Credit crunch, economic slowdown, government in tatters… You’d be forgiven for feeling gloomy about next year. But the outlook is not all bad. Here are eight reasons for looking forward to 2008


Forget the Fab Four, Cilla Black and Nerys Hughes. Liverpool has loads of new and exciting stuff to shout about this year as it takes the stage as European capital of culture. Check out Building’s first issue of the year on Friday January 11 for a taste of what’s to come.


After 18 years the signals have finally changed to green for Crossrail, giving a much needed boost to the emerging Thames Gateway and communities across London. Tireless chairman Doug Oakervee is determined to look on the bright side. He is confident he can stick to his £16bn budget and reckons the long wait has given the project team a perfect opportunity to get it right. Next stop: the procurement strategy.


This time last year there was no chair and no budget in place, but as we go into 2008 former Network Rail chief John Armitt is holding the reins and a £9.3bn budget is ready to be spent. And that can only mean huge amounts of work for the people of east London. Under starters’ orders…


We may not have a national team good enough to go to Europe this summer but we can be sure of one thing: we finally have a world-class venue for the FA Cup final. OK, there were some messy subcontractor spats, the project went way over budget and ran well behind schedule but at least this is one project we won’t have to worry about this year.


Europe’s largest building site, Heathrow terminal 5, is set to pass a major milestone when it opens in late March. BAA has delayed picking contractors for more than £9.5bn of airport projects until then, when work on terminals 1 and 2 replacement Heathrow East will be up for grabs by the likes of Laing O’Rourke, BAA owner Ferrovial and Balfour Beatty.

Art for arts’ sake

Architect Rafael Vinoly is bringing a visual feast to two British cities in 2008 with Colchester’s new visual arts centre and the Leicester Performing Arts Centre. Colchester’s £16m crescent building, clad in a golden glow of copper alloy, is poised for a February opening. And the curtain comes up on Leicester’s new theatre, comprising two auditoria and a five-storey foyer of cafes and workspaces, in the autumn.

Better trained workforce

The government is poised to pour £11bn a year into UK skills development, including £1bn to help double apprenticeships across the UK. ConstructionSkills is adding to efforts to turn around the recent slump in apprenticeship places in the construction sector through a newly formed taskforce.

The Blockheads

The original reason to be cheerful, the late Ian Dury’s band, is currently in the closing stages of its tour to celebrate 30 years of music-making, the main mic temporarily subcontracted out to comedian Phill Jupitus. No doubt Billericay Dickie, Clever Trevor and Plaistow Patricia will be on stage too to celebrate the very best in sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.