Step forward Fiona Macdonald to collect the Chief Executive of the Year Award

… and the winner of the Construction Industry Personality of the Year goes to Sue Mason … Just how far into the future would a time traveller like Doctor Who need to go to land at the kind of Building Awards where there was nothing exceptional about a woman running a successful construction business?

Ah, just imagine if women ran the industry: safety statistics comparable with an insurance office, projects routinely finished on time and under budget … canteens plates that you could eat your dinner off … Sadly, if the doctor turned up now, he wouldn't know whether he was in 2006 or 1976. He'd find about the same number of women in the trades and the boardrooms; what's different now is that there's a proper row about it. I'm referring, of course, to Ray O'Rourke's Gerald Ratner moment at the British Council for Offices conference in Dublin, at which he said that sites were no place for women.

In his defence, Ray was suggesting that it is pointless pretending we can tackle skills shortages by getting more women into the industry, instead it might be easier to cut the workforce by means of prefabrication. As we said last week, he may be the odd man out in airing these views, but he's not the only person to hold them. And in one sense he does have a point - despite decades of recruitment campaigns, only one in a

100 people working in the trades is a woman. Without going into all the reasons for it, we should acknowledge that the work will never be a glamorous option for many females - or males, for that matter. But one agent of change is the arrival of female clients with zero tolerance of sexist attitudes, and even more encouragingly, the appearance of more sassy, confident women within the industry. Not surprisingly, many of them have been riled and disappointed by Ray's comments - particular since he employed the formidable Denise Kingsmill as a non-executive director for a while. And many of them have written to us to put their views directly. Ray, can we suggest you get out and meet them? As for the Doctor, well he has is own issues with women …

Denise Chevin, editor

Why we need nuclear power

Tony Blair's decision to back nuclear power is the right one for the industry, the UK and the tenants of Planet Earth. The 12 plants we have now supply one-fifth of our electricity, and all but three will be defunct by 2023. We need to act straight away if we are to replace them in time, and it's to the prime minister's credit that he plans to do just that. Although he still has a fight on his hand, not least with his own Sustainable Development Commission, headed by

Sir Jonathon Porritt, there is increasing public acceptance that nuclear is needed, and James Lovelock deals persuasively with many of the arguments in our interview. But that will be the easy part; our political leadership will need to fight much harder to ensure they get delivered. First, the whole thing will depend on private sector money, and that will not be forthcoming if every reactor comes wrapped in a two-year public inquiry, as did Sizewell B. That means addressing planning, streamlining safety regulation and swelling the numbers of the nuclear inspectorate, which will have its hands full decommissioning the last lot.