for Cushman & Wakefield

I set off to meet Cushman & Wakefield with the shocking revelations from the RICS young surveyors’ ball ringing in my ears. The prospect of having a pint with a gang of young surveyors is, frankly, intimidating.

Fortunately, none of them are drunk when I arrive. “Don’t worry, we’re not going to kick off,” reassures Will.

“The RICS ball, the Matrics ball?” asks Keval, somewhat hazily. “It wasn’t that bad …”

But what about the furniture throwing, what about the nudity?

“Oh yeah! There was a fire! It was a really, really good night,” he recalls.

But you didn’t remember it until now? “I was too hammered.”

He tries to backpedal: “Actually, I was only told about the fire …” The conversation moves on to Cushman & Wakefield’s competitors, who were of course up to a lot worse.

“DTZ?” says Gerald. “Dead Trembling Zombies?” His younger colleagues are shocked.

“I’m allowed to say that because I’m grumpy and I’ve been here years,” he explains.

“And he’s got another source of income,” interjects Will.

Gerald is a keen and successful poker player, as it happens. His biggest single win was £12,000 back in March and his next goal is to compete in the World Series in Las Vegas in July. Too bad it costs $10,000 to enter.

You don’t win that kind of money by napping – Gerald sleeps only four hours a night and answers his emails while watching baseball at 4am.

He also plays a lot of online poker and claims it gives him the edge in business dealings. “A couple of times I’ve met people and walked away. I wouldn’t trust them as far as I can spit. Later on, people who did work with them have got stuffed. Lie detectors are OK, but there’s nothing to beat cold, hard, gut feelings.”

At that point, the gut feeling of the table is that they all, as one man, need peanuts.

It’s not strictly in the contract, but Building makes an exception – we don’t want them turning nasty. Dry roasted all round? Disappointment for Daffyd – they don’t do cashews – and Keval is wracked with indecision, but he finally opts for cheese-and-onion crisps as well. There’s a slick of snacks covering the table.

Gerald goes outside to take a tortuous London-Milan-New York conference call, and gets hit in the face by a suspected shoplifter running from a police community support officer. That’s extreme consultancy.

“When I was in the army, I was good at problem-solving under fire,” he says. “There’s no hiding your personality when you’re under fire,” comments Will sagely.

“I’ve seen the best of people, the worst of people, the dark side of humanity,” continues Gerald.

The conversation turns to crime. Will says a guy called Alan in the office was conned into accepting a watch from a man in the street as security for a £20 loan.

“He waited around in the office until seven o’clock for the guy to ring him.” He didn’t call, so Alan has a new watch. “He says, ‘It’s a nice one, it’s Fila’.”

“He doesn’t even wear a watch usually,” adds Daffyd.

Watering hole: The Three Tuns, behind Selfridges, W1 
Topics: The dark side of humanity and the RICS ball 
Drinks: 6 pints of Guinness Cold, 5 pints of Kronenbourg, 2 bottles of San Miguel, 1 bottle of Corona 
Snacks: 1 bag of salted peanuts, 3 bags of dry roasted peanuts, 1 bag of crisps

Will Cooper senior project manager
Dafydd Hughes senior project manager
Gerald Ringe project manager (too senior to bother shouting about it)
Keval Pankhania building surveyor
Katie Puckett Building