Keep it under your hat, but John doesn't know Richard's advising David, Jack's talking to lawyers, Clare's working with Bill and Dalton's just lost his shirt
Tread carefully, Mr Miliband
As you will no doubt be aware, Lord Rogers' recently revived urban taskforce is not the government's greatest admirer: "thoughtless", "number-driven" and "cheap" were three epithets it recently applied to plans for the Thames Gateway. John Prescott has responded by giving the noble lord a wide berth. However, it seems that some in the ODPM are more forgiving: rumour has it that communities minister David Miliband, for one, is becoming increasingly reliant on Rogers for advice. It might be prudent not to mention where you're getting your ideas from, David - at least for the time being …
Despite being a little bruised by the announcement of a £14m loss on its UK projects last week, I hear that the top brass at Bovis Lend Lease are mellowing a little in their attitude towards using rivals' specialist subsidiaries. After concrete firm O'Rourke's audacious takeover of Laing a few years back, Bovis decided to stop using any Laing O'Rourke-owned subcontractors on its projects. However it seems there has been a rethink and Bovis is beginning to use O'Rourke's flooring and plant hire firms. It draws the line at using its concrete subcontractor, though …
In these security-conscious times, it's good to know that one of the industry's biggest clients is being looked after. Word reaches me that David Higgins, the chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, recently noticed that he kept coming across a certain young man at industry events. After a while he approached the certain young man and asked him who he was. He replied that he worked for a contractor building the Olympic park, and showed Higgins his card. "But we haven't chosen a contractor yet, and I've never heard of your company," said Higgins. "I know," came the reply, "but I couldn't exactly put ‘MI5' on here, could I?"
What a man's got to do
The Olympic bigwigs have been out in force of late - Jack Lemley, chairman of the ODA, was the speaker at the Society of Construction Law's annual lunch on Friday. I hear the 400-odd lawyers were an appreciative audience, particularly when he referred to using "proven contract forms and dispute resolution methods" - words calculated to whip a legal crowd into a frenzy. Some may have been disappointed that he did not elaborate on the intricacies of contract terms or find time to stay for the dessert course, but in his laid-back John Wayne drawl he explained: "There's a job to do, and I've got to get back to work." And with that he was gone.
Get on yer bike
Clare Nunnely, an architectural student from Cardiff university, has proposed a novel twist on the multistorey car park. For her final project she has designed a cycle "hub" - a three-storey centre that "not only offers secured bicycle parking but also hot showers, lockers, a bike repair shop and a juice bar". Clearly plenty of fun to be had for two-Wheelers there, as BedZed architect Bill Dunster has realised - he has offered Clare a site on his Upton sustainable housing scheme in Northamptonshire.
I hear Andrew Large, the chirpy director of the Federation of Master Builders, is set for pastures new. Large is to spruce up facilities management trade association the Cleaning & Support Services Association, and will become its director general next month.
Breathe in …
Another star speaker at the Society of Construction Law lunch was Dalton Grant, the international high jumper and 2012 bid team member. He did his bit towards raising cash for young athletes by putting his Olympic suit up for auction. The winning bidder was scaffolding firm SGB, which laid out £5000 to secure the trademark beige ensemble.
Now, I hope you don't mind me asking, but how many scaffolders will fit into a suit made for a man who is nearly 2 m tall and only weighs 11 stone?
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