This week, a tabloid picks its industry stars, builders indulge in a spot of medieval mingling and the Crossrail boss has words with the railway children
And for best wolf-whistle …
Congratulations to "the nation's construction industry elite" after their endeavours were recognised in the Daily Star 's Builders of the Year awards – judged with the help of the Construction Industry Training Board. The Star's top tradesmen include "big-hearted brickie" Mark Horsfall, "muscle-bound" scaffolder Tom Percival and "decorating diva" Angela Gibb, who "never has to gloss over her achievements". It's clear from these epithets that the Star knows excellence when it sees it. So if you want a brilliant builder, forget Constructionline – just pick up a red top.
Would you describe yourself as (a) muddle headed, (b) motor-mouthed or (c) mingle-minded? If you chose (c), a recently formed organisation will provide you with plenty of opportunity to pursue your proclivities within the building industry through a no-membership, no-subscription, web-based organisation called Mingleminded ( It holds meetings on the last Tuesday of every second month, and building industry clients, consultants, contractors and suppliers are all invited. "I guess it's for people in the same boat as us – people who want to … have a good night out and a bit of a laugh and make a few new contacts," burbles the website. So far, Mingleminded has attracted nearly 600 participants. The next meeting, on 30 September, will be a special first anniversary event: a medieval banquet. Ah, now I recognise the building industry – but why dress it up in all this dotcom jiggery-pokery?

Nato's army
Project managers won't be holding their breath for the job of overseeing one of Europe's most prestigious construction projects, the new £200m Nato headquarters near Brussels. One project manager I spoke to was delighted to receive confirmation that his firm had got through to the bidding stage for the scheme, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill – until he discovered who he was up against. Seventy-nine bidders from 20 countries. "Usually there's about five or so," he moaned.

Cellulose-based fun
I'm intrigued by an invitation (pictured below) to a product launch. The product in question is a wooden radiator, which its maker, Jaga, says is a UK first. Given the thermal insulating properties of wood, I'm fascinated to learn how the radiator will work – perhaps it is supplied with a box of matches and a bundle of kindling. In which case, I look forward to the launch of other wooden heating appliances: the pine boiler and the oak electric fire, perhaps.

The flying spin doctors
News reaches me of a shift-around among the industry's PRs. I hear Andy Geldard, currently spinning for contractor Skanska is to use his mastery of the black arts at Willmott Dixon. The incumbent at Willmott Dixon, Gary Hague, is hopping over the fence to become spinmeister at consultant EC Harris.

Now, you see this leaf …

Crossrail boss Norman Haste has wasted no time in ensuring that he captures the customers that the £10bn project will need when it opens in 2012. Haste has launched Young Crossrail, which, he instructs us, will “involve young people in understanding the problems we face today, [so] they will be helped to understand and deal with the problems they will face tomorrow”. A problem with a rail project? In Britain? I won’t have it said.