Our correspondent finds the industry criminal, politically incorrect, in denial, championed, deliriously happy and one Allen key short of an Ikea toolkit …
Wireless and witless
Reassuring news reaches me of progressive attitudes among the cost consulting sector. At a project meeting a few years back, a member of the team was complaining about his difficulties in operating his new WAP mobile.
The leading QS next to him expressed his heartfelt agreement. "Too bloody right," he barked, "I can't stand Italian phones." Cue embarrassed silence …
Don't panic, have a sausage
In a week in which the government and the FA were forced to dispel rumours that the Wembley stadium site was sinking, you could be forgiven for wondering if the whole sorry saga could get any worse. So, it is with pleasure that I can tell you that Multiplex recently threw a party on the site, complete with disco and barbie. The celebration was held to mark the completion of one specific section of the stadium. So please, raise your glasses and drink a toast to the hard work of the builders of our national stadium - no doubt there will be many more such festivities over the next 12 months or so.
Wrighty's latest goal
Controversy over Arrowcroft's plans for the redevelopment of Croydon Gateway has raged for years, but it seems that the developer could be on the verge of something of a coup in the battle to build the scheme. Sources close to the project tell me that Ian Wright, the former Arsenal, Crystal Palace and England striker, is in talks over becoming a goodwill ambassador for the project. Wrighty, who has latterly rebranded himself as a chat-show host, is said to be excited by the 12,500-seat arena in the development - although rumours that he is planning to film a special episode of Friday Night's All Wright in the ground remain, thankfully, unconfirmed.
A game of fantasy reshuffle
News that Elizabeth Whatmore is to leave her position as head of the construction sector at the DTI to move to the ODPM has prompted much speculation about future government reshuffle plans and the position of construction therein. One Whitehall expert tells me that one scenario could be that, following the eventual departure of John Prescott from government, construction would be moved alongside housing and regeneration at a revamped ODPM, which would have a new title under David Miliband's leadership.
QSs and their war crimes
Steve Vickers, Birmingham council's general manager for Urban Design, is clearly not a fan of traditional procurement. Looking to present the Birmingham Construction Partnership as an example of a progressive approach that would consign the bad old days of construction to history, Vickers told last week's Health and Safety Executive conference that old-school quantity surveyors were "the people who went in after the battle was lost to bayonet the wounded". "Lawyers were the people who went in after the QSs to strip the bodies," he added.
First, we kill all the lawyers
Where would you put builders in a league table of the country's happiest professions? It's a question I've lost many nights' sleep over, but thankfully our friends at City and Guilds have come up with an answer: they are in fact 11th, just above travel agents and journalists and just below electricians. But the most intriguing revelation in the survey was that the number one spot is occupied by beauticians. The reason given is that they are made happy by "helping others to look and feel good". So what does that say about those in the second to last slot - the lawyers?
Send your comments and industry tittle-tattle to me at firstname.lastname@example.org