Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Signoff: David Taylor

DISASTERS like last week's terrorist bombs in London are always distressing, but I find it heartening to see how such tragic events can bring out the best in people.

Obviously I'm not referring to the hoteliers who reportedly exploited stranded commuters by doubling their tariff on Thursday night - disasters also bring out the worst in some people.

I like to think most are inclined to rise to the occasion.

So let's pay due respect to the construction workers who left their site in Great Ormond street and offered to donate blood to paramedics treating the victims at Russell Square and Tavistock Square.

Construction workers don't normally get much of a good press.They're normally parodied as foulmouthed overweight slobs leering over the scaffolding and wolf-whistling at passing women while displaying acres of hairy buttock at the other end. But they got honourable mentions in all the nationals last Friday - I even heard a BBC DJ play David Bowie's Heroes in tribute to them.

While others gawped from the safety of their offices, or stood around looking - and being - useless, the construction workers (from, I think, a Shepherd site) rolled up their sleeves and offered something of real practical value: their own blood.

We all know how construction workers like a brew but, whatever people might say, I think on this occasion giving blood was more than just an excuse for an hour off work with a free mug of tea and a chocolate hob-nob.

UNTIL a few days ago I hadn't been aware that people have been known to ride horses and drive cars in their sleep or even have sex in their sleep - although now I think of it, I did have a girlfriend once who would make a kind of snoring noise at the crucial moment.

Some people, it turns out, do the most unexpected things while fast asleep. Last week a 15year-old girl got out of bed, went downstairs, opened the front door, walked down the road, entered a construction site (naughty, naughty) and climbed a 40 m tower crane.

Somebody spotted her and called the police.An officer climbed the crane and found the girl curled up fast asleep on top of the counterweight.As you might expect, the girl was a bit surprised to wake up and find herself at the top of a tower crane.

She'd never dream of climbing so high when awake (obvious, when you think about it).

Well, we're supposed to be encouraging young people - girls especially - to work in the construction industry. But if unconsciousness is what it takes, the future doesn't look too promising.

HORRIBLE smells are keeping construction workers away from the site of a £200 million mixed-use development in west London.And the cause, it is claimed, is rotting food deposited in the building's walls by disgruntled workers.

But how do we know they're disgruntled?

Leaving mementoes in the fabric of a new building is a time-honoured practice.Only the other week an Edwardian builder's trousers and some quaint doggerel were unearthed in a London building during demolition.

It is possible that, on this job, one or two workers have left the remains of their McDonald's cheeseburgers in the cavity wall to provide future generations with a snapshot of the 21st century artisan's diet.

I have an archaeologist friend who specialises in seeds. In centuries to come, his descendants might find the desiccated remains of a double cheeseburger and identify it from the sesame seeds on the bun.

But no, how could I be so silly? These buildings are only designed to last 60 years.And by then, we'll all be eating McDonald's.