Recently there have been a number of stories that once again raise the challenges that face host countries of major events, both to complete in time for the event and within a reasonable budget.
These have included the challenges facing the organising committee for next year’s Pacific Games in Port Moresby and the challenges that Brazil is facing both to complete venues in time for the Football World Cup this year and the 2016 Olympic Games, where construction workers are continuing to strike.
It is difficult to think of a recent major event where there have not been serious questions about whether the host country will be ready. Recently this has included the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Commonwealth Games in India, the Olympics in Beijing to name a few that come to mind. The most successfully managed event from the point of view of construction would be the 2012 London Olympics, although that came at a cost of £9.3 billion, which can be compared to a ‘bid’ budget of £2.4 billion. The situation in Rio has been called the ‘worst I have experienced’ by John Coates, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president. However, there is no plan B and, in an unprecedented move, the IOC has formed a special task force to try and speed up preparations.
Hosting a major event creates an unprecedented stimulant for the construction industry in the host city, but the costs are so high that most countries can only dream of hosting major events.
Given the benefits of hosting major events, both through preparation and the resulting coverage of the host country, it is worth considering whether alternative models for hosting these events will let a wider range of countries be involved.