This week, EC Harris’ great and good get the hump, a DTI delegation gets the brush-off, and some overstressed consultants get a nice rubdown

Harris of Arabia

A camel hides nervously behind a group of white-kneed Englishman … it can only be photographic evidence of the EC Harris weekend conference in Dubai earlier this month. Apparently, the company’s top brass, including chairman Richard Clare (centre), and, from left, partners Mark Prior, Hamlin Hunter, Brian Harris and Ignacio Menendez-Pidal, had lagged behind on a group excursion and hired the beasts as a cunning means of catching up. The things you can do with an expense account …

Hands-on leadership

When the going gets tough for staff at Trident Building Consultancy, the tough get massaged. Trident director Roger Watts tells me that a masseur visits the firm’s offices once a month to knead backs and raise staff morale. “He’s a nice guy, actually,” says Watts. “At first I thought it was a bit odd having my body rubbed by a bloke, but it’s actually quite relaxing.”

A poet and she didn’t ... realise

Construction’s female contingent enjoyed a chance to dominate an industry gathering last week at the annual Chicks with Bricks get together, held at the top of the Swiss Re building. Speaker Sarah Ebanja, who leads the £700m Arsenal development in Islington, was one guest clearly excited by the opportunity, as her

rabble-rousing speech showed. “I’m not so much a chick with a brick, as a hen with a pen,” the council leader began, before realising she could go further. “I’m also a bitch with a pitch, but I’ll always be a tart with a heart.” If construction fails her, at least she has poetry to fall back on.

Just can’t say goodbye

My spies tell me that Jarvis boss Alan Lovell has assured clients, funders, banks and so on that he is definitely staying on until March. He is due to stand down at the end of the financial year, but speculation was starting to mount that he might leave a bit earlier once he had overseen the sale of some of Jarvis’ subsidiaries …

Infamy, infamy

Constructing Excellence’s junior wing, G4C, enjoyed an excellent turnout at its (Indian) summer party last Thursday, and it was good to see members of Building’s newly formed graduate advisory panel out on the town. Fortunately, the fame has yet to go to their heads, although apparently cover star Carolina Lameiras recently had an uncomfortable Tube journey home when she found herself sat opposite a reader engrossed in the issue in question – cue much staring and excited pointing from fellow travellers.

Just some old biddy left ove from yesterday

Just some old biddy left ove from yesterday

High-rise haughtiness

It’s been an exciting week at east London’s Holden Point high-rise sheltered housing block. As if a visit from the Queen and Lord Coe to the tower’s Olympic site viewing platform were not enough, the next day the occupants were treated to a DTI and CITB-ConstructionSkills delegation to mark the end of National Construction Week. One elderly resident, however, seemed less than impressed. Having eventually been coaxed into sharing a lift with the DTI delegation, all enquiries into her dealings with Her Majesty fell on deaf ears. A dignified silence or just ennui at the level of celebrity on offer?