London 2012 Olympics – The major capital projects legacy is underway

The much trumpeted business legacy from the London 2012 Olympics is becoming more tangible less than a week after the closing ceremony.


The hoped-for business boost has two dimensions. Firstly, inward investment into the UK due to the attractive image London 2012 presented to the world, and secondly, the business awarded to UK companies who have showcased their ability to organize, design, build and deliver major infrastructure projects. It is the latter which is already becoming apparent.


Lord Coe, the chairman of LOCOG the Games organizers, called London 2012 “the most complicated task Britain will ever undertake”. For those involved in the delivery of the project this provides the best ever shop window to the world of their skills, systems and ability to manage the risks inherent in major infrastructure projects with absolutely fixed delivery dates.


UK Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said, “Producing the most spectacular show on earth has given UK companies the skills and expertise to support Brazil as the baton is passed to Rio 2016.” Rio de Janeiro will host both the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, which has led to massive infrastructure projects not only for stadia but also for new transportation systems.


“Brazil looks to UK firms for Olympics expertise” is today’s headline in business section of the BBC News web site and the Mayor of London is saying that “already UK companies who have worked on the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have won twenty contracts linked to Brazil’s hosting of the World Cup and Rio 2016 worth £50m.” Apparently Rio and London have been working closely together since the Brazilian city was awarded the Games and officials from Rio have been in regular contact with Transport for London for tips on how to keep a major city moving during the Games.


These global mega sporting events could just prove to be ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ as, even in a global downturn, they come along regularly, are fixed into the world’s calendar and the national pride of the host country means that investment will remain in place. Upcoming major sporting infrastructure projects include:

  • Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics – February 2014
  • Rio soccer World Cup – July 2014
  • Rio Olympics – August 2016
  • Russia soccer World Cup – June 2018
  • 2020 Olympics – Tokyo, Madrid, or Istanbul – host city still to be awarded in Sept. 2013
  • Qatar soccer World Cup – 2022


UK firms, including Active Risk customer, Atkins, have secured £600m of contracts for Qatar 2022. On their web site Atkins badge themselves as “the engineering design expert behind London 2012”. These mega projects all have related legacy infrastructure elements which are also massive. For example, Qatar Railways Company has just awarded five contracts worth $406.5m to start the first phase of the country’s integrated railway project. This investment promise was a major element of both Qatar’s (failed) bid for the 2020 Olympics and the (successful) bid for the 2022 World Cup.


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