Amey indulges in a little editing, a Railtrack man earns what could only be an extracurricular MBE, and BRE aims to make flying more comfortable …
Said our Coventry spokesman
Former Amey boss Brian Staples is being airbrushed from history after resigning last week. A few days before Christmas, the firm sent out a press release about its new £20m City Academy in Middlesbrough. "This project provides an opportunity for the company to contribute to innovation and leadership in learning and is a strong signal of our commitment to supporting public services in Middlesbrough and the North-east," Staples was quoted as saying.

This week, Amey's PR people sent the release again, headed up with the following request, highlighted in blue: "PLEASE REPLACE 'Brian Staples, chief executive of Amey Plc, said' with 'An Amey spokesperson said'.

General knowledge specialist
I must pass on my congratulations to Building columnist Jonathan Meades for his victory in Celebrity Mastermind, shown on BBC2 on 30 December. Meades beat the esteemed trio of Vic Reeves, Janet Street Porter and Adam Hart-Davis in the vintage quiz. But it was fortunate that Meades did so well in the general knowledge section, because he answered just nine questions correctly in two minutes on his specialist subject, English architecture 1850-2002.

Recycling centres
Housebuilders have been getting into recycling in recent years. Office blocks have been recycled as flats, and old warehouses have been recycled as trendy lofts. Now I hear one urban developer has gone a stage further and recycled its sales centre. The West End Quay development, in London's Paddington Basin, was put on the market two years ago with the help of a £500,000 steel and glass structure that even contained its own cafe. Now the developers, a consortium of Rialto Homes, ING, Westcity Properties and Wates, have flogged the centre itself to Crest Nicholson. It will be dismantled and transported to Birmingham, where it will be used to promote Crest Nicholson's Park Central scheme.

Follow the leader
Harry Handelsman, the charming chairman of Manhattan Loft Corporation, is moving home. The man who brought loft living to London is understood to be selling his penthouse flat at Bankside Lofts, the Piers Gough-designed tower next to Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge on the south bank of the Thames. Property pundits will be watching with interest to see where Handelsman goes next: when he built Bankside Lofts, that particular part of London was something of a no-go area. Now it's a trendy urban quarter and Harry, who recently became a proud father, will no doubt be taking his family to the next hot spot.

Return of Roman Briton
Christmas was a time for more comings and goings among construction analysts. Over the festive period, former Credit Lyonnais Securities and Robert Fleming analyst – and one-time Building business editor – Alistair Stewart joined Seymour Pierce after six months brushing up his Italian in Rome. Stewart will step into Leslie Kent's shoes, who himself made the switch to stockbroker JM Finn late last year.

That's M Bee E
What's this I see in the New Year's Honours List? A certain Michael Badger, commercial manager on Railtrack's West Coast Main Line modernisation programme, has been awarded an MBE. That doesn't sound right: as any regular rail traveller will know, the West Coast upgrade is years behind schedule and billions over budget. But on closer reading, I notice that Mr Badger's gong has nothing to do with his work on the railways – instead, it is for his services to the British beekeeping industry. Badger, it transpires, is a former president and chairman of the British Beekeepers Association.

Join the survivalists
Could you cope after a disaster? That is the question posed by my friends at charity RedR, the register of engineers for disaster relief. The RedR Challenge, to be held on 5 and 6 July, will pit industry teams against each other in a simulated disaster relief situation, testing physical endurance, communication ability and, er, construction skills. It's all for a good cause, and the minimum entry contribution is £1500. For details, email

Hold the pumpkin
It seems my Christmas quiz (20 December) was a little too challenging for you, dear readers. If you recall, I asked you to identify eight industry figures living it up at architect Marks Barfield's masked ball. Unfortunately, nobody has managed a correct answer and I still have three £25 drinks vouchers to give away. I have therefore decided to extend the deadline and offer the following clue: "Moustachio'd Marco". Answers to by Friday 17 January.

High-flying materialists

Since being sold off by the government, Building Research Establishment has been keen to spread its wings – so it has bought itself a plane. The research and testing organisation hopes the purchase of the front end of an Airbus A380 will help make it the leading centre for testing aircraft interiors in Europe. It’s all a long way from the organisation’s traditional role as a tester of bricks and beams, but the boffins at Garston are clearly aiming for higher things. They’ve quietly dropped the “B” word from their headed notepaper and now go by the zippier title BRE.