A turbulent week as Richard McCarthy delivers a stormy press briefing, a furious homeowner takes his revenge on rogue builders, and abseilers are dropped in to lighten things up a bit …

Settled over a drink

I was intrigued last week by the choice of name for the new company formed by the merger of QS firms Boxall Sayer, Denley King and Fletcher McNeill. Normal practice is to pick a name from each and form the new one, or to abbreviate like mad. Instead, this intrepid trio settled on the entirely

random “Baqus”. Some of my more classically educated colleagues tell me it reminds them of Bacchus, the Greek god of wine. Almost tailor-made for sponsoring the next Matrics ball, surely?

A whirlwind conference

Who would argue with Richard McCarthy, the grandly named director general at the communities department? When a man narrowly escapes the wrath of Hurricane Dean while on holiday in the Caribbean, you might think he would take it easy for a day or two. Not the man from the ministry. His adrenaline still appeared to be pumping at a press briefing last week when he lambasted the assembled hacks for not referring to the organisation soon to be formerly known as Communities England, as “the new homes agency”.

“It is lower case, not upper,” he blasted, before declaring: “I’m rather enjoying this.” Perhaps the next briefing should come with a weather warning attached.

Credit: Scott Garrett

The highs and lows

Architects are often noted for being great creative forces, but not so great when it comes to practical matters. A case in point is the Canary Wharf Underground station in London Docklands. Designed by Lord Foster’s practice, it has been praised by many, but the station’s operator Tube Lines has found that great design comes at a price. “We have to get abseilers in to change the light bulbs,” it tells me.

Penney for your thoughts

Miller Homes is relying on the power of celebrity to make the homes in its Millennium Communities Programme in Yorkshire the greenest around.

The lucky buyers of the housebuilder’s 1,000th home were given a list of top energy-saving tips by none other than TV’s Penney Poyzer, aka the “Queen of Green” (no, we haven’t heard of her either).

Poyzer’s top tips for living sustainably include “if you feel chilly, put on a jumper” and “cut food into smaller pieces”. Maybe Miller was trying to make a deeper point about energy consumption by using a star who’s not exactly, well, bright …

The Germans are coming …

Officially, the battle is still on for the role of contractor on Zaha Hadid’s 2012 Olympics aquatics centre, but the industry rumour mill, as always, thinks it knows better. Word on the street is that German firm Hochtief has stolen a march on rivals Balfour Beatty and Eiffel and will land the contract later this year.

It certainly fits in with Hochtief’s plans to do more work in the UK …

Executed at the scaffold

Rogue builders in Kent beware – there is one homeowner in Sidcup who should definitely not be messed with. The problem arose when a loft conversion on a detached house in the town went awry and another firm was called in to fix things.

The new builders were a tad surprised to find that the irate homeowner was so intent on revenge for the previous botched job that he had hung a sign on the scaffolding outside his home declaring that the firm responsible had “f***ed up our house!” You know who you are …