All the latest from London’s least-publicised £425m tower, the RICS’ £45 page-turner, Steve Morgan’s £10 football club, and my £5 flutter on the Grand National

What’s that in old money?

There were sighs of relief all round last week as the RICS’ long-awaited New Rules of Measurement dragged the noble QS profession into the 21st century. No longer, the authors cried, would varied and archaic measurements befuddle poor clients struggling to understand project estimates. Surprising, then, to see the choice of front cover for the £45, 300-page document: a picture of a surveyor’s plan measured in good old-fashioned feet and inches.

And now, by video link

Most of the architects in the room at the Building Awards congregated at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’ table after the gongs were handed out to congratulate the firm on winning three of them. Farshid Moussavi of Foreign Office Architects was in particularly sprightly form, despite having just run into a bit of visa trouble in the US. She had landed a prestigious gig to lecture at Harvard, but the zealous chaps at the US Customs decided the Iran-born architect shouldn’t get permission to work in their fair land. Sadly, the cancellation didn’t get round Harvard in time, and a roomful of students turned up to hear her talk while she was stuck on the other side of the Atlantic. So much for being a Foreign Office.

Shard of wit

Bernard Ainsworth, the man charged with project managing the Shard for developer Irvine Sellar, was on great form at the Building Awards last week. We thought he’d be less than keen on chatting to Building journos – especially since one of my colleagues had been badgering him in person at his office that very day. On the contrary, he was all too happy to talk. The reason? Apparently, the Shard is in need of more column inches. “We need to raise our profile,” he said. Erm … really? Surely that couldn’t be a hint of sarcasm from the genial Lancastrian?

Big-league housebuilder

Redrow founder Steve Morgan has been quick to start his City charm offensive after he stormed the housebuilder’s boardroom last month to seize the top job. The charismatic Wolverhampton FC owner, whose high expletive count has apparently made some in the Square Mile uneasy, is understood to be pondering taking the company private. “Where would he get the cash?” I hear you ask. One City wag suggested the answer may lie on the football pitch. Wolves are currently looking good for promotion into the Premiership next season and, if successful, the club would presumably be worth more than the £10 Morgan paid for it in May 2007. Given its history of yo-yoing between the top two flights of English football, he’d better not hang around.

Bring out the violins

The director of the UK Contractors’ Group Stephen Ratcliffe is known for his ability to bring a cultural edge to the contracting industry. What is maybe less well known is the action he is taking to help other UKCG employees follow their own creative journeys. He has recently taken to accompanying his deputy director’s violin practice on the piano to get her through her grade II exams (she passed with flying colours) and updating the bosses of major contractors on her progress. It must be the stress of the recession – I guess for some a recourse to music is the only answer.

You win some, you lose some

Hats off to Building’s racing tipster Stef Stefanou, whose recommendation on these pages for this year’s Grand National bore fruit. Yes, State of Play romped home in fourth place at the weekend, meaning anyone who placed a £10 each-way bet at 14-1 would have pocketed £45. Very many thanks to the sage concrete mogul. My own decision to invest in Offshore Account (25-1) met with little success. After the strict tax haven regulations drawn up at last week’s G20 meeting I wonder if that might soon be the case for some of you, too …