Happiness has broken out on the UK’s building sites, it seems (are they putting something in the tea?). Plus, tall towers, oversized sculptures, fantasy drama and Iain Duncan Smith. Happy?


Because we’re happy

Engineering and construction workers are among the happiest in the world, according to a new study. The research by The Guardian found engineers came top, with construction workers, teachers, gardeners and nurses also scoring highly. “There is never a dull moment”, Hayley Chilton, a construction worker for Barratt Homes, told the paper. Perhaps she had been listening to Olympics Delivery Authority chairman Sir John Armitt. His ‘dancing’ to the Pharrell Williams hit ‘Happy’ last year put a smile on the face of the whole industry.

Johnny’s Pinnacle pitch

Maverick Irish property developer Johnny Ronan was behind a £1bn bid to redevelop stalled City of London skyscraper The Pinnacle, it has emerged. The businessman had secured backing from Asian investors, according to Ireland’s Sunday Independent. Ronan’s Treasury Holdings had previously held a 60% stake in the Battersea Power Station site, which it bought in 2006 before the redevelopment plan collapsed in 2011. Treasury Holdings was wound up in 2012. But the Irishman now seems ready to return to the fray. The sight of the new Battersea development taking shape in south London may be all the motivation he needs.

Game of Thrones brush up

Paint manufacturer Mylands is in a fantasy world at the moment - the Game of Thrones set. Britain’s oldest family-owned and run paint manufacturer has got in touch to share that it has a starring role in the fantasy TV drama, as the official paint supplier to set builder Acapple Construction in Ireland. Mylands has supplied over 3,000 litres of paint, including almost 2,500 litres of its Dutch Metal Gold Leaf for what it describes as the “extravagant ‘Purple Wedding’ scenes”. The wedding itself ended when the groom dying from poisoning - which may have taken the gloss off proceedings.

Black gold

The engineer behind the world’s largest sculpture - the Mastaba in Abu Dhabi - has been awarded the Gold Medal by The Institution of Structural Engineers. Mike Schlaich, boss of Schlaich Bergermann und Partner in Germany, has worked on projects such as Christian Garden in Berlin, the Ting Kau cable-stayed bridge in Hong Kong, and the new Yamuna bridge in New Delhi, India. The Mastaba, a project conceived by artist Christo, is based on the shape of an ancient Egyptian tomb, and will be 150m high, and 225m by 300m in area. The sculpture will be constructed from 410,000 oil barrels - a testimony to the region’s principal industry - though construction is yet to start. Congratulations to Mike - clearly a slick operator.

Going that extra mile

Barratt director David Perkins is running this month’s London Marathon - and turning it into a family affair. Five of the Perkins clan will take part to raise money for Fight for Sight, a charity for research to prevent and treat sight loss. The director’s niece, 16-year-old Maddie Perkins, was diagnosed with Stargardt’s four years ago, a condition which causes light-sensitive cells in the retina to deteriorate. The Perkins family are aiming to raise £20,000, as they collectively clock-up 131 miles in their ‘Marathon4Maddie’ mission. To support their effort, please visit: www.justgiving.com/marathonformaddie.

Iain Duncan Smith

Odd man out

Amid the chorus of disapproval from much of the housing lobby at Conservative plans to give housing association tenants a right to buy their homes, housebuilder Crest Nicholson welcomed in a statement “the extension of Right to Buy”. This may not be a surprise, given the number of Tory ministers flocking to Crest Nicholson sites for the obligatory construction photo-op recently. Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith is the latest, with David Cameron and George Osborne having both done the same in the last month. A far cry from the days before the crash when previous Crest chief executive John Calcutt was an advisor to Labour on housing policy. While the register of party political donations records nothing given by the company, you probably wouldn’t get very tempting odds for betting on how current CEO Stephen Stone will vote on 7 May.