Broken promises and cancelled parties this week – but at least Building’s Christmas Pub Olympics was there to put people in a festive mood …

Slave for you

Now that Stanhope’s Peter Rogers has confirmed that he’s stepping down as chairman of Constructing Excellence, he may find a little time to fulfil a promise he made at his company’s Christmas ball. As part of the charity auction, Rogers put himself up to be a slave for a day – a prize that ductwork contractor Dave Hotchkiss paid thousands of pounds to win. However, since then I hear Rogers hasn’t exactly been chomping at the bit to keep his promise. So, come on Peter … it’s time to do your time!

That’s a wrap

As you will be aware, waiting for planning permission to get building work started on one of your sites can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. The boys at developer Rutland have come up with a star-studded, action-packed way of making some cash on their site in Surrey, which they intend to eventually transform into a sustainable village. In the meantime, they have been hiring out the land – currently an airfield complete with Boeing 747 – to film companies. Flicks such as Batman Returns and The Da Vinci Code were shot on the site, and if you see the latest Bond film, Casino Royale, look carefully at the scenes set at Miami Airport ... all is not as it seems.

Fit for purpose

A lot of fuss greeted the news that the aquatics centre for the London Olympics in 2012 had to be redesigned after it went twice over its £75m budget. However, sources involved with Zaha Hadid’s initial design say it was done specifically to help London win the Olympics and everybody involved knew that the final project would be smaller and cheaper.

Christmas spirits
Credit: Tim Foster

Christmas spirits

With just one week to go until Building’s Christmas edition, complete with our annual Crimbo stunt, here is a sneak preview of proceedings from this year’s festivities, which took the form of a Christmas Pub Olympics. Teams of contractors, architects (including HLM Architect’s Chris Liddle, captured in full swing above), QSs and Building columnists battled it out in our local pub in various bar sports, including table football, pool, karaoke and a general knowledge quiz. To find out who the gold medal winners were, and for a full Olympic report, see next week’s Building – and, if you can’t wait that long, log on to for more snaps.

Frankie’s comeback

Who would have realised that last week’s Home Builders Federation ball would prove to be so irresistible? The event’s usual toastmaster, Frank Manning, had retired to Spain, but the Home Builders Federation achieved what none of his other former clients could: it persuaded Frank to come out of retirement for one last hurrah. He flew over to toast a rather teary-eyed set of housebuilders.

Bah, humbug!

Christmas cheer and goodwill seems to be lacking at the Chartered Institute of Builders this year. Every December the institute’s London region division and Pre-Construction Society hold a dinner to raise money for charity, and each year it has a celebrity guest. The flyers

duly went out for this year’s event but the powers that be at the CIOB, unhappy with the way they’d been designed, told all their members that the event was cancelled.

This will come as a surprise to everybody who attended last Friday, including host Andrew Pelling MP, who raised about £5,500 on the night.