Kriss Akabusi’s achievements and yacht size got this table talking at the Building Awards

Last week Building hosted its annual awards bash at the Grosvenor House Hotel (where else?), with the great and the good - and a few others besides - lining up for the chance to snag one of our highly sought-after gongs. So this issue is not so much Building buys a pint - more “Building extends the licensing hours” (2am on a work night, no less).

After Building brand director Tom Broughton welcomed the crowd to their seats in the Great Room, which was chock full of 144 tables, the stage was given over to Kriss Akabusi, who paid tribute to the UK construction industry’s efforts to get the Olympic Games built on time and budget, then introduced to the crowd four young UK Olympians.

So this issue is not so much Building buys a pint - more building extends the licensing hours

On Table 20, right at the front, the guests were overpowered by Akabusi’s intensity, but later, after I (an Antipodean, to be fair) confessed to not knowing exactly who Akabusi was, it emerged that none of the guests could name his achievement. Bernard Ainsworth, project managing director of the London Bridge Quarter, knew, of course, that he was a runner and thought he was an Olympic champion. Greg Fitzgerald, Galliford Try chief executive, clarified that he was a relay runner - 4 x 400m - and said he’d won either the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, or the World champs - while Tony Williams, Building Value chief executive (an Antipodean, too) agreed with Greg.

Not that it mattered (for the record, he won the gold medal in the 400m hurdles at the 1990 European Championships; a gold in the 4 x 400m relay at the 1991 World Championships; and a silver medal in the 4 x 400m relay at the 1984 Olympic Games), as everybody was more focused on Akabusi’s unique style of motivational speaking.

Tim, Greg and Tony talked about the size of their friends’ yachts, which made them wonder what they’d been doing with their lives

Poor Bernard then got heckled by comedian Tim Minchin, after being grassed up (I confess, by me) as being responsible for the Shard, which Tim - unoriginally we agreed - likened to a phallus. A bit tired of Tim, Greg and Tony shifted to talking about Mallorca - or was it Menorca - and the size of their friends’ yachts, which had made each of them wonder what it was they’d been doing with their lives.

Sunning themselves, by the look of Tony’s tan, which had the Building hack thinking he was Australian, only for them to be revealed as Kiwis. Which left Greg, sandwiched between, in a tight spot. Fortunately, along came Jason Manford to present the awards, which after some hilarity, soon silenced the talk.

Chosen watering hole: The Grosvenor Hotel, London
Topics: Kriss Akabusi, yacht size
Drinks drunk: Wine, champagne, port
Who was there:
Bernard Ainsworth project managing director, London Bridge Quarter
Greg Fitzgerald chief executive, Galliford Try
Tony Williams chief executive, Building Value
Allister Hayman news editor, Building