Five years on: what the Olympics meant to Mace

4 min read

Five years ago today, on Friday 27 July, the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games was held in Stratford. 

The ceremony marked the end of eight years of preparation for the Games – and the successful delivery of a host of permanent and temporary sporting venues and radical infrastructure improvements. 

As a company, Mace’s history and success is inextricably linked to London 2012. As part of the CLM joint venture, Mace took a leading role in the project and programme management of the delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic venues.   

We were there at the beginning, helping to prepare London’s bid to the International Olympic Committee – and we’re still involved today, working closely with the London Legacy Development Corporation to deliver continuing transformation on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. 

To celebrate five years since the Olympic opening ceremony, we’ve spoken to some key figures from Mace who worked on the Games to capture their thoughts on what the Games meant to them, Mace and the wider construction industry.


Jason Millett

Current role: Chief Operating Officer for Consultancy
London 2012 role: Programme Delivery Director for CLM 

For Mace, the London 2012 Games were a watershed moment. We were successful before, but the Games gave the whole organisation a newfound confidence in itself to deliver major internationally significant programmes. 

Without the Olympics, would we be working on projects like Expo 2020 in Dubai? Almost certainly not.

The Games demonstrated to the world that Mace and the wider UK construction sector was able to deliver a hugely complex programme to a challenging deadline, without compromising on safety or cost. 

The end result was a project and client/contractor relationship that remains an exemplar for the industry and one that many try to emulate. Many of the team that worked on the Games have gone on to build fantastic and varied careers at Mace, informed by what they learnt delivering the world’s biggest sporting event.

Some parts of the Olympic legacy are tangible and obvious – the Olympic Park itself and the venues – while others are harder to see. 

I believe that the Olympics have made our industry safer and more sustainable – and helped us realise how well we can deliver when we work together.

Davendra Dabasia

Current role: Director for Transport and Major Programmes
London 2012 role: Project Manager for Velopark & Eton Manor and initially Programme Manager for CLM

The Olympics has been a great journey – and I don’t feel it’s one that either me or Mace have quite finished yet. 

It’s taken me from helping to deliver the iconic Velodrome to where I am today; and without the Games there’s no way I would have been able to learn as much as I did so quickly. 

For many of us at Mace it helped to super-charge our careers, giving us the kind of experience early on that could otherwise have taken many years to gain. 

To me, the success of the venue delivery for the Games was mainly down to the quality of the relationship we built between CLM and the ODA; it was the purest expression of the ‘Delivery Partner’ model that I’ve experienced. 

That joint working and trust enabled the delivery of a hugely complex programme – one that Britain can be rightly proudly of. 

What’s so great about it is that the story still continues; our hugely successful relationship with the LLDC is a testament to the quality of the work we’ve delivered over the last decade and a half. 

Zoe Madams 

Current role at Mace: PMO Services Director 
London 2012 role: Head of Project Controls for LOCOG

"My most prominent memory of the Games is being – by pure luck – in the stadium for Super Saturday with my family. It was a moment of real pride for me; a sense of: ‘look what I’ve helped to deliver’. 

"My role in the Games evolved as we got closer to delivery – from helping to deliver venues on the Olympic Park, I ended up setting up the Project Control Office at LOCOG, helping to deliver the programme controls around the events themselves. 

"That range of experience meant I saw the incredible effort that went into putting on the Olympics and Paralympics from a host of different angles. 
"What was most impressive was the attitude that everyone working on it eventually developed – there was a real collaborative ‘can do’ mind-set that I hadn’t seen before working on other projects. 

"We brought that back with us to Mace. It’s not the only change we brought back – establishing the Project Controls at LOCOG directly led to us setting up the team here. From there it’s gone from strength to strength. 

"When I look back, there isn’t a day that goes past when I don’t feel proud of the impact that we had. From the transformation of the Olympic Park itself to the regeneration of East London, there’s a feeling that we made a real difference."  
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