Building revives the debating forums of the great civilisations, a housebuilding boss demonstrates a keen grasp of hieroglyphics, and a Chinese dragon blocks the way to the bar
If not Tessa, then who?
You may recall a story in Building a few weeks ago that Tessa Jowell was going to be the lucky girl who’d take over from Jack Lemley at the Olympic Delivery Authority. Since then Ms Jowell has denied the story and the post has been advertised in The Sunday Times. So who do you fancy? Peter Rogers, Paul Morrell and Sir Peter Mason have all been tipped for the post, but apparently the smart money is on acting chairman Roy McNulty. A mole informs me that he has a good working relationship with David Higgins and would “love” the job. The only question marks are whether he has the profile required and whether he will be elbowed aside by a Blairite politician looking for a job outside Whitehall later in the year.
Readers in high places
I hear that following Building’s feature on the stringent visa requirements facing foreign QSs who want to work in the UK (16 February, page 32), the matter has been taken up in the House of Lords. Lord Jones of Cheltenham has tabled a question citing our report and asking the government how it will affect the progress of the Olympic construction plans.
QS, I love you
Ian Stokes, a QS at Laing O’Rourke, has taken the brave move of proposing to the lady in his life – a move made all the braver by the fact that she is also QS, but working for Balfour Beatty. Apparently the pair are already being labelled the Posh and Becks of the cost consultancy world.
Debate worthy of the Forum
The comment facility on Building’s website is fuelling some lively debate. Take this exchange concerning Multiplex’s planned 27-storey tower for Tesco in Kensington.
George: “It still looks like an ugly high-rise. When are people going to realise that these buildings are going to blight our landscape in 30 years’ time the same way council blocks do now?”
Sophie: “Oh, come on George, just because Asda hasn’t got a tower yet …”
If you want to join – and possibly even raise the level of – the debate, fill in the comment boxes attached to online stories, and visit www.building.co.uk/whatyouthink to read posted comments.
Very important squiggles
Ian Smith, the new chief executive of Taylor Woodrow, may have made the headlines with his plans to overhaul the UK business, but analysts were more interested in his “process chart” – a flow diagram of blue and red ellipses joined by some funky looking arrows. Amid the general bemusement about what it all means, analysts have spotted a trend by housebuilders’ chief executives who have come from outside the sector to use these types of charts. Mark Clare, Barratt’s new boss, is said to have used something equally incomprehensible.
Enter the vomiting dragon
At Atkins’ annual Chinese new year lunch at the Golden Dragon restaurant in London’s Chinatown, the guests were once again entertained by a dragon puppet, engineered by two sets of garishly dressed teenagers. Tradition dictates that the dragon “eats” a bowl of oranges and a lettuce, then spits them out in the general direction of the crowd, all of which was initially taken in good humour. However, as the dance continued past the 20-minute mark, some attendees started growing impatient, a state not entirely unassociated with the fact that there was an enormous dragon blocking the way to the bar. Apparently next year’s lunch will be at a different venue ...
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