The latest chatter around the industry

Hansom new 2008

Men united

Building was recently offered the chance to chat to ex-Man United ace Gary Neville about his new St Michael’s development. So of course, I sent my Liverpool-supporting hack up north for the job. The two sat down for a beer in the Sir Ralph Abercromby, a cozy, old-school Manchester boozer. The interview went well enough but my hack could not help but be distracted by a bizarre series of framed images documenting a 2014 evening shared at the pub by singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and Red Nev’s former United colleague Wayne Rooney. It is a rich tableau featuring Sheeran playing guitar for a pensive-looking Rooney, Rooney pointing his finger in Sheeran’s face and the pair mugging for the camera together. The japes.


My most-prominent ex-hack was in cheeky mood at the launch of the government’s latest housing strategy. Asked how he would ensure that the newly densified urban centres he has demanded will support a buzzing nighttime economy, former Building columnist Michael Gove, who gave that gig up to be a government minister, quipped: “I think most people who know me in this room will know that I am a passionate supporter of nightclubs and I want to do everything possible to keep them open as late as possible.” He was famously filmed raving, throwing shapes in his suit no less, in an Aberdeen nightclub in the early hours of the morning two summers ago.

Manufacturers were left awestruck at the sheer speed at which Hollinrake moved to set things straight, a mere three years after the industry first raised the alarm

All shall have prizes

A press release landed with one of my team from the Leeds College of Building a couple of weeks ago. In a vote on the UK’s top 50 apprenticeship providers, the college revealed it had come in at 14th place. A little underwhelming as a story, I guess but, still, a rise is better than a fall.

Breaking news…

Duncan Rudall, the new chief executive of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, says that while his three 20-something children aren’t currently in the sector, there’s still time. “They can all operate excavators,” he says, hopefully. They’ve even been on asbestos awareness courses, he tells my scribe. There is a labour shortage, I suppose…

Man puts skates on shock

Businesses have been warning for some time about the shambles over the new UKCA certification system, which was going to be mandated next year for non-construction products. Luckily, the plan has now been scrapped due to the decisive action of business minister Kevin Hollinrake. “The business secretary acted urgently on this issue, to prevent a cliff-edge moment in December 2024 when UKCA was set for entry,” the government announced. Manufacturers were left awestruck at the sheer speed at which Hollinrake moved to set things straight, a mere three years after the industry first raised the alarm and after only two 12-month delays to the new regime’s implementation. Remind me, who was it that proposed the reforms in the first place? Ah yes, this government.

Last of the summer whines

To baking hot Seville last month and the cauldron of 40º heat for the Building team on an away day – well, days – in the Spanish city. There was some trepidation ahead of the visit, as the predicted temperatures climbed further and further above the 40º mark. And they didn’t disappoint, with the midnight temperature one night over 30º. Given our rubbish weather of the past few weeks, how I now miss those unbearable days and uncomfortable nights.

A singular feat

Screenshot 2023-08-13 at 20.58.43

For those lamenting the number of towers in London, especially the very tall ones in the City, I’m minded to point out that this appears to be Seville’s tower cluster. One question: why?

Send any juicy industry gossip to Mr Joseph Aloysius Hansom, who founded Building in 1843, at