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£11m needed to complete Zaha’s Aquatics centre on time

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Zaha Hadid Architects’ 2012 Olympics park aquatics centre is behind schedule and needs an extra £11 million in ‘accelerated costs’ to finish on time

According to the Department for Media and Sport (DCMS), the £300 million ‘whale-tail’ roofed swimming pool building faces a ‘cost pressure’ which it must overcome if it is to open next summer with the ‘necessary environmental conditions for athletes’ competition’.

Currently only the support structure and roof (pictured July) are complete with the ceiling’s timber cladding now going in. Two pools have been dug out, lined and tested and are being painstakingly fitted with 180,000 ceramic tiles.

Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chief executive David Higgins pinned project delays on the complexity of the 160m-long and 3000-tonne roof.

He said: ‘The roof [took] much longer than we expected. It was months. It is just a matter of making sure we hit the date in July 2011. The roof is complicated and it changed the work sequence.’

Higgins said they were working with ‘quite fine’ temperature differences, looking ‘to get the temperatures right for the athletes in the period going into the Paralympic Games’.

DCMS revealed the potential overspend in its quarterly Olympics budget report which detailed planned cost cuttings worth £29 million on the £7.23 billion project.

2012 chair Sebastian Coe last week rebuked Olympic Stadium architect Rod Sheard’s criticism of a decision to axe the building’s £7 million ‘decorative wrap’.

Hugh Robertson, Olympic minister, said: ‘The ODA has continued to drive down costs and deliver savings despite this being the most complex year in construction terms. The saving of £20m identified in the Spending Review has been achieved with little material impact to the programme.

‘The ODA’s management of the construction programme has allowed us to open-up the funding package and contingency for cross-programme issues as we enter the operational phase.’

So far 75 per cent of the Olympics building project has been completed, it is understood.

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