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Rogers voices fears over Design and Build Olympics

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Richard Rogers has told the AJ that both he and London Mayor Ken Livingstone are deeply concerned about the procurement strategy being undertaken by the Olympic Delivery Agency (ODA).

Rogers, who heads Livingstone's Urbanism and Architecture Unit, attacked the planned use of design-and-build contracts throughout the massive London 2012 construction process.

Sources have confirmed that the ODA has decided that all the major contracts should go to design-and-build rather than being architect led.

'It is certainly bad news,' Rogers said, 'and it is not what I thought had been agreed between myself, as Ken Livingstone's representative, and the ODA's chief executive [David Higgins].

'I'd thought we'd agreed it would be competitions. Not necessarily traditional competitions but at least ones based on interviews. Ken and everyone agrees that design-and-build is not the way it should go.'

The Stirling Prize-winner also said that his practice will boycott any Olympic contracts if they do not change their strategy - quashing rumours that he may yet become involved on a strategic level.

'We will definitely not be involved in any design-and-build contract,' he said.

Rogers also condemned the procurement for the main Olympic Stadium, which saw a contractor-led consortium of Robert McAlpine and HOK Sport appointed.

'Every major Olympic stadium I can think of went through [a design-led procurement process] and I don't know why London isn't doing the same. There is no proof that design-and-build contracts are cheaper in terms of value,' he added.

Rogers - a Labour peer - has long been involved with London politics and until recently was an adviser to John Prescott on architecture matters. He is understood to have the ear of Livingstone.

But a spokeswoman for the ODA said decisions were yet to be taken on the procurement route of any of the projects other than the stadium.

'We are yet to decide on how architects are appointed,' she said.

'It is wrong to say that contractors will appoint architects. We want to keep control over the designs.'

by Ed Dorrell

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