In the building industry this week we find tidings of joy, hustle and bustle at train stations, cosy quilts, lots of presents and a fun quiz. Um … it is July, isn’t it?

A question of rank

London cabbies have a reputation as the voice of authority on everything from nifty u-turns to immigration policy. But John Siraut, economist at Paddington-based transport consultant Colin Buchanan, has discovered they are also a useful arbiter of the state of the economy. Rather than leafing through the latest RICS report in search of “green shoots”, Siraut peers out of the window to look at the taxi queue at the station. When things are really bad and customers are few, they can go all the way to the horizon. This week, Siraut is upbeat. “The queue isn’t too bad today,” he noted.

That quilty feeling

Architects express their creativity through a wide range of mediums, but have they ever before collaborated with a quilt-maker? Well, we have. In February we received a request from keen Texan quilter Martha DeLeonardis who asked if she could base her quilt design on a picture Building published in April 1967 of Houston Astrodome. Martha completed the quilt in time for the 2009 Houston International Quilt Festival and kindly sent us a picture of her finished article. To see the artwork, which features a new technique called turned-edge fabric weaving that replicates acrylic windows, go to Meanwhile, if you are an architect and have indeed worked in the medium of quilt, let us know.

Shop-a-Hill-ics Anonymous

They say the entrepreneurial American spirit can turn anything into a sales opportunity. So it is good to see US consultant Hill International driving up revenue through its website, which offers more than project wins and employee biographies. At you will find the dedicated “Hill Store” where you can buy polo shirts, sweaters, mugs, umbrellas and hard hats – all branded with the Hill logo. That’s Christmas sorted then.

Make-ing babies

There must be something in the air. Not only has Chris Candy, the elder of the property developer brothers, announced his engagement to girlfriend Emily Crompton, but we can also reveal his erstwhile architect of choice – at least on Noho Square – Ken Shuttleworth is soon to swap sketching buildings for changing nappies. Yes, the Make architect founder and wife Claire, known in architectural circles as the communications supremo for HOK, are expecting their first baby in the autumn. Congratulations to all. Whoever said Building never prints good news?

Land ahoy

Tony Pidgley, the managing director (soon to be chairman) of Berkeley Group, has found a novel approach to further his company’s quest for and – issuing an appeal to prospective sellers in the back of a sailing publication.

However, rather than entice readers of Yachting Monthly, Pidgley published the call to arms in a booklet distributed to guests at Berkeley’s charity sailing day last week. The sage of Berkeley will be hoping for better luck in his search for terra firma than some of his firm’s crews – particularly those that narrowly avoided being sunk by a cargo ship off the Portsmouth coast …

Finger on the button

Delegates arriving at EDF’s suppliers day in Hammersmith last Tuesday could be forgiven for thinking they had gone to the wrong event. Security men kitted out with ear-pieces at the doors made it feel more like a presidential meeting than a business conference. Clearly, these nuclear chaps take themselves more seriously than your average client. Once inside, attendees were asked to answer a series of questions by pushing buttons on a hand-held device à la Who Wants to be a Millionaire? A tribute to Chris Tarrant or something more sinister? Consider: they have your fingerprints now …