Archive for April, 2010

Election Brick Walls!?*

Is it me or does it seem that we are forever banging our heads against a brick wall and everything as a result is slowing down even more? And the wretched excuse everyone trots out is we can’t do anything because of the election? We are well used to oh it’s Christmas or oh it’s the holiday season or oh I can’t be ……. well you know what I mean.

Anyway I’m off to the Lake District this weekend for some walking and to visit some good friends of ours, he is the chief executive of the Holker estate up there and they own, amongst other business, Burlington slate so it will be interesting to catch up with him on how things are fairing for them.

Back to the politics though, did you see the debate last night, I didn’t realise that the Liberals wanted to put VAT on new housebuilding, I suppose no surprise that the Tories want to reduce the school building programme (guess whoever gets in will reduce that somehow) but did you also hear Gordon Brown say that the lack of housebuilding was the housebuilders fault! I just don’t know who to pick none of them particularly inspire me for the industry.

Have to say it’s getting all quite worrying about the economy if you listen to how Greece, Spain and Portugal are performing. Still on the up side we could be in for a good World Cup soon not many days to the kick off now. Lets’ hope their football teams perform just as badly as their economies!

Construction Loony Manifesto?

Today’s the day that the major political parties issued their manifesto’s for the forthcoming election, so what would we want in Construction?

Here are some thoughts of my own:

  1. Get serious about CO2 reductions in existing properties, and give some incentives to the general public to make us do it
  2. Reduce VAT on conversions/alterations to domestic work to 5%
  3. Keep the momentum going in the Building Schools for the Future programme, don’t cut back
  4. Cut regulations for private house building, give some relaxation to section 106 agreements and allow some flexibility for what a local authority really needs
  5. Get serious about our energy infrastructure, gas and oil will run out eventually make use of the great intellectual talent that the UK has to offer and look at the alternatives available. We need to generate more power now. We need a joined up strategy and policy.
  6. Get tough with companies that pay late, give SME’s some real power, stop letting big companies use little companies as another source of funding.
  7. Stop developing Heathrow and build a new London airport in the Thames estuary
  8. Build the high speed rail link from London to Scotland
  9. Bring in decent transparent reform within the banking sector that we all understand, that enables banks to lend sensibly to everyone
  10. Cut government waste

Now alternatively if you want something to make you smile take a look at the Monster Raving Loony Party Manifesto – there’s something in there for everyone!

Made in Taipan?

Photo courtesy of pdphoto (it's not a real picture of a Taipan though)

Well it’s the Grand National weekend and I was looking at the names of the horses and thinking do I place a bet on a horse? So what are some of the names I could place a bet on …. Character Building??? Niche Market??? Or how about Tricky Trickster??? But then Made in Taipan caught my eye with odds of 309-1. A Taipan apparently being a venomous snake found in Australia: Oh the joys of the internet, Wikipedia and Google, where would we be without them? But who thinks up these names? There are never really that memorable are they? Okay well apart from Red Rum, Nijinsky, Desert Orchid but there aren’t that many others. Sounds like I know a bit about horse racing… but I don’t, I think I’ve got more chance with the lottery this weekend.

Speaking of a lottery, I’ve recently come across several subcontractors not being able to get their retention monies on previous past completed projects. The trouble they are finding is that Main Contractors are not giving them the relevant information about the facts of the project. Has a making good defects certificate been issued? Is there a latent defect? Is another subcontractor holding up things? Or is the design team and end client just frustrating everyone in the process? Hard to tell somedays, one things is for sure cash is still king, and if you’ve got it keep it seems to be the order of the day. Oh the joys of the contracting world… Perhaps I shouldn’t have that bet or maybe what about Black Apalachi, seem good odds…

What a waste?

Well I’ve saved my blog until today because I went to the game last night against Barcelona and what a game it was! We were outplayed from the start but you have to hand it to our lads; they did get back into it and Theo really did make the difference for us. At the end it was 10 v 10.5 men with Cesc limping around the pitch, but what an atmosphere! It was good to see Thierry back there too and he got a great ovation when he came on, then nearly broke through to score so we all started booing! He was the last man off the pitch at the end to rousing cheers and applause. A game like that makes it all worthwhile paying the season ticket fees. It’s a shame that Bendtner wasted such a good chance in the second half.

Speaking of waste… Next week I expect we will have the election to occupy the media, but I for one think that a lot of the stuff being said about government waste is valid. If the country was run as a proper business there would be far more cuts in government waste. How do they think companies like mine in the private sector survive? We cannot go out there and borrow money on the never never, the banks won’t lend anything; we have to make painful and hard decisions about people’s lives. I’m really undecided this time who to vote for; nothing inspires me about politics at the moment. Having said that I’m meeting someone today who is standing as an MP so I’d better be careful, as we may be able to help him in a business venture…

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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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