This week we’ve got Reservoir Dogs without the reservoir, the results of the HBG vs University of Phoenix friendly, fashion tips for cyclists, Caribbean marriages … well, what more do you want?

Her cup overrunneth

I would like to extend a warm welcome to the latest occupier of the construction hot seat, Baroness Shriti Vadera. Although reportedly media-shy, Vadera enjoys a reputation within Whitehall as something of a ball-breaker. One hopes that she will now get stuck into the job, but the delay of several days in confirming Vadera would take on the construction brief – as well as responsibility for 12 other industries – does not bode well. Construction and delays? Who’d have thought it?

Paws for thought

I was speaking with a public relations professional by phone recently and was most disturbed when our conversation came to an abrupt halt. The rep from E=MC2, which looks after Morgan Ashurst, suddenly broke off without explanation. I was left listening to an odd mix of exclamations and canine growling. When the PR lady finally rejoined me on the line, she revealed the nature of these mysterious noises. “Do excuse me,” she said. “The office dog is attacking my leg.” Has the skills shortage in our industry come to this? Companies are having to resort to staffing their offices with dogs?

Cutting a dash

Cyclists taking part in the annual Mipim Cycle2Cannes event this year are rather hoping ennobled fashion designer Paul Smith might be persuaded to beef up their cycling attire. Smith is a trustee of the event and has previously designed cycle jerseys for Rapha, the cult clothing firm. Being an ex-racing cyclist himself, perhaps Smith could head the property peleton through the lanes of France. To donate money to the associated charities visit

Credit: Scott Garrett

A toast of sandwiches

I was heartened to hear that the Miller family had finally patched up its differences last week after a very public two-month spat. Keith Miller, chief executive, you will remember, had fallen out with elder cousin James, the former chairman, who had tried to sell the company from under him. Naughty boy. So how did the multimillionaires celebrate this burying of the familial hatchet? Well, I’m told the deal was cut over a lunch of sandwiches at the Miller office last Friday. Sadly, they couldn’t even toast the truce with a wee dram – health and safety laws mean alcohol is banned at their office.

HBG 1, University of Phoenix 0

HBG has done the honourable thing and blown the whistle on a vicious campaign by broadcaster Sky to mislead its customers. The crime, it emerges from a rather hurt email, is the claim in the latest edition of Sky Sports Magazine that the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona is the “only sporting venue in the world with a retractable roof and roll-out field”. Oi ref! Apparently the first ever stadium to use both technologies was built in Arnhem 10 years ago. The builder? Dutch group Royal BAM, which happens to be the parent of HBG…

A place in the sun

Some exciting news from Cyril Sweett director and Building legal columnist, Andrew Hemsley. As we reported a few weeks ago, Hemsley decided to quit Cyril Sweett, following its flotation on the alternative investment market to seek pastures new.

Well now we now where: he has decided to up sticks and settle in Barbados, where his partner Roberta has family links.

Hemsley is planning to set up his own practice with Roberta, who presently working as a QS for Tesco. And just for good measure the pair are planning to get married in early March.