This week we report the propaganda war between Multiplex and Cleveland Bridge, laugh in the face of the nationals and play hunt the steak and kidney pie

War of words

Forget the showdown between Multiplex and Cleveland Bridge's legal teams - the real battle in court 7 at the Technology and Construction Court is taking place between their respective PR teams. Multiplex's assertion that Cleveland Bridge's "Project Trafalgar" campaign to undermine Multiplex was "alive and well in

court 7" may have been a little strong, but there can be no doubt that the two sides are engaged in a battle for the sympathies of the throng of journalists milling around the TCC. Cleveland Bridge PR Claire Davidson thought she had Multiplex beat by arriving with a crate full of copies of Cleveland Bridge's opening statement. Unfortunately for her, Multiplex had leaked theirs to the Australian media the previous day …

Judge us by our stationery

It seems there is no limit to the attempts that Multiplex and Cleveland Bridge's counsels are prepared to make to influence Mr Justice Jackson. Attempting to demonstrate the importance of the point he was about to make, Cleveland Bridge barrister Hugh Tomlinson showed the judge that he had put no fewer than three stickers next to it in his bundle of evidence. The judge drily replied that he had only placed one sticker next to the point in his own notes. "I'm not going to suggest the number of stickers your Lordship should place in his folder," Tomlinson immediately grovelled, as heads were put into hands.

Power exchange

Here's an idea. The government decided that the delivery of the Olympics was too important to be entrusted to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, so set up the Olympic Delivery Authority. engineers reckon it should do the same with nuclear power. "How about the Power Delivery Authority?" asks one. "It's too important to leave to the government. It'll become a political football." Your move, Mr Wicks …


A charming invitation from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association landed on a colleague's desk last week, promising "drinks and steak and kidney pie" at a mysterious venue named Bangers in the City. Suitably intrigued, he went along expecting a pie and pint. CECA delivered on the latter but when it came to dinner, he was shocked to find the nearest thing to the promised pie was, well, bangers. Sadly, CECA rules stipulating that the evening was "off the record" means that we are unable to follow up the reason for this outrage, but Building promises to use the Freedom of Information Act to find out.

Towering ambition

News reaches me that D&R scaffolders, the firm that erected the structure currently surrounding Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, did the job for free. Apparently the firm hoped that the work would bring it some free advertising - or at least extra kudos among its clients. In any case, it is proving popular with the pigeons …

Do keep up, Indy

There is, as hacks since biblical times have noted, nothing like being first with the news. So hats off to The Independent for getting a jaw-dropping scoop on Tuesday by reporting that housing in a vast stretch of the Home Counties is now on hold because of, all things, bird protection rules. The Indy thought it such a big deal that it cleared out its first three pages, in a week when the government is in freefall, oil prices are spiralling and Wayne Rooney is out of the World Cup. But did you hear it there first? Did you heck. I refer you to Building, 21 April 2006, page 23. Nuff said.

Leiper the leaper

Good luck to Allan Leiper, the director of contractor JONAP, who is competing in the European championship "masters" athletics championship (that's for athletics for the over-35s). Leiper recently competed in the decathlon at the world masters championships and managed to finish fifth. A fantastic effort, of course, although apparently his pole-vaulting let him down. My sympathies, Allan - mine's not what it used to be either …

"They're too old really so we let them bring a bit of help"

Credit: Colin Wheeler