My construction compatriots have been enjoying swimming pools, ice cream, stripping off, slimming down and having a break from work – is this January I see before me or the height of summer?

Remembrance of pools past

Page 17 tells the uplifting tale of how three men left contractor Holloway White Allom to set up on their own. As Sizebreed Construction, Barry Breed, Darren Size and Ian Jones are hoping to gatecrash the upmarket residential market served by their former employer and have a new website to showcase their shiniest projects. One eye-catching shot is of a swimming pool in a swanky house. All very nice, but under questioning, Mr Breed admitted the job was one that he had done while working for his former employer. “We should take that one down,” he said sheepishly. Presumably Holloway White Allom wouldn’t disagree.


You may recall “architectural foodsmiths” Bompas & Parr getting the likes of Will Alsop and Lord Foster to make versions of their buildings in the medium of jelly. Well, now there is architectural ice cream to accompany that jelly. Over in LA, the “Coolhaus” van is offering overheated Californians giant ice cream and cookie sandwiches sporting such architecture-themed names as Cinnamoneo and Mintimalism. Let’s hope the sweet treats don’t stick in the throat as much as the puns …

Time for a change

Time for a change

With 2010 upon us, many will be resolving to get a better tailor or download more Dizzee Rascal tunes onto the old iPhone. But enough about my own plans. What are my fellow industry big-hitters’ resolutions?

For example, Diane Johnson, head of electrical contractor Eric Johnson of Northwich, member of Building’s Gloomwatch panel and soon-to-be first woman president of the Electrical Contractors Association, has resolved “not to eat all the desserts at the dinners I’m going to be attending once I’m in the new job”.

Construction Industry Confederation premier Graham Watts, meanwhile, has promised not to take up running or work harder, but to do less. “I want to do fewer things but do them better. Like most people I run around like a headless chicken. Quality not quantity is the key to a better year.” Whether this will win him the battle to stop the RICS leaving the CIC remains to be seen.

Finally, Michael Ankers’ resolution is to stay away from Old Trafford football ground. He recently went along to an FA Cup match, to see his beloved team Manchester United suffer a crushing 1-0 defeat to Leeds. This was the last straw, it seems. “My pledge might sound strange to those who know me, but it seems I’m my team’s bad luck charm, as every time I turn up, they lose.” Let’s hope his continued presence in the building industry as head of the Construction Products Association proves less disastrous. And good luck to all resolvers – stay strong!

Grin and bare it

I was alarmed this week to receive an email from one Mark Triggs headed “I’m getting my kit off …” I bravely opened the missive, however, and ascertained that Mr Triggs, a construction PR veteran, is involved in an initiative to send unwanted football shirts to disadvantaged children in the South African cities hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup. So not as scary as I thought. If you would like to help, visit the dubiously named though well-meaning

Make mine a double-u

Anyone thinking of a move to the new construction hotspot Qatar should be wary of how they spend their leisure time. The rumour in capital Doha is that a couple of highly placed locals were caught celebrating the opening of the luxurious W Hotel in one of its bars in, er, traditional Western style, but were removed by mysterious authorities. The hotel’s bars have been distinctly subdued since.