In 2005 London won the prize to host the Olympics. This presented the Olympic Committee with huge challenges. Legacy was the key word and this ran through the briefing and appointments for the range of buildings and venues to be delivered.
The design of the centre piece stadium was a challenge. Sebastian Coe promised to retain the running track as a legacy for athletics. There was huge determination to get on with the design and delivery. Unfortunately, clarification on the enhancements which would be required to operate a sustainable stadium post Olympics appears to have been given limited thought. There were tentative talks with football clubs, including West Ham. In 2007 the Olympic Committee pushed on with an athletics stadium which could become a community facility but which posed challenges to convert for premiership football.
Ultimately, the tax payers have had to cover the bill for the conversion. As the Guardian article of Wednesday 2 November entitled....West Ham’s Olympic Stadium deal explained: from Water City to the London Stadium
"It is now estimated that the total bill for the conversion will be at least £323m – more than twice the original estimate. Added to the final cost of building the Olympic Stadium (put at £429m by the Olympic Delivery Authority) the final bill for the rebuilt, renamed London Stadium now stands at £752m.
This reinforces the view that full understanding and definition of the future use of new buildings is essential.
Why did costs rise? It quickly became clear that the £160m budgeted would not be enough. First, the costs rose to £193.3m as a result of difficulties that the constructor Balfour Beatty experienced building the cantilevered roof and in the face of challenging weather conditions. In June last year the price rose to £272m. This was presented as a final budget, although with the caveat that costs could yet rise further. As the blame game intensified, Johnson turned on the pre-Games planners. “A very bad call was made when those in charge at the time backed a stadium construction plan that would leave the Olympic Park with a much smaller, mouldering and tumbleweed ridden arena following the Games,” he said.