By Duncan Mackay in London

London_2012_Olympic_Stadium_June_30_2011July 19 - London 2012 has "salvaged the reputation of the British construction industry" it was claimed today by Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson as he revealed today that he expected the project to be delivered on time and under budget, something he himself never believed possible when the capital was awarded the Games six years ago.

The estimate of the final cost is down by £16 million ($26 million)since May, when the last prediction was made.

The anticipated final cost of the Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) construction programme has fallen to £7.25 billion ($11.68 billion) and is likely to come in £850 million ($1.3 billion) under budget.

Robertson showed that construction of the facilities was progressing at a satisfactory rate with most of the work now completed more than a year before the Olympics are due to open.

"With one year to go to London 2012, the Games construction is 88 per cent complete and ahead of time and under budget," Robertson said.

"That is an extraordinary thing for a Government Minister to be able to say a year out from the Games."

Robertson admitted that when London were awarded the Olympics and Paralympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its Session in Singapore - when the Conservatives were still in opposition - he had his doubts about whether the project would be a success, coming as it did following the problems that had blighted the reconstruction of Wembley Stadium. 

"I didn't think in 2005 we had a chance of getting where we are today.

"These are remarkable successes and tribute should be paid to all the ODA staff who have consistently met the challenges set by an immovable deadline and strict budget.

"They have all played vital roles in the success of the build project that will be held-up as an example of British construction and engineering excellence for decades to come. 

"They have salvaged the reputation of the British construction industry."

Five venues, the latest of which is the International Broadcast Centre, are now complete.

The Aquatic Centre is expected to be completed and unveiled on July 27, which marks the One Year to Go landmark. 

"The Olympic Park project is on schedule and budget and we have successfully hit all of our milestones over the last five years," said John Armitt, the chairman of the ODA.

"This is thanks to the skill and professionalism of thousands of British businesses who have won contracts and shown the rest of the world what UK plc can achieve.

"The Olympic Park is a great showcase for UK industry and many companies have used it to go on and win work on other projects across the world.

"When we welcome the world to London next summer, tens of thousands of people from right across the UK will know that they played a part in building the stage for the greatest show on earth."

The ODA is coming to the end of its procurement after awarding more than 1,500 direct contracts worth over £6 billion ($10 billion), 98 per cent of them to British companies.

The  ODA's contract for the construction of the Olympic Stadium, for example, resulted in work for 240 UK companies plus many more sub-contractors.

Another £700 million ($1.1 billion) worth of contracts are set to be awarded in the next year by London 2012 as officials gear up for the operational phase of the project.

"London 2012 has already been great news for British business - and there's more to come," said Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012.

"The new permanent venues are mostly constructed and the Olympic Park is progressing well in advance of next summer.

"The teams at LOCOG are now concentrating on finalising our plans to stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games - we're about half way through our own procurement programme and there are lots more opportunities for British business to be part of the greatest show on earth."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
May 2011: London 2012 construction programme budget descreases by £35 million
February 2011: Olympic costs increase but project still on time and on budget
November 2010: Final cost of London 2012 revised down £29 million as plans for Olympic Stadium wrap shelved
July 2010: Cost of London 2012 lower than budgeted
May 2010: London 2012 costs rise by small amount