No, not the curses heard from Jack Pringle’s yacht as it sailed into trouble in the Fastnet race, but what one engineer has dubbed all architects and what the Finns inexplicably call the good people at the CICA

Pigging computers

Further to my report earlier in the summer about the delectable Serbian singer Ceca and her Google ties with the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA for the hard of thinking), disturbing news reaches me from Finland. Apparently, one does not want to represent the Construction Industry Computing Association in that country. Cica – pronounced “seeka” – is the Finnish for swine. Perhaps, deep in the country’s past, the people of Finland were sold some dodgy CAD software for which the IT world has never quite been forgiven.

A sandwich too far

Architects may be considered to exist at the cooler end of the industry spectrum, but when it comes to mundane office rules they are the same as the rest of us. 3DReid is no exception. Following an incident in which the sandwich trolley operator barged unannounced into the former managing director’s office, the snack purveyor is now permitted on one floor only. The rest of the office is then emailed to announce his arrival. Rules is rules.

‘All architects are morons’

Construction has inspired surprisingly few great works of literature, but a new book called The Site by Wigan structural engineer Andrew Dawber is apparently taking the US by storm. Billed as “a tongue-in-cheek tale of a project that goes disastrously wrong”, the novel doesn’t shy away from telling it how it is – the first line gets straight in there with “All architects are morons”. It’s not out in the UK until early 2008, alas, but if you’re keen to buy it for a loved one – or an architect – visit

The luckiest man in construction

Builders facing a meagre government pension should take heart from the tale of Eugene Angelo. The retired construction worker recently won the New York lottery – for the second time. Angelo, 81, won $2.5m in 1996 and, clearly not content with such meagre winnings, scooped a further $5m last week. And some people think contractors are bad with numbers. But what does the world’s most fortunate builder plan to do with his winnings? Buy more lottery tickets, of course.

Credit: Scott Garrett


Poor old Captain Jack Pringle. Just weeks before the Little Britain regatta, the good ship Pringle – aka Fraxious – sailed into choppy waters during the Fastnet race. Appalling conditions in the Channel meant 211 of the 271 boats were forced to retire from the race, including the unfortunate Fraxious. Captain Jack’s pride and joy was reportedly in a sorry state after the race, with extensive damage to sails and rigging. Let’s hope the retiring RIBA president isn’t forced to stay on dry land for this weekend’s festivities …

No splash

Developer Urban Splash’s uber-stylish, much-hyped designer developments seem to cause scenes of mass hysteria wherever they’re announced. So here’s something to cheer all the disappointed first-time buyers who’ve camped futilely in the rain for one of their high-spec pads. I was speaking to one of the office tenants at Birmingham’s Fort Dunlop the other day who was less than overwhelmed by some of the expensive fittings. Stylish trough sinks are all well and good, as are automatic taps, but when they fail to relinquish any water, you wonder whether perhaps a little too much has been sacrificed at the altar of cutting-edge design. Oh, for the Victorian plumbing of my youth …