What starts with a communication failure and some missing property can quickly descend into gunfire in Paris, a team driving unlikely vehicles and a high-speed chase across France. What a cliffhanger!

History’s longest typo

Anyone feeling mildly depressed at the thought of the wholesale reform of the Building Regulations that will take place if the Tories get in at the next election can relax. I gather that the bit of the party’s housing green paper that referred to reforming them was an oversight and, well, shouldn’t have been there. Guess they spent so long working on the paper they had no time to read it …

Say that again?

As politicians on all sides attempt to do their sums ready for next year’s schools budget, there was an intriguing statement put out this week by a Tory spokesperson. Defending the party against accusations that its desire to allow parents to open their own schools will lead to increased costs, he told the BBC: “There will be a capital cost, funded from the Building Schools for the Future budget. This means the same amount of money will be spent on building schools.” Aha! So they are committing themselves to the £55bn BSF spending in a quiet aside? It sounds unlikely, but you never can tell. Particularly as, having been bounced around a number of “spokespeople”, we are still awaiting an explanation from the party …

You can’t miss it

Vantis, the administrator of Lancsville Construction, is having trouble putting its hands on the contractor’s plant, it seems. The accountant wants to sell the equipment to help pay 990 creditors which are owed a total of £23m. The company plans to work out exactly what’s gone awol before tracking down the parties responsible. But rumours abound that aggrieved subbies have taken rather more direct action to recoup what they are owed. We’re not talking about a few kangos here – some full-size tower cranes are unaccounted for. The question perplexing me, though, is where on earth you stash a tower crane?

C’est n’est pas la guerre

Advice in troubled times can come from the most unlikely of quarters, as Willmott Dixon learned last week. Communications head Andrew Geldard was spotted in a Parisian restaurant employing his best O level French to engage a former member of the French Resistance in a conversation about wartime struggles, perhaps with a view to securing stirring anecdotes to pass on to colleagues back in recession-hit Blighty. From a distance, the chat looked mainly to involve M Geldard miming rifle fire to the accompaniment of vigorous nodding from the elderly maquis, but we’re sure that much of the exchange was lost in translation …

Winning the pink jersey

The bike racing season began in earnest this week with the Paris–Nice race. But I’ll be following the lesser-known Cycle 2 Cannes charity ride that takes place at the same time. The 1,500km ride’s peleton will sport some of construction’s finest, such as Roger Madelin, Christophe Egret, Jonathan Goring and Gensler’s Anna Robinson – and they certainly won’t go unnoticed, as most will be sporting bright pink jerseys. The reason? Sponsors Linklaters and Nottingham council have magenta logos. No doubt the champagne drunk on the final stage will also be pink. Visit: www.cycle2cannes.org and follow the riders at www.building.co.uk/mipim.

Fast track

Partnering with an Austrian tunneling specialist can be scary, it seems. A delegation of Crossrail tunnel-bidders recently dropped in on its partner Beton und Monierbau Gesellschaft in Innsbruck. On arrival at the 1976 Winter Olympics venue, representatives from Vinci, Balfour Beatty and Morgan Est did the usual round of meetings before being told it was now time for “team building”. The group quickly found themselves enrolled into a six-man bobsleigh crew, hurtling down ice-covered concrete at more than 100kmph. What an interesting way to warm up for working on Crossrail … Send any juicy industry gossip to hansom@ubm.com