... of construction’s own Indiana Jones, the strange case of the incredibly hairy bedfellow, and two very good reasons to turn down a job on the Southbank …

High-level surveillance

Who has the highest pressure job in the industry? Our vote this week goes to the site manager for Balfour Beatty’s job at Blackfriars station in London, which involves building a £250m ticket office on the south side of the river. Not only will the programme of works be monitored by Building’s editor, whose office window overlooks the site, but also by Bob Clark, managing director of Balfour Beatty Construction, whose office is on the floor directly above ours. Personally, I don’t know who I’d be more scared of …

One last crusade?

It may not just be Indiana Jones making an unlikely, long-awaited comeback this year. I hear that one or two senior figures at Constructing Excellence are trying to persuade Sir John Egan to don his hat and bullwhip once again to beat some shape back into the industry. But will Sir John be willing to undergo this last crusade? Watch this space.

The anti-Countryside alliance

As if housebuilders aren’t having a hard enough time of things lately, along comes a website to give them a good hard kicking while they’re down. The clue’s in the name: www.countrysidepropertiessucks.co.uk. The list of atrocities Countryside Properties is accused of include: “dishwasher not working”, “cupboard shelf missing” and, more bizarrely, doubts over whether the balcony will “withstand multiple persons leaning heavily on it or bumping it hard”. My advice would be to stop your petty cyber-sniping. Oh, and don’t allow guests to jump up and down on the balcony.

Domestic harmony

Question: which managing director once had an unusually close relationship with a monkey? The boss of one regional contractor once worked in Africa for a time, during which he struck up an unlikely friendship with an orphaned baby baboon. The pair became so attached that the primate even slept at the bottom of his bed in a custom-made nappy. This domestic arrangement apparently went on for three years before the man returned to the UK and the baboon was packed off to a zoo. But who is he? I’m sorry, but to protect his reputation, I’ll have to hide the company’s identity behind a veil of secrecy (geddit?).

Swings and roundabouts

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’ Monsoon HQ at White City is coming up to completion by Laing O’Rourke, and the interior design is likely to be unique. Peter Simon, the retailer’s founder, is a well-known art collector, and the building will be decorated with assorted works of contemporary art including a merry-go-round designed by Carsten Höller, the artist who installed slides at the Tate Modern. We hear Monsoon bosses were keen to commission a Höller slide in the building’s atrium to allow directors on the top floor a quick exit route. Unfortunately, health and safety weren’t quite so keen, and the Monsoon top brass will have to use the lifts like everyone else.

The name’s 001, candidate 001

Congratulations, then, to Mark Farrar.

Who he, you may well ask? None other than the new chief executive of ConstructionSkills, due to take over from retiring boss Peter Lobban in August. Farrar was promoted from his role as director of corporate services, and beat two external candidates to the post. Competition for the well-remunerated position was kept under strict secrecy – so much so that the candidates were only referred to by a number in the interview process. If they were all as high-profile as Farrar, you have to wonder why they bothered …