Industry Gathers to Consider Olympic Implications

Over 100 delegates representing all aspects of the contract furnishing industry across the UK gathered in London on 3 March to consider the implications and business opportunities presented by the coming London 2012 Olympics

Held at the imposing BERR Conference Centre on London’s Victoria Street, the seminar was hosted by the British Contract Furnishing & Design Association (BCFA) in partnership with Business Link Kent, and carried endorsement by the BFC, FIRA, OFAS, BIDA and ACID.

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In addition to providing practical advice on the exacting requirements and timescales involved in qualifying to tender, the seminar also addressed key issues like innovation, design and the post-2012 legacy. ‘I realise that 2012 seems like a lifetime away,’ explained BCFA Managing Director Colin Watson, who chaired the seminar. ‘but, in a design-led sector such as ours, we must continue to adopt the long-term view. It is essential that we encourage our members – and indeed the industry at large – to maximise business opportunities during the run-up to the London Games.’

Opening the formal presentations was Mary Nicholls, Nations and Regions Coordinator with the London Development Agency, who gave an overview of the general principal of the Games and the need to leave a lasting legacy and a positive sporting ethos. Derek Wilson, Head of Design & Overlay with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic & Paralympic Games (LOCOG), then spoke on the Olympic heritage, giving delegates a preview of some preliminary plans whilst stressing the importance of this unique opportunity to demonstrate British design creativity and innovation to the rest of the world.

Next to the platform was David McKay, Head of Procurement with Bovis Lend Lease, who talked about the huge scale of the project, particularly in terms of the materials required. David also highlighted the post-2012 legacy of the building work, giving delegates an insight into the plan to convert the Olympic Village into real homes with a school, health centre, hotel and shopping centre. Finally came Kevin Ma, Marketing & Business Engagement Manager with the London Business Network, who took delegates through the CompeteFor web site. His valuable explanation showed how the site works for suppliers and buyers alike and emphasised the need for early registration in order to access the stream of updates on bidding opportunities.

After a lively panel discussion, the BCFA’s Colin Watson closed the seminar by reiterating the scale of the task ahead for those organising and delivering the Games. ‘They are part of a huge team opening up an opportunity which really will come only once in a lifetime,’ he stressed. ‘and they need the support of our industry – our creativity, our experience and our ability to deliver. London 2012 is a world showcase and one in which everyone can participate.’

The BCFA has now opened a helpdesk to answer queries relating to 2012 preparations. Contact Peter Smith at the BCFA on 01494 896790, e-mail enquiries@bcfa.org.uk or visit www.thebcfa.com

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The panel at the recent BCFA-hosted seminar on the opportunities presented by the London Olympics for the UK contract furnishing sector comprised (l to r) David McKay of Bovis Lend Lease, Derek Wilson of LOCOG, Paul Tobin of Business Link, Mary Nicholls of LDA and Kevin Ma of London Business Network.

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