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Signoff: David Taylor

WHILE the BBC encouraged Joe Public to nominate a building for restoration last year, Channel 4 is planning a far more exciting exercise by inviting people to nominate buildings for demolition.The winning (or losing) building will be demolished and a new, beautiful and sustainable building erected in its place.

This is a great idea because, be honest, we all have a building we particularly despise, don't we?

Personally, I've got quite a few - Barnstaple civic centre in Devon and that ugly '80s lump sitting on top of London's Farringdon Station to name but two.

The new show - called Demolition, of course - will be great publicity for this most misunderstood sector of the construction industry.The demolition contractor will be the hero of the piece, and although most viewers would like to see the winning/losing building blown sky-high by some maniac with one of those plunger things, it probably won't be blown up or even pulverised by a big iron ball.

In all likelihood it will be delicately nibbled and dismantled piece by piece, thereby demonstrating the engineering skill and technical accomplishment of the demolition industry.Not that this will be of much comfort to the building owners. I notice Channel 4 promises that the owners of the chosen structure 'will be consulted'- that's jolly decent of them! Even so, I bet it'll be quite a shock for whoever answers the door when Channel 4 comes knocking.

I mean suppose - by some fluke - number 39 Laburnum Drive, Kettering, Northants, home of a certain Mr and Mrs Colin Edwards, is nominated (by hordes of vindictive neighbours, let's say, or perhaps by a well co-ordinated network of internet pranksters).The results could be quite dramatic. I can't imagine what Mr and Mrs Edwards would say when Channel 4 turns up with the floodlights, cameras and a big yellow Liebherr.

A FRIEND who's something of a noise in the plant hire business positively scoffs at Speedy Hire's waffle about selling off its toilethire business on the basis that 'the product' didn't provide the 'ability to leverage the national network or brand in a highly fragmented market'.

That's just airy-fairy marketing speak, says my friend.He says they've 'pulled their supply chain' and 'now washed their hands' of loo-hire because, quite simply, 'it's a crap market'. Sounds like a convincing analysis to me.

I WAS absolutely horrified to read that a report by City firm Robson Rhodes which concludes that construction is the business sector most plagued by bribery and corruption.

The report calculates that economic crime is costing the industry about £10 million every day.

Well I know this sort of thing goes on in Naples and Palermo but, really, this is Britain and we don't pass brown paper envelopes under the table in this country.

I know how seriously this report is being taken because last Friday I was approached by a small group of very senior construction executives who were anxious to discuss it with me.Over a sumptuous dinner at Gleneagles on Saturday I heard many genuine expressions of concern that our industry should be so defamed.

The same concerns were repeatedly voiced on the greens and fairways the following day.And, travelling home in the helicopter that evening, I felt a strong conviction that it was my duty as an industry commentator to use this highly influential column to reject categorically the odious libel heaped upon us by that disreputable report.