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Small architects fear Olympic squeeze as framework ditched

Small architectural practices must now compete head on with big-name firms for any remaining 2012 Olympic work, after the scrapping of a scheme intended to level the playing field

Two years ago, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) promised a framework to make 50 more modest Olympic schemes, such as utility buildings, available to up-and-coming architects.

But that has now been abandoned, and smaller practices must now go head-to-head with the biggest firms on CompeteFor, the ODA’s procurement website.

Says an ODA spokeswoman: ‘Feedback from smaller businesses has led us to conclude the easiest way for them to access opportunities will be through CompeteFor, rather than through a formal framework process.’

The framework was launched at Tate Modern in June 2007 as part of the Designing for Legacy strategy amid claims that big-name firms, such as main stadium designer Populous (formerly HOK Sport) and Aquatics Centre architect Zaha Hadid, would monopolise the work.

The strategy group said at the time that it was working with the London Development Agency and Locog to get the design framework up and running as quickly as possible.

It said: ‘The panels will be an opportunity for less well-established practices to undertake smaller commissions and join wider collaborations of design talent.’

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