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After The Games – An Olympian Dispute?

The Olympics have been a great success in terms of the deliverability of the infrastructure and the construction industry is to be commended for the pivotal part it played.

However, as you probably suspected there is a sting in the tail……

We are now discovering that the arrival of the Olympians via the airports, roads and rail system is not quite so successful. Security issues have hit the headlines, with recruitment problems and simply losing one’s main sail in the case of the Australian Olympic team.

But at least the construction industry has done its bit and can now relax and enjoy the show ……. wrong!! The potential for our industry being the cause of delays in London have been controlled and managed by the withholding of scaffold licenses and road closures to cite just two examples. How is this addressed in tenders, contracts and delay procedures? Well, good question… it appears that the clever ones have been flagging this up at tender stage for some time now and even resorting to qualifying their bids with two LAD free weeks during the duration of the games and highlighting the inability to seek or perform road crossings in central London up to the completion of the games.

How do the rest pick up the pieces of the inevitable delays that have or will occur up to, and probably beyond the completion of the Olympics?

Are we talking Specified Perils (clause 6.8 of JCT 2011 forgets to define Olympians), Force Majeure (has anyone ever been successful under this head?), the inability to secure such labour or materials as essential for the period (remember JCT 1998 clauses & .2) or is it a strike, lock-out or local combination of workmen? (Olympic workmen?) What about Statutory powers by the UK Government? This being the power to force an already struggling construction industry through a summer of floods (difficult to allocate blame – granted) and into a period of access and security and transport restrictions during the Olympic period!

What about restrictions to access? Clause (JCT forms) might be an arguable restriction in central London, access to the site is arguably undeniably restricted….

So when do the games begin? Well, for construction, I suspect sometime after the running, rowing, cycling and throwing has ended and the arguing and negotiations commence in the site huts and offices throughout central London probably well into the Indian summer and mild again winter.

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