Warning: this week’s diary contains graphic scenes of violence, as a Unite officer tests out his right jab, a Wembley grudge match reaches round two and Tim Byles submits to the school bullies
Business is business, they say, so why let previous disagreements get in the way of new opportunities? Brookfield and PC Harrington may want to keep that in mind as they could soon be reunited on the Pinnacle project in the City of London. Brookfield is building the tower and PCH is understood to be one of a number of firms bidding for the concrete package. The pair aren’t that close, you might recall. The last time they worked together on a fixed-price London contract the job ended with PCH lodging a £17m claim – later settled out of court – against the builder formerly known as Multiplex. Of course, the Pinnacle couldn’t go as disastrously wrong as Wembley, could it?
A war zone too far
Thomas Heatherwick’s UK pavilion for the Shanghai Expo has already been through its fair share of ups and downs, following design disputes, rows about safety and a reduction in the number of shimmering spikes sheathing the building. But the scheme has just become even pricklier following the resignation of Janet Rogan, the Foreign Office project leader. We hear the civil servant, who is understood to have walked out over a budget disagreement, had survived postings in Sarajevo and Tel Aviv. With his disastrous B of the Bang sculpture shortly to be dismantled, is it too soon to start talking about the curse of Thomas Heatherwick?
Tim Byles’ school days
You would have thought corporal punishment would have ceased to be a feature of the UK education system under the government’s school building programme, but it seems that delivery body Partnerships for Schools may have other ideas. Tim Byles, its chief executive, was more than happy to auction himself off as a “slave for the day” at the BSEC conference in Manchester last week in aid of charitable trust the BSF Foundation. He fetched the princely sum of £3,500 from winning bidder Skanska. The exact terms of contract remain undisclosed, but if I were him I’d keep my dinner money well hidden.
Not many union officers are known for their ability to, in the words of Muhammad Ali, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”, but one Unite officer showed some fancy footwork at lunch with a Building employee last week. Spotting two workers working outside the brasserie without the right safety equipment, the former boxer leaped up to dress them down, with a few mock swipes to boot. I’m not sure what is more unusual: a union official being light on his feet or one prepared to work in his lunchbreak, outside contracted hours.
It’s a steal
Mace’s retail team has clearly nicked a few ideas from its supermarket clients. A recent e-mail from division head Matthew Turner offered customers a buy one, get one free offer. Yes, for a limited time Mace is offering retail clients a specialist project manager free of charge on all commissions! What’s next? An own-brand value fit-out job? A Mace clubcard? The possibilities are endless.