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Project Manager : Project Manager April May 2012
construction awarded for excellence in MEMORIES OF THE ATHENS OLYMPICS are still dominated by the mad rush to complete construction in time for the Opening Ceremony. And while the 2004 Games made it to the starting line on time, r ushed construction is a recipe for blown budgets, compromised design and dangerous working conditions. Not only have the venues and infrastructure for London 2012 been delivered on time – and in many cases ahead of schedule – the £7.2 billion program is on track to come in under its budget, and with strong claims of best practice in areas such as sustainability and accessibility. There is no doubt that the construction of Olympic Park in East London was quite a feat. It included the building and installation of eight major venues, 34 bridges, 12km of roads, 16km of security fencing and more than 250km of new duct and pipe work. Construction also featured two million cubic metres of earthworks and remediation, and 40 hectares of biodiverse landscaping for native species. A new energy centre providing heating and cooling with options for biomass energ y production, a primary substation, and a primary foul sewer network were also built, transforming for years to come the once- derelict Lower Lea Valley, which had previously been known for its heavy-metal pollution and the occasional unexploded World War II bomb. The immovable deadline for the project, its scale, and the wide range of stakeholders, made the project manager ’s task a daunting one. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) appointed a delivery partner to make it happen, selecting CLM, a joint venture between CH2M HILL, Lain O’Rourke and Mace. It was a choice that combined the three firms’ different areas of experience while taking advantage of the fact that, as a new entity, it would be open to new ways of working and approaching inevitable hurdles in a more flexible way. CLM Infrastructure Director Louise Hardy says the joint venture brought structure, process and rigour to control all aspects of the program. Given the absolutely fixed end date for delivery with strict budget constraints and a multitude of stakeholders, change control was probably the greatest challenge, she says. “Many parties had rights and input to define the scope, and accommodating these needs while maintaining costs required speedy optioneering and fast decision-making. Determining clear governance was essential in the early days. Additionally, establishing any consequential effects of one project change upon another was vital to ensure that overall cost and program was contained.” One of the aspects that made the London 2012 construction unique from other mega- projects was the fact that the majority of construction was taking place within a relatively small area. “ With the Olympics, everything was placed on top of each other in the one location in Olympic Park ,” Hardy explains. “We were integrating programs of many major contractors working to very tight deadlines. Our role was to act as ringmaster and say, ‘Right, you hold back, you come in, you finish this, hang on a minute, we ’ve got a change, you hold off ’, and working out what the consequential impacts were.” One of the greatest risks to the timely delivery of the project was the logistics challenge, Hardy says. Deliveries were being made at a rate of one vehicle passing through the site portals, with extensive security checks, every six seconds. To ease the strain on the site, 50 per cent of deliveries came through off-road options, on rail or via waterways. Typically, while material came in by road, waste was taken offsite by waterway. “The ODA set aspirational goals and we were the vehicle for making it happen, and I think in most areas we were successful,” Hardy says. •••
Project Manager Feb March 2012
Project Manager June July 2012