This week, the least cared-for companies are publicly humiliated, a long-lens camera gets an eyeful and how a QS firm is taking on a secret mission
The great unloved
Those construction bosses who moan about how much they are ignored by the City will find some solace in a report from accountant RSM Robson Rhodes. The latest research, called the 2003 Unloved Companies Index (UCI), counts no fewer than eight contractors and housebuilders in its 50 firms whose share prices least reflect their balance sheet strength. The sector's top underperformers included Morrison owner AWG, Wimpey, Balfour Beatty, Redrow and Barratt. The accountant gives the firm some handy tips on how to raise their values, including shaking up their boards and communications strategy as well as, of course, telling the City to take a running jump and delisting.

Caught on a hot tin roof
Directors at roofing company SpeedDeck got more than they bargained for when they commissioned some press photography for a recently completed school roof. Among the pictures was one of two students indulging in some extracurricular activity. Apparently the shots were taken remotely by a camera fixed to the top of a long pole, giving the lensman no idea of exactly what was going on in the frame. If SpeedDeck was so inclined, the photo might make an appropriate ad for its new zip-up roofing system.

Word reaches me that the chaps at QS firm RLF have a hidden identity. They've hired the James Bond exhibition at London's Science Museum for a corporate bash, and sent out invitations telling guests about their "mission": no doubt to check that they're paying the right price for their building while having sex with impossibly beautiful women and killing people. Hmm … Bond posed as a naval officer in You Only Live Twice and an investment banker in Tomorrow Never Dies, but you know, this is the first time I've heard of him going undercover as a QS.

Is the construction team at developer Hammerson suffering something of a curse? Following the broken leg sustained by construction director Geoff Wright, it appears that Wright's trusted number two, Vinod Thakrar, chipped a bone in his ankle while making an attempt to show off his football skills to his son's friends. I hear there are now permanent ambulances placed at Hammerson sites in case of future incidents.

A murky business
Word reaches me of one of the more bizarre contract wins of the year from regeneration specialist Tamdown. The firm, which assesses brownfield land, is assisting Sussex police in the hunt for the murderer of Mick Willard, a local businessman who was killed on 10 January. Tamdown will be searching a landfill site for clues.

Tackling the opposition

For those of you worried about breaking the ice with a new colleague, here’s a good example of work bonding. Carillion chief executive John McDonough and his trusted spinmeister John Denning discovered a shared passion soon after McDonough started his job in 2001: rugby league. The pair found they were particularly enamoured with Wigan’s 1970s legend Billy Boston – a powerful winger who, depending on his inclination, would run either around or through his opponents with ease. I wonder which technique McDonough prefers when tackling his rivals? f John McDonough interview, pages 26-27