Red alert for the cultural district of the Olympic Park

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The planned East Bank cultural district in Olympic Park, run by Mace, faces the immediate prospect of rising costs and further delays, it emerged.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has amended its risk assessment of the challenges facing the project’s budget and construction program to indicate that these are now materializing as practical concerns.

East Bank will be spread over three sites in London’s Olympic Park.

LLDC manages the Stratford Waterfront site, which will include new buildings for Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the BBC, the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum and UAL’s London College of Fashion – all set to open by 2025.

At the other East Bank sites, University College London is opening a new campus and the V&A is opening a separate museum-store building.

LLDC’s Stratford Waterfront project is over budget due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, with the most recent public figures from December 2020 indicating the projected cost had risen from £471m to £628m pound sterling.

The company’s internal audit assesses concerns as “risks” or “issues”, explaining that “risks become issues either when they crystallize or when they are very likely to occur.”

A report to the LLDC Audit Committee earlier this week highlighted a “red question relating to the West Bank budget and program,” based on a red, orange and green scale where red represents the most serious concerns. In the previous such report in July, this case was assessed as a red risk, meaning it has “high probability and/or significant consequence”.

LLDC plans to mitigate the identified budget and program issue through “project management partner management, focus on risk mitigation, design management and partner engagement”, as well that “the commitment with GLA [Greater London Authority] finance”.

In addition, the report identifies a “red issue related to philanthropic funding of the West Bank” – the same assessment given in the previous July report. LLDC says it will mitigate this through a “fundraising strategy in development with GLA”.

The full company risk management update has been removed from the published meeting agenda as it contains information relating to LLDC’s business affairs.

Mace, who manages the East Bank projectdeclined to comment when contacted by Building News.

In addition, LLDC, a municipal development corporation, has confirmed that it will reconsider its purchases for East Bank after a GLA committee urged it to do so.

In July, the West Bank was included in a procurement report by the GLA Oversight Committee. This indicates that according to LLDC, 40% of the £157m cost increase reported in 2020 is due to the impact of the pandemic, 27% comes from “design development and integration issues” and 35% % is due to contractor cost. estimates over budget.

An LLDC spokesperson said: “East Bank is a £1.1 billion powerhouse of culture, education, innovation and growth, and one of the most ambitious regeneration projects in the world. world. Despite physical site constraints and additional challenges posed by Brexit, COVID-19 and wider supply chain issues, the project remains on track with institutions open from fall 2022 to 2025.

“We have regularly and faithfully reported to the Mayor and London Assembly on the financial pressures encountered and will continue to do so, including commissioning a review of the supply challenges faced by the project so that others can learn from our experience.

“As the economic environment makes fundraising challenging, we remain confident that the scale, ambition and benefits of East Bank will prove attractive to individuals and organizations who want to be associated with a unique company. which will cement the future of East London for the benefit of its local communities.”

East Bank is funded by a combination of project partners, the private sector and philanthropy, alongside public funding from the GLA and central government.

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