We recently met up with Estates Gazette and whilst introducing the kykloud app to the journalist, we got onto the subject of building legacies or more specifically, the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.
The conversation certainly got me thinking. The Olympics legacy has been a buzz phrase for months, years even in the build up to the main event to help justify the huge cost to the British taxpayer of holding the games. There is of course the importance of the sporting legacy and hopes that the inspiring athletes of the remarkable Team GB will lay the foundations to help the future sporting stars of this country achieve their potential. But, it is the building legacy that is attracting the most media interest in the aftermath of the games.
Lets face it, Olympic park was incredibly expensive to build. As astounding a structure as the Olympic stadium and aquatics centre undoubtedly were, they cost £680m between them for design and build alone and attention is now focused on just what kind of legacy all of the Olympics venues and Athletes village can offer.
Each of the buildings within Olympic Park have been given a new use. The £250m broadcast and media centre will be a data and enterprise business centre with the potential to create 3,500 jobs and the £1.1bn Olympics village will be turned into apartments, with 50% earmarked for affordable housing. Every single building within the Olympic Park already has a new use to protect the legacy argument against the billions spent to host London 2012 and yet the UK has an estimated 930,000 properties left uninhabited with no ‘legacy’ to secure their future use. If every uninhabited property in the UK was worth just £20,000, the total value would be over £18bn – far in excess of what the Olympics cost and yet there is no real plan in place to bring even half of these buildings back into general use.
Is too much weight placed on the importance of the Olympics Park legacy when we have no plans to utilise the thousands of empty buildings which have been standing empty for years in the UK for future generations?
We know their expected use, but just what kind of lifecycle management is taking place with each of the Olympic buildings? If we were to use kykloud to manage Olympic park, we would be able to understand the cost and value of these buildings projected over a five, 10 and even 35 year period to establish just how each asset will perform into the future and what they will cost the public purse. Indeed the aquatics centre is being significantly reduced in capacity to allow it to be used a community facility – at what cost will this be and what affect will this have on the buildings future value and use potential? What will the buildings look like in 5 years and who is maintaining their condition? There is too little debate and discussion on the long term impact of the Olympics assets. Like many of the athletes who made their mark this year we will be watching the buildings closely to see if they will still be in tip top shape by the time the next Games comes around. A lot can happen in four years.
Whilst all of the Olympics buildings no doubt have a bright future once they take on their new guises in 2013 and 2014, when built at such huge public cost, we have a duty to look beyond the legacy of public use and into the buildings future as we aim to retain the financial worth of Olympic park and the village for future generations to enjoy.