Some unusual sports are cropping up across the industry, including in-office thought tennis, architectural gymnastics, extreme biking and Olympic-level prevarication. Go team!

The style police

Which recently appointed boss of a property surveyor is rumoured to have been issuing imperial-style edicts to his staff? According to sources, the chap has banished pink and/or checked shirts and open-toed shoes in the office – simply because he doesn’t like them. And his zero-tolerance approach to his workers’ sartorial choices extends to the company stationery: he can’t abide branded pens or pencils and forbids anyone to use one in his presence. He also reportedly had his office carpet ripped up so he could bounce a tennis ball on the floor to help him think. What’s that about companies needing reliable leaders of strong, sound mind to guide them through the recession?

Ken’s revolution?

Cinema wasn’t around when the RIBA started life 175 years ago. Nevertheless, the British Film Institute is planning to lay on a feast of architectural flicks to celebrate the anniversary. The most eye-popping, we hear, is the deranged Borderline of 2005, in which film maker Alex Chandon turns London upside down and inside out. Pedestrians stroll under a watery sky made of the River Thames, while skateboards leap from the South Bank into oblivion. A homage to MC Escher, or a dystopian vision of what life might be like if Ken Livingstone’s building boom had continued? You’ll have to wait till November to see for yourself.

Blurred Parklife

Building’s staff are invited to Olympic Delivery Authority media briefings nearly every week these days – you name it, we’ve reported it. But we were especially looking forward last month to hearing about LOCOG’s plans for the temporary venues outside the Olympic Park, being drawn up by Atkins and architect Populous (formerly HOK Sport). However, just days before the briefing, the organisers pulled the plug with no sign of an alternative date. “Senior diary issues” were to blame, according to the press team. There couldn’t still be issues as to which venues will be temporary and which will be permanent, could there?

That’s the way the money goes

The publication this week of the report and accounts of Cabe was not one of the most eagerly anticipated moments of the year, we admit. But it had its moments. Aside from the revelation that the amount of grant it received last year almost doubled – to over £20m – there was also the news that chief executive Richard Simmons’ pension pot had grown by over 30% this year. And that’s not to mention the fact that the design watchdog awarded a £9,000 professional services contract to the consulting firm of the husband of deputy chief exec Joanna Averley. Fascinating stuff.

Up the cup

With the football season imminent, now is the time to get match fit for Building’s Construction Cup. The competition takes place on 16 September at the David Beckham Academy in Greenwich, south-east London. Teams are drawn from across the industry and each squad can bring eight supporters. Last year’s winners, Build8, got to play a team of former professionals and it’s the same in 2009 as Kerry Dixon, Lee Sharpe and (ooh aah) Ray Parlour put their reputations on the line. Find out more at

It’s just a scratch

Can you shrug off a broken neck? You can if you’re Franklin + Andrews boss Andrew Williams. He is training for the Build Moore charity cycle ride to Paris and mentioned, in passing, that he’d broken a bone in his neck during an offroad bike ride with his family. Apparently Williams was saved from serious injury by the strength of his shoulder muscles, built up through years of swimming. You’d think that might deter him, but not a bit of it. Williams was back in the saddle after a few weeks’ rest and is looking forward to riding the 280 miles to Paris. He is writing a training blog for the event and will be offering advice for fellow riders. The first tip? Don’t show off in front of your kids.

Join the ride at