A splendid day out last Friday at Heathrow's nascent Terminal 5, in the course of which some of my colleagues and I were treated to a trip in a Laing O'Rourke transit van. However, as we slowed to take a closer look at some particularly interesting earthworks, the driver of a dumper truck behind us got most upset and sounded his horn. Quick as a flash, John Stent, managing director of the terminal, explained that the driver was "in a rush to get on with his work and earn his bonus". Later on in the tour, however, I was bemused to see the driver and passengers of another dumper truck making a curious gesture resembling the shaking of a saltcellar. I had no idea what this meant, but Stent muttered something about them "all being friends really".
There was relief all round earlier this week as consortium Metronet finally signed its London Underground PPP deal. The consortium's bosses, including Mike Welton of Balfour Beatty and Mike Jeffries of Atkins, were present for mutual backslapping at the announcement.
Rod Hoare, the Metronet boss of bosses, was in particularly bullish mood. Fielding his first question, which asked his response to railway union RMT's opposition to the deal, Hoare immediately blurted: "You must have got this from The Morning Star. Its distribution is 8000 copies – I don't read it." When the hack informed him it was an RMT press release he quietened down somewhat and admitted he "hadn't seen it".
This week's closure of the PPP deal will herald the departure of Roger Shire, the consortiums' chief news manipulator. Shire had always planned to leave once the deal was signed, so he was probably beginning to worry that he had a job for life.
Looking visibly relieved, Shire announced on Monday he would be leaving Britain for the sun and solace of Cyprus – and after 30-plus years in transport PR, who would deny him that? With professional life almost behind him, Shire felt comfortable enough to reveal, in his thick West Country brogue, a piece of his true self. "I'm a bit of a beach bum," he said coyly.
Architect RHWL boasts that its office is a decent place to work. Leafy potted plants and objets d'art abound, and there's no harsh strip-lighting. Employees are encouraged to be individuals rather than black polo-necked CAD monkeys, and egomania is frowned upon. But one Building reporter thought the practice might be taking things a bit too far when she was treated to a stress-relieving massage on her first visit.
It seems public relations sorceress Laura Iloniemi has taken the world of architecture by storm. I hear that her client list has recently expanded to include high-profile architects such as Ian Simpson, MacCormac Jamieson Pritchard and Ushida Findlay. And, on a personal front, I hear she's also netted The Guardian's architecture critic Jonathan Glancey. After a two-month hurricane romance, the word on the industry grapevine is that they're planning to get wed.
As I write, Building is planning a 17-page feature on the big day, and a crack legal team is gearing up for an eye-gouging battle in the High Court after some tawdry snaps appear in Hello! and OK! magazines.