This week, six builders take a class act to the Edinburgh Fringe, a contractor does business the family way and an architect takes a road less travelled
Edinburgh's cheeky boys
Watch out for a new comic sensation at the Edinburgh Fringe this month: an all-singing, all-dancing gang of builders plumbing the comic potential of the site tea break, the cantankerous foreman and the builder's crack. "Cheek" is construction's answer to The Full Monty, a review put together by South Wales musician and electrical engineer Ian Luther. After holding auditions à la Pop Idol for "performers with building experience", Ian has assembled a cast of a carpenter, a bricklayer, a landscaper and "an actor waiting for his big building break" to deliver an evening of slapstick comedy, crazy games and, of course, "ingenious tool percussion".

Those who appreciate, as I do, the aesthetic genius of Carry On will be gibbering with joy at the prospect of singalongs such as "Builder's Bum", "Wheelbarrow Waltz", "Drinking Tea" and the gospel classic "Jesus was a Carpenter".

After slaying Edinburgh, the show begins a glittering 45-date tour of Clacton, Minehead and Porthcawl, sponsored by none other than Toilet Hire (UK). To support our boys, see

Reverse ferret!
My colleagues on the news desk were champing at the bit last week after receiving a copy of a letter sent out to trade contractors by Bovis Lend Lease, the construction manager on the £400m redevelopment of the BBC's Broadcasting House headquarters.

The letter, from project director Colin Small, included the following sentence: "As a result of a strategic decision by the BBC, this project will be now cancelled". This sounded like dynamite news – especially given that about £50m-worth of work had been done on the scheme. A few phone calls later, however, and the story changed slightly. The letter was about a switch from a construction management contract to a fixed-price deal.

What a dump
I see a rather splendid property is now on the market courtesy of David McAlpine, director of blue-blooded family firm Sir Robert McAlpine. According to The Sunday Times, he is selling his grade II-listed Fawley House pad, near Henley, after 20 years residence. McAlpine has put some effort into sprucing up the property, commissioning architect Quinlan Terry to remodel the front of the Georgian pile. It has eight bedrooms, a cinema room and comes with no less than 35 acres of land. Any takers?

Theory of relativity
I have discovered a new way of attracting skills to the industry – persuading all your family members to join your firm. North-east-based M&M Plasline informs me that, of its 100-strong workforce, more than half are related to someone else in the company, from no less than 24 families. Managing director Michael O'Connell informs me that when relatives see how happy their loved ones are at the firm they "want a piece of the action".

Life’s rich journey

Retirement used to mean a slap on the back and a gold watch, but these are clearly scant rewards to architect John Worthington. The founding director of global practice DEGW and one-man architectural think-tank is celebrating his retirement by hiking from his London home in Highgate to his weekend house at Laxfield, in Suffolk, where he is due to arrive on Saturday 9 August, the day after his 65th birthday. Worthington has divided the journey of over 100 miles journey into 15 leisurely stages, which allows him to "reflect on the richness of past experiences and the opportunities ahead".