Where is UK construction in all those Olympic headlines? It’s easy to forget amongst the sports personalities and design critics the actual people who have built one of the UK’s most important and iconic regeneration developments of the 21st Century.
“The closest praise so far have been back-handed compliments that ‘at least it’s not another Wembley’, with only the architecture drawing any sort of recognition. Yet it’s the people of UK construction who have turned those five-ringed dreams into reality,” said Chris Blythe Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Building.
The UK should be proud of its construction industry for creating a landmark development on time, on budget, and with an excellent health and safety record in tough economic times and with a barrage of complexity.
98% of the facilities for the Games have been built by British companies. That is almost £6bn worth of business, or 1,400 contracts, that have been directly awarded to UK companies as well as thousands more businesses further down the supply chain. Altogether an estimated 75,000 firms have won work related to the 2012 Olympics.
It should not be forgotten that the Government’s Plan for Growth, published alongside the Budget 2011, highlighted the critical importance of an efficient construction industry to the UK economy. The construction sector is a major part of our economy. It represents some 7% of GDP or £110bn per annum of expenditure - some 40% of this being in the public sector, with central Government being the industry’s biggest customer.
“The bigger picture at play here is that whilst UK construction is quietly, frustratingly so, delivering an eye-popping regeneration project it is setting new standards along the way. The truth is the Olympics are just a small part of what the construction industry delivers every day. The professional expertise within our industry is exported all over the world and it still leads the way.
“So while we naturally focus on London 2012 lets not forget the myriad of projects up and down the country and across the world that are delivered to world class standards. Brazil 2016 will have a hard act to follow, but it will be made easier because no doubt UK construction will be involved there too,” added Chris.