Crazed drunken rants, crushing defeats and public humiliation were rife in a week the construction industry will remember less than fondly. And then there’s that OFT thing…
Those with central London offices often have a variety of strange neighbours, but none more so than EPR Architects, who I hear share their Millbank office with none other than the Conservative party’s campaign HQ. EPR bods have found themselves sharing the lift with London mayoral candidate Boris Johnson on more than one occasion. The temptation to ask about planning policy must be strong, especially as EPR’s twin tower development in Tory-controlled Wandsworth is awaiting its decision.
Flogging’s too good for ‘em
“Can we price-fix it? Yes we can!” screamed the headline in The Sun. So far so predictable. Granted, builders have seen better days than last Thursday when the Office of Fair Trading revealed the results of its investigation into bid rigging, but it was a little disheartening to see the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and construction union Ucatt jumping on the critical bandwagon. A terse release from the FMB expressed its “disgust” at the behaviour of “112 large construction contractors” and called for 30% of local government contracts to be opened up to smaller firms. Meanwhile, Ucatt condemned the “featherbedding of fat cat construction bosses” and demanded the “maximum possible penalties on these companies”. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
And another thing…
What is the one thing an old duffers’ club cannot afford to be without? That’s right, a good quota of old duffers, and some of the finest are to be found at the Lansdowne Club in central London. So it really should not have come as a surprise at a fundraising dinner held at the club last week by the otherwise excellent 1913 Wilderness Club, when one elderly and well-lubricated gent took it upon himself to regale the assembled surveyors and property agents with a rambling rant against, well, pretty much everything. The collapse of society was just for starters – followed swiftly by what he would like to see happen to the RICS. Victor Meldrew would have been proud.
The odd couple
I’ve long suspected that the most unlikely celebrities hang out together: Ronnie Corbett and Will Self down the pub with Toyah Wilcox, for example. So, discovering that David Hitchcock, managing director of building services consultancy, CBRE, is a personal friend of radical eco-architect Bill Dunster only confirms this impression. I’m told that ever since Dunster’s and Hitchcock’s kids were at primary school together, the corporate player and the zero-carbon guru have even gone on family holidays together. No aeroplanes, you understand, strictly eco.
I plead ignorance, m’lud
Law firm Atkin Chambers suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of arch rival Keating Chambers last week – not in court, you understand, but at an NSPCC charity quiz organised by CMS Cameron McKenna. Atkin came in at a paltry 27th place, compared with Keating’s top-five finish; rumour has it that an appeal is pending.
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