Once again, his flexible nose, long sticky tongue and powerfully muscled claws enable our diarist to find stories in places other journalists can’t reach

Time in loo
You may recall that Greg Dyke, the former director-general of the BBC, began his tenure at the corporation with a promise to “cut the crap” deposited by his predecessor. If he were still in post, I presume he wouldn’t be too impressed by the Beeb’s 17-man “loo review committee”. This was convened to look into facilities at the refurbished Portland Place premises. According to a Beeb insider I ran into at Gleeds Management Services’ 21st birthday bash, the World Service’s move to Broadcasting House has meant that rooms for ladies, gentlemen and the disabled have had to be supplemented by “multidenominational” facilities, catering for faith-based excretion. Without getting into details, the new loos boast strategically placed shower attachments and water jets. Hansom hopes the signposting is up to scratch, or some lagered-up BBC bosses at the Christmas party might get a surprise …

Talking of crap …
Staying with the crap-cutting theme, I hear that John “four pads” Prescott opened a conference last week on the Thames Gateway. Being the sophisticated political operator that he is, Prezza decided to big up the success of some of the developments that have already taken place. Unfortunately, one example he latched onto was the Excel Centre, the venue for the conference and, according to the big man, “one of London’s busiest venues”. The description caused a little consternation among the delegates – unless one hall in use out of a possible 16 counts as busy.

‘Two Johns’
That said, the fact that Excel was uncluttered made it easier to bump into people, particularly since some of the attendees had chosen to make the conference a family affair. A colleague of mine had the pleasure of not only bumping into regeneration champion John Prescott, but also later on, err, regeneration champion John Prescott. The latter being our esteemed deputy prime minister’s son, in case you were wondering.

The indispensable Everall
The ODPM appears to be having a little trouble convincing people of the fulfilment to be gained from working in its Building Regulations department. Paul Everall has been the safe pair of hands at its helm for the past few years. Paul had planned to tear himself away from the giddy whirl to enjoy a well-deserved retirement in the new year. However, I hear that difficulties in finding a suitable replacement have resulted in his having to postpone these plans for a few months – at least.

One step at a time
I hear that Davis Langdon senior partner Rob Smith has been doing his bit for charity. Word reaches me that Smith splashed out £10,000 in a charity auction for a dance with BBC-news-presenter-cum-ballroom-dancer Natasha Kaplinsky. Perhaps shy of showing off his toe-tapping skills, apparently Smith requested the dance be upgraded to dinner. Good to see he got more for his money.

Packing them in
Packing them in
Could rugby be the solution to construction's skills shortage? Welsh wizard Scott Gibbs started as development manager at Liberty Properties in Swansea in January, and he has been managing a £50m mixed-use complex in Chester and a 50 acre business park in Newport. Another recruit is former England prop Jason Leonard, the most capped player in history. Leonard is reported to have taken up what The Daily Telegraph termed "a senior management role with a construction firm". And given the way Scotland are playing, I can't help thinking there might be more players whose time would be better spent on a site.