This week we look for ways to rid our construction sites of bats and cats, an architect goes fishing for cooks and the search is on for a contractor to handle the Rugby World Cup anthems
Quentin Leiper, president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, admits he has been “neurotic” about statistics since boyhood. He has compiled a spreadsheet covering his year of presidency that shows he’s had 565 meetings, eaten 190 lunches, spoken to a total audience of 17,000 people, written more than 60,000 words on his blog, travelled 68,474 miles and spent 57 nights in hotels. He reckons he needs to plant 4.63 trees to offset his carbon footprint from hotels and air travel. Oh, and he’s put on 2lbs in weight as well.
Calling all budding Jamie Olivers – London architect Squire and Partners is on the hunt for a chef. And, no, not for their canteen – the firm owns a restaurant called 6 St Chad’s Place, across the road from its King’s Cross headquarters. Apparently the current chef, under whom the restaurant has been thriving, is leaving to set up his own business. Squire is also marketing its first residential scheme off nearby Pentonville road. My sources tell me they might be open to a job and board deal for the new chef, so get those applications served up sharpish.
Even the score
So England have reached the Rugby World Cup final again. Which got me thinking. When the White Army were in this position in 2003, the national anthem was sung by one James Laing, who is a part of the construction family of the same name. So will any other contractors put forward a gifted scion to do the honours? McAlpine, O’Rourke and Wates – the Rugby Football Union awaits your call.
The claws are out
We all knew about the danger to fish, newts and even workers, but, until now, nobody picked up on the creatures most endangered by construction work on the 2012 Olympic sites: kittens. Animal rights campaigner Celia Hammond has sunk her claws into the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) for not letting her charity rescue feral cats from the areas earmarked for demolition. She says 143 felines have already been saved by a whisker, but that the ODA should stop pussyfooting around the issue. “If we’re not allowed on the site, who will do anything for the cats?” she asks. Time for wildcat strikes?
Chancellor Alistair Darling may have faced a lot of stick over last week’s mini-budget, but one discrepancy seemed to have slipped through the net. In a booklet entitled Meeting the Aspirations of the British People, Darling pledged to ensure a “lasting cultural and sporting legacy by fully funding the construction of the Olympics”. Really? Last time I looked, the budget was to be split between the government, the lottery and London taxpayers. A quick call to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport cleared things up: “What they’re getting at is that the government is the ultimate guarantor of the Games.” Which means it will hand over the £9.3bn only in the event of civil war …
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