This week an energy minister and architects’ board make glaring slip-ups, but there’s no room for error in one firm’s ‘grand opening’. Elsewhere, employees strive towards perfectly sustainable homes

Home help

How green are your staff when they leave the office? To find out you could take a leaf out of PRP Architects’ book. The practice has been testing out energy usage measuring systems in its staff’s homes to see which ones it should be using in its designs. What’s more, it is even thinking about posting a league table of staff home energy usage in its office. One member of staff is now having their kitchen lights redone as a result of their shocking usage - though I suspect it’s really just to gain that top league spot.

Fill in the blanks

The seemingly inexplicable loss of 35,000 jobs from the government’s forecast in last week’s Green Deal consultation wasn’t the only sign the document was a rush job. If energy secretary Chris Huhne had been one of my hacks he would have received a stern dressing down. So desperate was Huhne to get the consultation out that he didn’t even bother to finish putting in all the figures. The document said tough carbon reduction targets for energy companies “will result in around £xbn being injected into the market and secure levels of installation activity”. If readers wanted details on how these targets would come into force they were directed to “page x”. I invite Mr Huhne to take a two week internship here at Building to learn the benefits of proper proof reading.

Maintaining standards

Talking of correct spelling and grammar, I would like to deliver another slap on the wrist - this time to the Arb. Arb, as every architect knows, stands for the Architects’ Registration Board, the body created under the 1997 Architects Act to maintain the register of architects, protect the consumer and generally keep up standards. It is therefore more than a little worrying to notice that on its website - under the heading of “regulating architects” - is a section entitled “maintining competence” [sic]. A little more competence from the Arb would be nice!

Minty fresh

Advertising folk are clever. There’s a reason pretty young things advertising shampoo run through fields of pansies or rainforests, rather than kitchen gardens - and my colleague can attest to it.

While attending the National Specialist Contractors Council lunch last week at the Institute of Directors she found herself not only enjoying, but wearing, one of the condiments to the roast lamb lunch. One slip from a waiter and she found herself covered in (albeit freshly made) mint sauce. She spent the next half hour washing her hair in the ladies’ bathroom sink, much to the amusement of her fellow female attendees. Mint: good in toothpaste, disaster on hair.

Good brew

Bottoms up to former RIBA president George Ferguson, who has won the title of “Drinks Producer of the Year” on BBC4’s Food Programme. For those unaware of the architect’s talents for crafting drinks as well as buildings, Ferguson jointly owns Bristol Beer Factory, producing a range of hearty ales. Ferguson is combining work and pleasure in more ways than one - the brewery is to be revamped as a “mixed use scheme” next year and will become Ferguson’s new home.

A real knees up

Last week this page brought you news of a cement mixer owned by former news anchor Selina Scott. This week we continue our unofficial series of “construction’s tenuous links to eighties legends” - with Eric Bristow! As Building went to press, the five times darts World Champion was scheduled to play - yes you guessed it - darts, against all comers at the “grand opening” of Cube Interiors Solutions’ new office in Egham, Surrey. Cube’s events planner is clearly some kind of genius, especially as they have opted to add to this already tempting mix a hog roast, served up alongside the obligatory festive drinks. The Crafty Cockney (as Bristow is affectionately known), is in for a treat.


Source: Phil Disley