Olympic Flames Doused
20 April 2012
Author: David Davies
For many years now, we have had the argument that the Olympics will be a major boost to the UK economy. There is no doubt that this is true in the main, but with just 100 days to go until the start of the games, construction agencies are now bracing themelves for a shock.
Our blog article highlighted the fact that salaries for jobs at the London Olympics were standing at about 30% higher than the national average. As an example, construction site managers were demanding rates of around £310 per day on average.
Now though, it has emerged that all remedial and maintenance work on the London Underground, and at airports will be ceased for the 4 weeks before the Olympics start; the 4 weeks the games actually take place; and another couple of weeks afterwards.
Two reasons are being cited for the halting of work; the security risk and the fact that the tubes are running until 1.30am during the games which means there is no time to actually do the work required. It has also been cited that several large buildings on the route to the games will be shut down and potentially boarded up with advertising hoardings to make them more aesthetically pleasing.
We estimate that some 1,000+ workers operate in construction on the tubes daily and with clients now forced to suspend works for a month, it is highly likely that agencies will see a significant drop in demand for contractors, and many contractors will be forced into taking an unexpected holiday at the very time when holiday prices leap and the school holidays commence.
On the plus side though, the work still needs to be undertaken, so there is the suggestion that in the run up to July, more work will be undertaken to make up for the shut down, and that after the games, there will be another surge as they try and catch up on the backlog of work.
There does appear to be little doubt though that any agency engaged in rail work are faced with a ten week period of very little activity and several REC agencies have voiced their concerns about the situation. The Olympic legacy lives, but for many, July is going to be a very tense month.