There’s spilled beer and talk of mishaps when Building ventures to Mayfair for a pint with the Malcolm Hollis team

The Malcolm Hollis team is excitedly discussing the imminent purchase of a goldfish. They already have a fish tank in mind - a massive cocktail glass Michelle smuggled back from a Bulgarian bar during an office skiing trip - and happily the team are all animal lovers.

Chris had terrapins as a child, which he claims fought like the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, but the consensus is that a goldfish is likely to be more docile. The venue is The Audley - one of the few reasonably-priced boozers in London’s Mayfair.

It’s close to one of the firm’s two London offices. The other in Battersea is earmarked for demolition to make way for one of the most sought-after residential developments in the world, the banks of flats that will surround Battersea Power Station.

Malcolm Hollis is shaking off a collective hangover from the firm’s 21st birthday celebrations the week before. Staff and clients were treated to cocktails and Malcolm Hollis-branded cupcakes - made by famed bakers Lola’s - at the Carom bar in Soho.

Michelle comments that “only two made it back into the office the next day.” David M quips it’s unclear whether she means cupcakes or Malcolm Hollis staff (she meant cupcakes).

First aiders gained access to his leg by cutting him out of the comedy tights he was wearing

The evening was less eventful than the fancy dress rollerdisco staff party Malcolm Hollis held a previous year. Lest there be any doubt about the perils of alcohol and rollerskates, the team recount how one colleague broke a leg and chipped a tooth during the festivities - first aiders gained access to his leg by cutting him out of the comedy tights he was wearing.

Ashley and Jennie shouldn’t really have been drinking with Building at all as they were taking part in property’s annual triathlon that coming weekend (17 May). It is Ashley’s sixth triathlon and Jennie’s first. However the team is more interested in their colleague Alex’s participation as he apparently has made no secret about his confidence in doing well in the event.

David W is sceptical about Alex’s chances. “I could beat him in the running,” he says. Why isn’t he taking part then? “I can’t swim,” he admits sheepishly. “I’d drown.” Definitely a handicap in a race that involves water.

Things were going well with Malcolm Hollis until one of them spilled two-thirds of a pint of beer down me. Chris did it. Not that I’m bitter, because it was lager that he spilt.

To be fair to Chris he was very apologetic and he claims he has an excuse - he is the proud father of an eight-month-old, which means he’s extremely sleep-deprived and more clumsy.

The others try to make me feel better by recounting their own tales of food and drink mishaps. The most amusing was Jennie’s. At a recent meal a friend of hers mistook the table cloth for a napkin and so when he got up he pulled the entire table cloth with him, including all the food on top of it.

Michelle, a former waitress, once spilled a prawn cocktail down someone’s back, while a friend of Chris’ had a jug of gravy poured down him minutes before he was due to give a best man’s speech at a wedding.

There are more tales of embarrassment, this time about building surveys gone wrong - the police were called after one of their colleagues took photos in a leisure centre for a survey, while Leesa once got locked in a supermarket. Maybe they’re cursed, good time to leave.

Chosen watering hole: The Audley
Drinks imbibed: 15 pints, nine glasses of wine
Topics discussed: Pet goldfish, 21st birthday parties, triathlons, spilt drinks and other mishaps
Who was there:

Chris McCartney senior associate
David Whitcher senior surveyor
Ashley Winter associate
Michelle Condon head of business development
Leesa Paton senior surveyor
Jennie McKercher marketing assistant
Kelly Ward external PR
David Martin external PR
Iain Withers reporter, Building