. The “doing the basics well” message is coming across loud and clear. Denise Hone, chief executive of the Olympic Delivery summarises these key lessons as
- Apply rigorous project and programme management
- Use a combination of vision, ambition and conviction to lead from the front on key issues such as health and safety
- Get the right people in on the project. We had to trust the delivery partner to bring expertise in when needed in areas like planning and construction
- Set a realistic budget. We looked at what happened in Athens and Sydney to set contingencies. Also make sure all the monies go in on day one without recourse.
- Put detailed planning up front.
- Spend time on issue management and apply robust risk management and project controls throughout
- Remember it’s a team game.
Basically follow the APM Body of Knowledge.
Capitalising on the success of London 2012
Having delivered such a successful programme it’s now time for UK PLC to market its skills across the world. However the construction companies involved in this project are not allowed to use the London 2012 Olympics and Para-Olympic Games in publicity material until 2013. John Armit the chairman of the ODA has writen a report a Global Showcase for UK plc – in which he calls for these marketing restrictions to be lifted with immediate effect.
His recommendations are to
- Government should adopt the principles of the procurement and programme management for projects and use a balanced score card incorporating factors such as sustainability and health and safety not just cost and time.
- UKTI should establish a task force of contractors who worked on London 2012 to target overseas opportunities.
- Government and business organisations should make sure that SME’s a fully aware of the support available when working overseas.
- A range of marketing tools should established to help organisations involved in building the London 2012 games to promote themselves in the market.
- Government seek to ensure that the restrictions on marketing that apply to London 2012 suppliers are removed as soon as possible.
- The tendering network CompeteFor should be retained for future contracts.
- The website used to capture ODA legacy knowledge should be contained and expanded.
- The learning from the games should be integrated with in education programmes.
In particular we feel the marketing restrictions that apply to those construction companies involved in the games should be lifted as soon as possible. This would enable these organisation to market their capability around the world. This is especially important give the economic conditions facing the UK construction sector. The UK construction sector is undergoing significant decline with construction turnover down 5.2% over the last quarter. With a forecast to shrink by another 6% fall over the next 18 month, as further spending cut feed into public construction. The only bright spot is the continued grow in rail projects with the investment in crossrail and spending by Network Rail on improvements to the national infrastructure.
Export led Recovery for the UK Construction Industry
London 2012 demonstrated that UK PLC has the capability and ability to deliver great projects and the construction industry needs all the measures proposed by John Armit in order to maximise the return from the London 2012 Olympic and Para-Olympic games. We now need the support of the UK government to go and sell this story around the world. Granting the long awaited charter to the Association for Project Management also would help. John Armit’s idea for a small task force is exactly what is needed, but the time is now not in 2013 when the world has moved on.
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