In the week the Olympics hit town, ministers blame rainy days for construction’s part in the double-dip recession, some super-heroic charity fundraising efforts and NLA’s Peter Murray tells it like it is
Game for a laugh
In case it has escaped the industry’s attention that Atkins is a sponsor of London 2012 – and thus has exclusive rights to promote its involvement in the £6.8bn construction project – the company has re-energised its Olympic marketing campaign. As well as a social media publicity push on Twitter and Facebook, Atkins has distributed a pamphlet showing its staff trying their hand at various Olympic sports. But it is not clear they know exactly what they’re doing. One image shows a man heading a basketball, while another depicts an Atkins staffer holding what appears to be a boxing glove on a stick. Atkins employees would do well to pay attention to the Olympics coverage over the next week to find out what it is they’re actually sponsoring.
Let the Games begin
Continuing the Olympic theme, it was great to see 500 of the men and women involved in building the sporting venues taking part in the opening ceremony last Friday. The construction representatives formed a hard-hatted guard of honour for Sir Steve Redgrave at the entrance to the stadium as he ran in with the Olympic flame. Our man at the event confirmed the atmosphere was “electric” in the Populous-designed and Sir Robert McAlpine-built venue. It seems the whole park is going down well with visitors, including the widely criticised Orbit tower. Tickets for the “melted rollercoaster” of a sculpture, by artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, are sold out for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Games abandoned due to rain?
Much was made of the grim economic figures last week that saw the UK tumble deeper into recession. Construction suffered particularly badly, again, with analysts pointing to the decline in output across the industry as a key driver of the quarterly contraction. In interviews on the economy, ministers, including chancellor George Osborne, were careful to mention the bad weather earlier this year when discussing construction’s travails, without explicitly saying it was to blame. The thought of builders across the country downing tools at the first sign of rain was amusing. Nothing would ever get built.
Sun and games
With the sun finally here, the industry has been out in force to support charitable causes. Ramboll won the running, biking and kayaking CARE Construction Challenge, snatching the title from Bam Nuttall after completing the marathon-length course in three hours, one minute. The teams - which included Enterprise, Mouchel, Fairhurst, Glenigan, Kingspan and Network Rail - made £20,000 for poverty relief charity CARE. A team of 26 Broadway Malyan staff also raised £1,500 for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign in the British 10k race in London.
Funny old game
Perhaps the most random charity effort comes from Russ Pitman, managing director of consultant Henderson Green. He raised £300 for the Hampshire Autistic Society after leaping from the roof of Southampton football club’s St Mary’s Stadium and along a 500ft long zip wire to the other end of the venue - dressed as Mr Incredible from the film The Incredibles. If you can top that in the surreal stakes, let us know.
Murray gets shirty
Just like Building, New London Architecture boss Peter Murray just will not quit in his campaign for firms silenced by the Olympic marketing gag.
Murray (left and inset with RIBA president Angela Brady) attended the government-run British Business Embassy event on creative industries on Monday wearing a T-shirt in tribute to some of the construction firms who have struggled to be heard thanks to the no marketing rights protocol. “These architects and engineers designed the London Olympics” the T-shirt stated, followed by a list of names.
Murray’s protest was even noticed by culture minister Ed Vaizey, who gamely tried on the T-shirt.
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