Another week in the life of construction, complete with a cast of strikers, pilots, rock stars, the Queen and, of course, a transvestite sculptor
The news from the BBC
I limped along to White City on a crippled Central line this week to have a shufti at the BBC's Allies and Morrison-designed offices. Glad I did, too, because the Beeb had generously taken wads of licence payers' cash and blown it on a wild party, attended by a flock of celebs, their white-liveried flunkies, neon lambs and bales of genuine straw. The best moment came when scores of tiny parachutes descended on startled partygoers. This was not, it emerged, an al-Qaeda attack; rather, the chutes contained little plastic men with messages about the history of White City tied to them by means of a rubber band.
Fun and informative.

Hold page 96!
While rather dishevelled at the BBC bash, I bumped into a charming fellow in a dress who turned out to be the Turner prize-winning potter, Grayson Perry. During the course of a fascinating discussion about Victorian cultural morality, I cunningly turned the conversation to more weighty construction-related matters, thereby coming up with the following scoop: Grayson Perry's favourite building is Burgos Cathedral in northern Spain. The editor will be pleased …

Fly Air Gleeds
QS firm Gleeds has found a unique way of proving how multidisciplinary they really are with their latest marketing wheeze. We hear that all guests attending the Gleeds Manchester 50th anniversary bash will be able to enter the gift draw – first prize being flight around the North-west courtesy of Gleeds employee Adrian Walton, a former pilot with easyJet. Some wags at the company have wondered whether, in true budget airline fashion, Gleeds will ask guests to bring their own fish-finger sandwiches and bottles of Tizer for onboard refreshment.

Cometh the hour …
Construction on the box, part 637. Do you want to join the rapidly expanding band of builders-turned-television-stars? A Channel 4 series is being planned called The Building Project (where do they keep coming up with these snappy titles?), which will train youngsters and then put their skills to the test on a six-month refurbishment of a London flat. It needs an experienced project manager who can "motivate, instruct, discipline and keep to tight deadlines". So that rules out most of you then (only joking). If you're interested, ring Marc Bassett on 020-7684 1661 or email

Trouble downt’ terminal

The jaws of the men were clenched. Their eyes had narrowed to mere slits. They were resolved to ballot on a strike at the biggest construction project in Europe: the mighty Heathrow Terminal 5 … but then the cry went out: “Where’s Mr Corby? Where’s Mr Corby?”

Nay, never fear lad, said one of the old-timers, putting a horny hand on the youngster’s shoulder. “Paul’s looking out for us.” True enough. The Amicus man was at that moment locked in tough talks with the bosses’ lackies at the Electrical Contractors Association. At their annual conference. Over a few beers. Near a beach. In the Algarve …