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Signoff: David Taylor

IT'S BEEN a quiet couple of months, with no new government-backed taskforces and hence no reason for the T4-2 executive council to call an emergency general meeting to thrash out a response.

But just as I am beginning to feel that the Egan circus was about to lose all sense of fun, I get a personal message from the chairman of the Rebranding Construction Network reminding me that Interbuild is just around the corner.

So soon? But I'm not ready. I must get in training or I won't be able to tackle the punishing diet of fried breakfasts and strong lager.

However, I needn't worry, as the message doesn't require me to do anything just yet. It's simply an invitation to a private screening of Interbuild: The Movie.

'Never before, ' growls the invitation in what I like to imagine are the deep, resonant tones of the late Orson Wells. 'Never before has there been a construction industry movie so highly focused on the precise requirements of its audience.

'See Interbuild: The Movie and you'll never be the same again. It's the gripping story of one industry's fight against a tidal wave of challenges.

'The Chairman, a cynical hardbitten bounty-hunter brought out of retirement for one last daring mission, leads a desperate band of hard-bitten cynical construction professionals through a terrifying ordeal that forces them to confront their own human beliefs and weaknesses.

'Yet only they can prevent total meltdown of the Egan Agenda.

'Starring Carillion, Willmott Dixon, Mace, AndersElite, Rethinking Construction. And introducing Alan Crane as The Chairman.'

Sounds pretty good, so I ring round my contacts to see who else has an invite. They all have. Somebody offers to lend me the game, but I haven't got a Playstation.

SIR JOHN Poncey, my fellow T4-2 director and owner of Poncey Plant, is hopping mad at the launch last week of the Federation in the European Parliament of Construction (acronym:


The poor chap had chosen that very same week to launch his own brainchild, a trade body representing Britain's hard-pressed second-hand plant dealers, and Focope has completely stole his thunder.

The trouble is that Focope, when pronounced by Belgians, sounds just like Sir John's Federation of United Kingdom Used Plant dealers - Fukup.

Now everybody's talking about Focope, and the poor Fukup people seem to have been overlooked.

Focope doesn't seem to have much of an agenda. It's just a pressure group that says it will lobby for the construction industry. A bit vague, to put it mildly.

However, it's got lots of money behind it and has invited over 30 trade associations and 60 MEPs from all 15 member states to its big launch party at one of the best hotels in Brussels later this month. Not to be outdone, Fukup has booked a room upstairs at the Railway Tavern, Forest Hill.

'But Focope isn't even the right acronym, ' fulminates Sir John. 'It should be Fepoc.'

You have to agree: the whole thing's a complete, well, mess.

IT MUST BE rather embarrassing to have your new high-tech plastic roof blown off even before your building has been completed.

But that's what has happened at the new £16 million rock climbing centre near Edinburgh. Why a rock climbing centre thinks it needs a roof beats me.

Other rock climbing centres, like the French Alps and the Himalayas, do quite well without one.

But never mind. When it costs £10,000 a panel, the least it should do is stay on. And then I couldn't help noticing the roofing contractor on this job is called Blue Sky - an apt choice for a building whose roof has blown off - and you're on the inside looking up.