Jason Millett dodges the rumour mongers (even though they’re just trying to find him a job), Olympic heavyweights slug it out for the title, and we have a new contender for the world’s tallest building

Millett and the rumour mill

I hear that Jason Millett is getting a little sick of being linked to every job in town. So far, the former UK chief of Bovis Lend Lease has been connected to high-profile posts at Amec, a property developer based in northern England, and a role in a venture with his old colleagues Les Chatfield and John Anderson. Without wishing to make Millett feel even more fed up with idle press speculation, I couldn’t help but notice that Scottish contractor Barr has been looking for a new chief executive for a couple of months …

Clash of the titans: part I

As industry heavyweight Ray O’Rourke was busy presenting Laing O’Rourke and Mace’s case for winning the title of Olympic delivery partner, speculation was growing that the equally weighty Riley Bechtel had secretly flown to London to give his backing to his firm’s presentation team. With the Westminster rumour mill in overdrive about Bechtel’s links to John Prescott and the Treasury, though, Riley may want to lie low in order to fend off any more damaging conflict-of-interest claims against the government.

Clash of the titans: this time it’s personal

Still on the subject of sporting chances (although Riley, Ray and the other 2012 bidders might want to look away now), it seems Multiplex is set to miss the revised September deadline to complete Wembley. And its client, patience worn razor-thin by delays and drama, has finally reached the end of its tether. Press release wars erupted early this week with both parties blaming each other. But how long will it be before the statements morph into writs and the phoney war escalates into a legal one? Wembley National Stadium Limited chairman Mike Jeffries can’t hold back his angry board for much longer, can he?

Dundee is not enough
Credit: Scott Garrett

Dundee is not enough

They’ve got skyscrapers that pierce clouds, manmade islands shaped like the countries of the world … hell, they’re even twinned with Dundee, yet still the powers that be in Dubai want more. Work on what will become the world’s tallest tower – the Burj Dubai – is under way, but already hush-hush plans for a tower about twice its height are on the drawing board. UK-based engineers have been approached to work up the plans. Measurements might prove tricky, however, since nobody knows how tall the Burj Dubai will be. Emaar, its developer, is apparently so concerned that its beanpole building will be overtaken by a rival that it has kept the height a closely guarded secret.

Twisting in the wind

Atkins isn’t the first consultant that has found it tricky to adjust to local customs while working abroad. But it might be the first that was ordered by a client to employ a feng shui expert for a Hong Kong wind turbine – to make sure it did not disrupt the harmony of its environment, you understand. “We wouldn’t have minded,” says one disgruntled senior source. “But from our point of view, it would have been better to agree that it needed to point in the direction of the wind.”

High-visibility sideburns

You will no doubt be delighted to read that the building I designed back in 1834, Birmingham Town Hall, is being refurbished (page 30). But upon my inspection of the site, I couldn’t help noticing how much the construction industry has changed in recent times. Site managers at contractor Wates insisted that I don a high-visibility vest and boots and, although these kept me nice and safe, they wreaked havoc with my top hat and frock coat.

Somebody has to learn to share