Our intrepid correspondent dodges gas explosions, endures Trust Mark's reality TV performance and braves breakfast with the indomitable Tony Pidgle

Watch the ratings soar!

Hot on the heels of Celebrity Big Brother's success comes another house full of unpredictable events and non-stop action … the House of TrustMark. This is a home in Ealing, west London, that was taken over by construction minister Alun Michael, TrustMark chief executive Chris Blythe (right) and a whole team of tradespeople for the mark's consumer launch. Television crews followed the action from the house all day as the assorted handymen undertook all manner of repairs in a bid to raise public awareness of the scheme, which in intended to help the public find pukka builders. Hopefully Michael had more success getting his message across to the public than his erstwhile colleague George ‘the Cat' Galloway did.

Anyone need a job?

News reaches me that Multiplex is still having difficulty recruiting a deputy managing director to help Martin Tidd. Apparently the firm talking several promising candidates but, because of the losses the firm could face over Wembley, the job has been a bit of a tough sell. This situation is particularly annoying for Tidd, as apparently he can't step up to the post of chief operating officer until a deputy is in place.


Matrix Heritage got more than it bargained for when it took on the restoration of a grade II-listed residential property in Hertfordshire. Unfortunately for Matrix, I hear the owner was one Stelio Stefanou, chief executive of consultant Accord and a knowledgeable and exacting client. Too exacting for Matrix, it would seem, as
Mr Stefanou has just launched legal proceedings against them in the Technology and Construction Court …

Don't panic

Sparks flew at the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association annual lunch at Lord's cricket ground last Friday. A gas explosion at a construction site opposite the ground forced guests had to battle their way past a number of cordons to get into the function. But it could easily have been more dramatic. An email circulated by Lords' head of security warned staff: "If necessary you will be notified in person and by loud speaker that we are evacuating the ground. There is no need to panic, even if you hear an explosion." Great advice for a gathering of gas engineers …

Grilled breakfast

Never let it be said that Tony Pidgley is one to miss an opportunity. The colourful Berkeley chief executive was in fine form at the Movers & Shakers breakfast meeting last Thursday, where he introduced guest speaker Ken Livingstone. If the mayor looked a little drained by the time he got up to speak, it may be explained by the fact that, as he recounted in his speech, Pidgley had been grilling him over his scrambled eggs about the 20 Berkeley planning applications that are currently stuck in the system …

Truly multidisciplinary

I hear Whitbybird has gone into publishing by mistake. The engineer designed and printed an attractive 2.5 m long poster of the 41 tallest buildings in the world by 2010, together with a map of their location, and stuck it in the window of their Newman street headquarters in London. This prompted members of the public to stride in and demand their own copy, as a result of which the firm has started knocking them out at £25 a time … anyone interested can drop an email to london@whitbybird.com.