This week, a charity prepares to set off for some mountain climbing, brave construction folk drop in on Pegasus Bridge, the head of Foster + Partners takes his leave (twice), and the Queen departs from normal English


Gone before his time

The departure of Mouzhan Majidi from his post as chief executive of Foster + Partners in February after more than 20 years at the firm was pretty sudden, but documents published this week revealed it perhaps wasn’t sudden enough for Foster + Partners. The news of Majidi’s departure and the abolition of his post broke on 24 February when he left the firm. Foster + Partners soon filed a notice at Companies House to say that his appointment had been terminated that day. But it appears someone at Fosters may have failed to account for Majidi’s notice period - and I suspect some pay - because the firm updated the records this week revealing that he didn’t officially leave his post until 28 March. It seems they were overhasty the first time around.

The Queen’s English (updated)

There are certain phrases that one never expects to hear trip off a set of royal lips, most of them comprised of four-letter words, but “allowable solutions” is also one of them. So, it was with some delight that I listened last week to the Queen announce that the policy for carbon offsetting on housing developments, known as “allowable solutions”, would find its way into law before next May. It is perhaps too much to hope that Her Majesty is familiar with the intricacies of meeting a new home’s Target Fabric Energy Efficiency (TFEE) and its Dwelling Fabric Energy Efficiency (DFEE), through juggling a set of required U-values, all the while also worrying about off-site carbon mitigation. But I can still dream.

Final offer

London developer Galliard is getting into the World Cup spirit, by planning a £1m “giveaway” in property discounts linked to the tournament in Brazil. Ten purchasers of Galliard properties will receive a special Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-style “Golden Ticket” entitling them to a £100,000 refund on the purchase price of their home. But there is a catch: cashing in on the “Golden Ticket” is conditional on England winning the World Cup. Suddenly doesn’t seem like much of a giveaway…

Dig this

Builders on Willmott Dixon’s college project in Lincoln turned archaeologists this month, after they unearthed a number of artefacts dating back to the Roman period. The most significant discovery at the firm’s Lincoln University Technical College project was a medieval stone sculpture of the Virgin Mary and Christ, thought to date from the 15th century. A full archaeological dig on the site is now under way, and may last up to several months. Get Tony Robinson and the Time Team down there! I presume they’re still on the road, TV show or no TV show.

Climb every mountain

Education charity the Transformation Trust is planning another fundraising trek for this autumn, following the success of last year’s climb up Kilimanjaro. The challenge this year is the Three Peak Challenge, taking in England, Scotland and Wales’ highest peaks - Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdon. The format will be the same, with construction companies paired with sixth-formers from schools the trust works with. Mike Green from the Education Funding Agency will be taking part, along with teams from Wates, Galliford Try, Interserve and Deloitte. Anyone interested in joining them should contact

D-Day Tribute

D-Day Tribute

I’m sure many of our readers followed commemoration events for the D-Day landings last weekend. Some members of the Engineer and Logistic Staff Corps, which is made up of senior construction and engineering figures, joined in the events, including former paratrooper Gary Sullivan, now chairman of Wilson James. Sullivan was one of number who parachuted from a Dakota (left) that was itself a veteran of the D-Day landings, landing around Pegasus Bridge in Normandy, a key strategic site. Sullivan said: “It was humbling to sit there in the plane and imagine what could have been going through their minds, and how terrified they would be.” Hats off to all who paid tribute.