This week, politicians shed more heat than light at the House of Lords, Whitehall gets the jitters, the Department of Energy and Climate Change gets wind of its demise and London has one less Pole
Pass the smelling salts
The sight of business and energy secretary Greg Clark and shadow chancellor John McDonnell at the FMB’s 75th anniversary party at the House of Lords was obviously too much for one poor soul who promptly fainted on hearing their speeches. But my hack reckons it was probably the heat in the room caused by the Palace of Westminster’s faltering M&E services rather than the charms of the two MPs that overwhelmed said guest. However, the FMB’s birthday cake, by builder and former Bake Off finalist Richard Burr held up alright. In light of rising construction material costs maybe some investigation into the potential of icing, eggs and butter in place of concrete and bricks should be done.
We fear change
Sticking with the House of Lords, another of my journalists popped down there for a bash thrown by education charity the Transformation Trust. The trust was celebrating a week of big events for disadvantaged pupils, including the Rock Assembly - headlined by rapper Lethal Bizzle - and the Futures Fair careers fair. The Lords event was hosted by Baroness Margaret Sharp and schools minister (at time of going to press …) Nick Gibb. One government adviser confided that mandarins were most concerned during the reshuffle - not about the comings and goings of ministers, but about the restructuring of Whitehall departments and “which building they’d end up in and with what front door”. Civil servants and change do not mix well.
Sense of an ending
If the venues for next week’s planned consultations on the energy company obligation are anything to go by, the now-abolished Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) knew the writing was on the wall weeks ago. Usually held at DECC’s offices, one industry member set to attend the workshops said the department had been scrambling around for external venues to host the events, which will now be held in hotels around central London. It’s almost as if the team at DECC knew they’d be gone, maybe even to make way for the new Brexit department.
Shard developer Sellar bowed to pressure from Paddington residents and conservationists to cube its proposed “Pole” tower in the area, lopping 58 storeys off its proposed building for a more modest 14-storey cube-shaped office building. We hear the Cube will require a townscape assessment about a fifth the size of the Pole’s, which was, to be fair, five times taller. Hansom understands the assessment will be between 100 and 150 pages long. The document accompanying the planning application for 31 London Street (as the Pole was officially called) weighed in at 500 pages. But then the Pole did manage to protrude into almost every view in London.
Jump for joy
Logistics firm Wilson James has been celebrating the firm’s 25th anniversary with the help of contractor Lendlease by participating in a fundraising tandem skydive with the Red Devils. The team jumped from 13,000ft in aid of charity Mind, freefalling for 45 seconds before a five-minute canopy ride. Could this be the start of a new way to ship in construction materials to difficult to access sites? Meanwhile, contractor Shaylor Group has raised over £35,000 in under 18 months for the Teenage Cancer Trust - the firm’s chosen 2015/16 charity - smashing its £10,000 target. Congrats to all involved.
Congratulations to Aecom employee Hazel Smith, who has been chosen to represent Great Britain at the Paralympics in Rio this summer. Smith, a hydrologist by trade, is a guide for visually impaired paratriathlete Alison Patrick, and the duo will be competing together in the paratriathlon event. Commenting on her selection, Smith said: “Supporting a visually impaired athlete gives me an extra reason to train and push myself hard. It is immensely rewarding to help another athlete reach her potential.” The duo will travel to Rio in early September for the PT5 paratriathlon event, which takes place on 11 September. From all at Building Towers, good luck ladies!
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