Rok rocks, Cyril Sweett hits eBay and descriptions of Amec and Alan Lovell prove elusive. At least you know where you are with building control …

Always trust a journalist

It would seem that the departure of Jarvis' chief executive Alan Lovell may be imminent. His planned farewell in March never happened and all has been quiet at the Jarvis camp since then. That was until one of my colleagues received a phone call from a hapless young man in search of a character reference. "I was hoping to get your opinion on someone who is up for a very senior role at a big company," said said individual. "It's Alan Lovell and I saw that you've written about him before so I wanted to get your opinion." My colleague nonchantly enquired after the identity of the company and whether it was a member of the construction industry. "I don't know; for some reason it's shrouded in secrecy," came the reply. Good idea to call a journalist then …

Northwich-based megafirm?

Amec has its fingers in so many pies that it's difficult to work out what it is. Contractor? Not any more. Support services firm? Well, they do more than just that. International construction, support services and programme management outfit? Bit of a mouthful. Luckily the US newswire Bloomberg has solved the problem. "They still call us a Northwich-based builder," grumbles one Amec insider. "It's not quite what we're looking for."

The JCT Code

I hear consultant Cyril Sweett's next megadeal will take place through the auction website eBay. The company plans next week to auction a signed copy of the thrillingly titled - wait for it - JCT 2005 What's New? penned by James Davison, a partner at the Sweett. My sources assure me that the book is already a bestseller and that Cyril Sweett, ever the cost conscious consultant, reckons that having the Davison scrawl on the title page is a sure way of surpassing the £39.95 retail price. Well, it works for Dan Brown. I should mention that the firm promises to give all proceeds to charity.

A pun overdone

You could almost smell the testosterone at investment bank Numis Securities' conference last week. First there was a spot of good-natured rivalry as Frank Nelson, finance director at Galliford Try, spied Garvis Snook, chief executive of ROK, the company that failed to buy Galliford two years ago. "If they had got us it would have been a real steal," he opined. "But no hard feelings." Snook took a slightly different approach in his presentation, advising delegates that they were "about to be rocked", before playing a slide show extolling the virtues of Rok, accompanied by Status Quo's Rockin' All Over the World. Erm, apparently it's got something to do with the care that Rok takes of its clients and staff.

So long, frank Geoff Wright

Hammerson will miss its construction director Geoff Wright when he retires next month - and none more so than chief executive John Richards. Speaking to a roomful of the great and good, gathered to wish Wright well, Richards said: "I'm extremely glad that I wasn't in all those hard meetings with you - and Geoff was." Wright then added his own epitaph to 37 years as one of the hardest clients in the business. "I never realised I had so many friends who were QSs," he mused.

No excuses, but …

It had to happen one day - Building has lost a pool challenge. My colleagues inform me there are reasons but no excuses as to why the hacks lost seven frames to six to social housing group Connaught. So roll on the summer and roll on the cricket. Any takers? Email your cricket challenges to

Building control never sleeps

Last week's Local Authority Building Control president's inauguration bash took Building to Kensington Roof Gardens in west London. Despite being a tad too cold to linger long, Building ventured outside for a spot of fresh air only to find several LABC officers huddled together discussing the merits of the safety features on the roof. It seems that you can take the officers out of the building but you can't take the building out of the officers.

"Sorry everyone - the bar's closed. One of your colleagues has found a safety problem in the service area ..."

Credit: Colin Wheeler