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More strife for Zaha’s Olympic Aquatics Centre as construction firm pulls out

Global construction firm Hochtief has withdrawn its bid to build the Zaha Hadid-designed Olympic Aquatics Centre

Global construction firm Hochtief has withdrawn its bid to build the Zaha Hadid-designed Olympic Aquatics Centre.

The news comes days after French contractor Eiffel pulled out of the race, and leaves only Balfour Beatty in the running to build one of the 2012 Games’ landmark venues.

In a statement, ODA director of construction Howard Shiplee said: ‘After taking on substantial new work abroad Hochtief has this week confirmed it is unable to commit the quality resources it wanted to and has withdrawn – making it clear that it was impressed with the process and with the designs developed by Zaha Hadid and her team.’

Despite Shiplee’s positive spin, the decision by the German contractor is a massive blow for the ODA, and adds to a growing perception that the realisation of Hadid’s design within the available £150 million budget and programme is not possible.

Hadid’s scheme has been beset by problems. In July (Zaha forced to improve sustainability of Olympic Aquatics Centre) the practice was forced to come up with alternative proposals for the centre’s sweeping roof in a bid to ease fears over the scheme’s sustainability. Prior to that, the scheme was redesigned to include a simplified and much smaller roof.

Zaha Hadid’s office referred the AJ to the ODA, which at the time of writing was not available for comment.

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