This week we come to terms with the eventual departures of Colin Harding and Sir Peter Mason, bid adieu to the women-only construction empire and kiss goodbye to our invite to CLM’s all-night party

Goodbye girls

Who, other than Ray O’Rourke, reckons that women on site are a bad idea? Five celebrity multimillionaires for starters. This week the Rich List regulars on BBC2’s The Dragon’s Den refused to invest their millions in one woman’s solution to the sexual dysfunctions of construction: an empire of all-female companies. The dragons, including Building’s favourite, Duncan Bannatyne, thought the idea was a waste of time and were certainly not going to invest any of their own money in it. Looks like Ray’s not alone …

Is this the end of Colin Harding?

I notice that Colin Harding is preparing his retirement from the industry. Harding, the chairman of family-run business George & Harding, has placed an advert in The Sunday Times looking for a group managing director. Given his 20 year record of pushing for positive change in the industry (mostly by winding up the magazine’s more architecturally inclined readers), whoever takes the helm of the £30m turnover firm is going to have large boots to fill.

A life in construction

Sir Peter Mason was in a jovial mood at the press conference called to discuss Amec’s results, despite the fact that they happen to include a £58m loss. Mason is about to depart from the firm, and when he was asked if he would be going into another role in construction he replied, “I’m tempted to say ‘I hope not’.” And when he was asked what he would do differently if he did it all again, he said: “Go into investment banking.”

A pretty pickle
Credit: Scott Garrett

A pretty pickle

Urban Splash has been friskier than ever with its marketing splurge for its first project designed by Foster and Partners. For its “Budenberg Haus Projekte” in Altrincham, Cheshire, the bumph takes the form of two hardbacks spliced together back to back. One is entitled “101 reasons why you’ll love our penthouses” and is illustrated by three jars of pickled gherkins, each intriguingly labelled “Foster and Partners designed it”. I wonder … is the image intended to induce Cheshire’s newest penthouse residents to daydream of inhabiting the Swiss Re tower? Or could it be a cryptic reference to Urban Splash’s next conversion project?

Trebles all round

Unsurprisingly CLM, the winning consortium in the race to deliver the 2012 London Olympics, was in a party mood on Wednesday. Team members from all three companies – Laing O’Rourke, Mace and CH2M Hill – spent much of the afternoon toasting their success with champagne. However the serious celebrations started that night. Mace staff partied near their Camden office but were shown up by the senior management of CLM who were reportedly out until 5am the next morning. All were in the office for 9am the next day, of course, fresh as daisies …

Not us, Guv

It has taken an American to stand up for the British construction industry in the wake of the Wembley debacle. Speaking at the press conference announcing the award of the Olympic Delivery Partner contract last week, ODA chairman Jack Lemley none-too-subtly suggested the Aussies were to blame for

the difficulties as the national stadium. “British construction and engineering doesn't deserve the rap that it’s getting for Wembley,” he said. Before Ray O’Rourke and the rest of the CLM consortium could start sitting comfortably, he added that he’d fire them should the Olympics show signs of going the same way…