Fred Goodwin shreds his own office

So it turns out that Fred ” the Shred” Goodwin is as much of a menace to building projects as he is to banks, according to the developer who built RBS’s flash new office in Manchester. I invited Allied London’s construction director Graham Skinner to speak at the latest of Building’s Phase One networking events for young construction professionals last Thursday at Spinningfields in Manchester. He said Goodwin had taken a special interest in the architecture – though unfortunately not the structural engineering, as he demanded a crucial column be removed from the lobby after digging was well underway. Perhaps there’s a clue there…

It could happen to you

I’d almost forgotten this article about the growing crime of cannabis farming – until the Chinese take-away over the road was shut down and taped off for exactly that reason. Seasoned insurance claims managers talk of being staggered by the damage the farmers wreak to their rented properties, ripping out all internal walls and filling the place floor-to-ceiling with their lucrative crops. You’d never have known from the outside…

The rich will always be with us

Everyone’s jumping on the sustainability bandwagon these days – and insurers are no exception. In June, I wrote for Insurance Times’ Property Focus on their unlikely forays into Energy Performance Certificates for buildings, as well as the Teflon-resilience of the super-rich in the recession, and the cast of thousands working behind the scenes to settle a big fire claim.

Where’s my sausage?

I did a couple of days on Construction Manager in the run-up to press day, writing news stories and the funnies page. Highlights inlcuded asking the industry whether collaborating with China was really an option, getting to grips with new sustainability clauses in JCT contracts, and asking what kind of fry-up consists of only eggs, bacon, toast and ketchup?

Credit insurance drought

The lack of trade credit insurance is one of the biggest issues affecting Building’s readers across the construction industry. I spoke to the firms struggling to survive, the brokers trying to help them and the insurers they claim have deserted them in their hour of need. Firms who’ve had their cover stripped accuse the insurers of profiteering during the boom, but delving into the finances and ownership of these companies, I found a more complicated picture