A fun and unusual tribute is set to take place for architect Will Alsop, while Alinea celebrates good news but the Midland Met hospital saga continues to depress – and things aren’t much better for Crossrail or Spurs 

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A quirky act of homage

Word has reached me that plans are afoot for an “Alsop Whistlestop” – a tour of London landmarks designed by late architect Will Alsop. Fittingly, the trip, planned for June, will climax with a visit to the Doodle Bar, an establishment where attendees can celebrate one or more of Alsop’s favourite pastimes. The Bermondsey boozer encourages customers to sketch – a pleasure Alsop pursued all his life. It also happens to run a “neon naked life drawing” event on Wednesday evenings. Alsop, renowned for his use of colour, and who once declared: “You can’t have sex if you’re bored,” at a debate about sex and architecture, would doubtless have approved of such revelry.

Not tough enough?

The Ministry of Defence has recently called for tenders to provide various engineering and support services at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The base is home to around 5,800 military personnel, including a military police squadron and reserve units. So one may be surprised to learn that the MoD wants to hand security services over to a contractor. You would think they could fend for themselves. 

Red signals from ex-Crossrail chair

Ousted Crossrail chair Sir Terry Morgan didn’t mince his words when fronting the London Assembly’s transport committee last week. In one of the lighter moments of a session littered with accusations about Transport for London and mayor Sadiq Khan, Morgan said he and new Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild held a meeting with key contractors in the middle of last year to ask if they had any ideas on how to speed up the Crossrail programme. One suggested they could deliver their work on time. “Unfortunately,” Morgan told the committee, “they did not.”

Read: Crossrail - how the delay has unfolded

Reassuring but not convincing

Continuing with Crossrail, a minister from the Department for Transport has shown himself to be a master of understatement. Jesse Norman told MPs last week: “Notwithstanding recent hiccups, we feel excited about the potential for the project.” Perhaps he’s in government simply to tell us everything will be alright.

Another kicking for Spurs

I see the Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer, John Crace, is a Tottenham fan. How is he taking the news of more delays? “I’d put money on the PR for the Spurs stadium delays winning an award for the worst campaign of the year,” he wrote last week. I’ve no idea what he means. Back in November, this magazine unearthed documents relating to Wembley Stadium’s planning application to increase capacity at the ground in case the team were to stay there for some time, which suggested the new stadium would open sometime between 15 January and 12 May. The club was having none of it, with a spokesperson thundering: “Suggesting anything should be read into this one sentence in isolation in terms of our new stadium opening date is complete scaremongering and troublemaking.” The stadium will not now open until March at the earliest. 

Read: The latest on the Tottenham stadium delay

Signs say it all

Bereft of a decent bedtime story, I recently delved into the minutes of an October 2018 meeting of the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals’ NHS Trust’s estate major projects authority committee. I discovered that Balfour Beatty is undertaking the early works programme on the half-finished Midland Metropolitan hospital, which Carillion was building before it went belly-up. The minutes noted that all Carillion’s signage across the site had been replaced with Balfour branding, apart from on the tower cranes, where it was deemed too “cost prohibitive” to do a swap. Rather sums up the whole sorry affair, doesn’t it?

Read: NHS trust fires starting gun on Midland Met tender race and puts £320m price tag on job


Alinea’s going guns 

Alinea is celebrating after all six of its candidates for the RICS’ Assessment of Professional Competence passed, making them chartered. “The national average for passing is about 60%, so they did very well,” says partner Iain Parker. Among the group is 22-year-old Lanre Onanuga, who is the youngest member of the RICS. Talented chap. If he could sort out Brexit, that would be handy as well. Left to right: Sonal Halai, Victoria McGee-Brown, Andrew Stassen, Lanre Onanuga, Sam Boddy, Reece Benmore.

Send any juicy industry gossip to hansom@building.co.uk