Construction has come over all drama and intrigue, it seems. We therefore invite you, ladies and gentlemen, to a cloak and dagger meeting, a masked party and a duelling lesson. Don’t forget your wigs

Northern exposure

Unlike the kids in Scooby Doo, consultant White Young Green has never revealed the figure behind last year’s mysterious – and unsuccessful – takeover approach. At the time, Building reported that it was Dutch company Arcadis. This was met with strong denials all round. But news has reached me of a swanky dinner held in Leeds (home of WYG) in the run-up to last summer’s mystery bid. As well as the visiting Dutch ambassador, I’m told four members of the Arcadis board were over from Holland. Now, Leeds is a fine city, but if the Arcadis top brass weren’t there to see WYG one might wonder why they made the trip. Can our Yorkshire-based readers please enlighten us as to its appeal to Dutch people?

Wallflower of Scotland

I applaud the Scottish Building Federation for the worthy aim, stated on its website, “to ensure that the important contribution of the Scottish construction industry to Scotland’s economy and society is recognised and valued”. But how important it is appears to be open to debate, because on another page of the site, it says “it is difficult to underestimate the importance of the industry in Scotland”. This is surely taking modesty a bit too far.

Well, that proves it

Although it’s gratifying to see how highly this journal is esteemed by our industry I did raise a sceptical eyebrow at the reaction to our timber-frame fire story in last week’s issue (analysed further overleaf). The UK Timber Frame Association used our story to support its pro-timber campaign, saying on its website that Building was right that the industry needed to co-operate to improve fire safety. Yet strangely, its rival British Precast also seized on the article, which it said supported its opposite claim, which was that multistorey timber-framed developments should be banned in urban areas. A classic case of only seeing what you want to …

Facing the facts

Dean Walton is the sales and marketing director for cladding specialist Alumet. He also has a sideline in facades of a very different kind: Dean has launched a business that makes masks from photographs. You send a pic, be it of celebrity, friend, or perhaps boss, to and the company will run off a handmade mask of the face. Alumet will make masks for the first three Building readers to email – for free. (Please write “Building reader offer” in the subject heading.) Just think, you could attend your work Christmas party disguised as the construction minister Ian Lucas … or even somebody that people have heard of.

Hair-raising stunts

Receiving marketing svengali Steve Edge’s email newsletter has always been a surreal experience. Edge, who has worked for a number of well known firms, including Gleeds, styles his missives “weekly wisdom” and has treated readers to videos such as “man catches Ferrari”, in which Steve reels in a sports car using a fishing rod. But his latest offering has moved into a new dimension of oddness. It features a video of Steve in a long auburn wig discussing the phrase “keep your hair on”. It stems, he claims, from the days of duelling when, just before drawing pistols (at dawn, obviously) each opponent would remove his hairpiece. True trivia or a tale fishier than the seagoing Ferrari? We may never know, but a bigger mystery is what relevance it has to Edge’s marketing work …

Spot the deliberate mistakes

A press release I received from BAM last week came as a breath of fresh air. The firm deliberately erected some dodgy scaffolding and asked staff to spot the errors. thereby providing a good safety lesson for all those on the York university site. This positive publicity for the scaffolding industry is rare indeed, as anyone who types “scaffolding” into Google News will see: the catalogue of calamities is quite staggering.