In November, as part of my events editing role at Building magazine, I devised, planned and presented four “webinars” as part of our Virtual Grad Fair – kind of a clunky version of Second Life but probably more useful… Half-conference call, half-Powerpoint presentation, the webinars were viewed by several hundred students over the course of the fair, and are now available on demand. If you can be bothered to create a user ID, you can hear about working abroad, graduate schemes, work placements and how women who didn’t study construction are getting into the industry anyway. And whatever happened to Second Life? I spent a week there back in February 2007 – the architecture wasn’t up to much and urban sprawl reigned…
The debate over NHS top-up fees, and whether people should be able to buy better healthcare, is an ethical minefield. It’s also a massive business opportunity for the insurance industry. As the government appears to be relenting on its opposition to top-ups, I wrote for Insurance Times about how the NHS might change, and spoke to the insurers hoping to make money making expensive drugs affordable for everyone.
One of the best things about being features editor of Building magazine (March 2005-2008) was organising ridiculous stunts, like this site canteen competition, a jenga tournament and the £6 house , inspired by John Prescott’s £60,000 housebuilding competition, where the winning team hollowed out a watermelon and constructed a picket fence from cucumber. But the most surreal was the Pub Olympics, where construction types got far too competitive over a quiz, table football, pool and karaoke. It culminated with a prominent construction lawyer belting out “Delilah” and making the cover…
Building magazine published its second annual Good Employers Guide to construction firms in October, as companies flee to emerging markets in droves. I wrote the lead article, on being a decent employer when your staff are spread all over the world.
I organised the latest of Building magazine’s Phase One networking evenings for younger people in construction in Bristol, on the slightly tangential subject of public art. It’s a big deal up there – and not just because of Banksy (apparently the city council have instructed their graffiti scrubbers to turn a blind eye to his million-dollar stencils). I was much more impressed by strings of neon lights hanging over our heads and the interactive lightwall that mirrors shoppers footsteps in lights – even though it wasn’t working.
You might think hotels and restaurants would have a difficult time going green, but I discovered there’s quite a lot they can do in this article for Caterer & Hotelkeeper.
I investigated the extend of insurers’ exposure to asbestos claims for Insurance Times – and discovered that their liabilities may never end.