Rival engineers accidentally lay on parties at the same location, Frank Lampard fails to organise a trip to the zoo and Building hacks somehow conspire to win an intelligence test...

La Lampard

Usually, a zookeeper’s hardest job is keeping the animals happy, but celebrity customers can sometimes be just as hard to satisfy, as I learned on a tour of London Zoo’s soon-to-be complete Gorilla Kingdom last week.

Most recently, they were called by football diva Frank Lampard. Apparently the Chelsea player demanded free entry and a behind-the-scenes tour for himself and a sizable entourage – oh, and they were arriving in an hour. Throw him to the lions, I say.

How awkward

Engineering consultant Whitbybird received a slightly unpleasant surprise at its autumn party at London’s Building Centre last week. Staff found they could only access half of the reception area, because carefully hidden behind a giant screen lay another industry do hosted by its rival Arup. Some Whitbybird guests were particularly irritated on learning of the Arup event – their invitations must have been lost in the post...

QS confidential

I hear that consultant EC Harris, which is in the midst of consolidating all of its London offices into the one space, has launched a competition for its staff to name its headquarters at King’s Cross. Apparently, the best entry so far has been “ECHQ”.

You read the Idaho Statesman?

It seems that Jack Lemley is still not accustomed to being in the public eye, despite his stint as chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority. Lemley has expressed surprise that his remarks to a local US newspaper about how he expects venues for the London Games to be delivered late and over budget were picked up widely by the UK press. His publicist told Building: “Jack did not expect his Idaho Statesman interview to be so widely disseminated and it’s likely that any more comments won’t be helpful to the Olympics.” No doubt the ODA will agree.

Pukka donations

Consultant Halcrow celebrated the launch of its charity offshoot last week with a meal at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant (on company, not charity, expenses, of course). The Halcrow Foundation aims to relieve suffering in impoverished countries and those hit by natural disasters. It has already built a school in Sri Lanka and is paying for school equipment and clothes for children in areas hit by the Asian tsunami. We assume that turkey twizzlers will not be on the menu.

Stick a nought on it

It seems that the attempts of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) to recruit a new director general are not going too well. I’m informed that the FMB job, which arose after Ian Davis left to join the National House Building Council, may have to be readvertised as the salary, thought to be around £90k, wasn’t quite enough to pull in the serious industry heavyweights the association deserves. Perhaps the FMB’s former external affairs director Andrew Large, who defected to a cleaning association, may fancy a return to the relative glamour of the construction industry?

The finest minds in journalism

Not that we like to brag, but a team including three Building reporters and the editor of our sister magazine, QS News, was victorious at last week’s Mace Sense quiz night at Brown’s in Leicester Square. As part of a crack team organised by Mace’s marketing division, QS News’ Phil Clark and Building’s Angela Monaghan, Alex Smith and Mark Leftly took first prize after a nail-biting tie-break against investment bank Goldman Sachs. As well as up-to-the-minute insight into current affairs, a detailed knowledge of peripheral characters in The Simpsons was a big help.