The project to build the 2012 Olympic stadium is to be handed over to a local builder in East London after the credit crunch caused budgets to be slashed. Vital PFI funding from the corporate sector has all but disappeared due to the reluctance of banks to lend money. The original cost of the stadium soared to over £500m but Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell announced this morning that the project would be completed for a total cost of £90,000 or ‘a bit less for cash’.
‘We had three quotes from different builders,’ said Jowell, ‘and Mike Davis & Son came in with the best price and a guarantee to finish the job in the next three months ‘depending upon other work.’ Davis was reportedly delighted to have been awarded the work after Team McAlpine failed to offer any assurances that they could deliver the stadium at a vastly reduced budget. ‘This project is a bit of a step up for my company,’ admitted Davis, ‘Up till now we have done mostly loft conversions, kitchen extensions, that sort of thing. But I’ve got some sand left over from a concrete patio I did, so we can use that for the long jump pits.’
Jowell was also said to be impressed by Davis’s artists’ impression of the Olympic village which he drew for her on the back of an envelope, and his van which already showed a long-standing commitment to English sport with an old St George’s flag tied to the aerial.
Asked whether it would still be possible for the stadium roof to come off, Davis said that it depended on how strong the wind was. He did concede that the new swimming pool may not be exactly Olympic size, but on the plus side would feature a small sculpture of a gnome fishing, and a plastic heron to protect the goldfish. ‘The company is really me and my boy, but we have a few labourers to call on and also my dad who is retired but likes to keep his hand in.’
Jowell said, ‘To use a local builder feels right, after all this is the London Olympics. I have every faith that Mr Davis will give us a wonderful facility to be proud of. Some of the concessions may not make it into the stadium so our contingency is in place to provide burgers and drinks from a local van. All in all we are really comfortable with the revised plans and we look forward to welcoming the world for the 2012 Olympics. Or maybe the 2013 Olympics – depending on when that plasterboard delivery turns up.’