Housebuilder Telford Homes' summer party offered the chance to mingle with some famous guests, including Kylie Minogue and James Dean. As you may have suspected, the venue was Madame Tussauds, where one of the biggest attractions is presently the chance to "Do the Jonny", that is, to kick a conversion alongside England rugby player Jonny Wilkinson. Sadly, Telford's guests didn't get the chance. Madame Tussauds' staff seem to have decided the combination of fragile waxworks, the building industry, alcohol and an oh-so-tempting missile wasn't a good one …
The dampbuster busted
Every budding author knows the importance of a decent book review. Mike Parrett, television star and scourge of the dampproofing industry, is no exception. So when Mike found that his RICS book Diagnosing Damp was warmly reviewed by top building surveyor Professor Malcolm Hollis, he posted the entire review on his website, www.dampbuster.com. The trouble is, I hear, that Hollis claims never to have read the book, much less written a review of it. My friends at the RICS tell me that it was in fact a dummy page proof on the RICS Business magazine. Still, it's such a good review, is it any wonder Mike is reluctant to remove it?
Lunching with wolves
I hear Gleeds' move from its Victorian pile in Regent Street to trendy premises in New Cavendish Street – down the road from key client the BBC – has proved a mixed blessing. Staff at the consultant's august client have discovered its in-house cafe, "Gusto", is not only rather good but also highly subsidised. Suddenly BBC staff seem to be taking over the new deli bar. "We now call it 'Gutso'," says my source.
An embarrassing display
A colleague was waiting to be taken round Arup Associates' latest building in Fenchurch Street in the City when he spotted a display next to reception. Taking a closer look he was surprised to see it showed designs by Richard Rogers Partnership for a scheme in nearby Leadenhall Street for the same client. So was Arup pleased to have created a home for a rival's model project? "Erm, it's a bit unfortunate," was the diplomatic response.
One last thing
If you're looking for a reason to be cheerful about working in construction, remember your bosses have to import workers rather than exporting your job. I mention this because Building's West Sussex correspondent draws my attention to the 165 posts that are being axed from American Express' office in Burgess Hill – 123 of which are to go to New Delhi. Staff became acutely aware of this when they turned up for work to discover an extra chair by their desks: it seems that some were being asked to train their Indian replacements before taking delivery of their P45s. Amex said this would ensure a "smooth transfer of responsibilities", which is, I suppose, true as far as it goes …
Enemies on every platform
I hear Network Rail boss John Armitt, who was reported as pocketing a £100,000 bonus, is feeling the burden of looking after our decrepit railways. The former Costain chief now has to employ two bodyguards to protect him from furious commuters who harangue him over the late running 6:53 to Sturminster Newton. Or perhaps from contractors whose work is being brought in house or consultants whose staff are poached by the (soon to be renationalised?) rail client. I'm not sure which is worse.