UK & World News
Exclusive: Olympic Stadium Bill May Rise £15m
The final cost of converting the Olympic Stadium could rise by £15m because of complications in work to install a new roof, Sky News has learned.
Work is under way on the new roof and retractable seating to cover the running track so the stadium can be used by West Ham United.
But contractors believe costs may have to rise to complete the project.
The original stadium, which was designed as a largely temporary venue and never intended to host Premier League football, cost £429m to build, with the conversion costing a further £154m.
Additional costs arising from the complications with the roof could take the total cost of the stadium above £600m, almost double the original cost in London's 2012 bid.
The London Legacy Development Corporation, which is responsible for the work, says it is confident any increase will be covered by savings elsewhere, but any increase would lead to fresh complaints over the handling of the troubled project.
The LLDC has a fixed-price contract with contractors Balfour Beatty to deliver the work, and say they will hold the contractor to its deal.
But sources with knowledge of the project have told Sky News that Balfour Beatty have raised the prospect of requiring more money.
In a statement the LLDC said: "The Legacy Corporation and its contractors are working closely together to convert the Stadium from its Games-time mode into a multi-use, year round venue.
"It is a highly complex scheme and subject to tight project management to ensure that all the risks and issues are properly managed, as would be expected on a fixed price contract and an undertaking of this scope and scale."
The potential cost increase is a result of additional work required to strengthen the stadium structure in order to bear the weight of the new roof.
The work, which uses technology previously only used on oil rigs, is taking longer than expected, and will have a knock-on effect on the sequencing of other work.
The stadium was originally designed as a largely temporary structure which would be removed after the Olympics, leaving the running track and just 25,000 seats.
This option was abandoned when it became clear it was not financially viable, and a decision taken to convert the arena so it could be used for football.
After a bitter bidding process West Ham United defeated Tottenham to be selected as the anchor tenant, but at every stage the cost has risen.
Critics of the project maintain the stadium was ill-considered from the outset and changes to the specification have left taxpayers short-changed.
Andrew Boff, leader of the Conservative group in the Greater London Assembly, said any further increase would lead to cuts elsewhere.
He said: "The whole promise of the Olympics was to bring a legacy for London.
"So if we are now saying that it is going to cost us £15m more then it is less of the legacy, less of the housing that we need, less of the green space that we need as a result of this stupid roof they've decided to put on a stadium that doesn't work for football or anything."
The stadium is due to open for a Diamond League Athletics meeting next summer and five Rugby World Cup matches in the autumn, before work is completed ahead of opening full-time at the start of the 2016-17 football season.