As we all huddle for warmth and HSE inspectors don their crash helmets to go and play in the snow, some observers spy green shoots rising out of the frozen earth. Unnamed observers, obviously...

A shot in the dark

As former construction minister Baroness Vadera knows to her cost, mentioning the green shoots of economic recovery is a good way to get people baying for your blood. So I will protect the identity of the person who told me last week that Barratt is poised to start building on one of its sites in the London area. “Can you believe it?” they asked me. Well, actually no, unless there’s a pretty hefty quota of affordable housing. I mean, there’s green shoots and then there’s shooting yourself in the foot, isn’t there?

Let it go, let it go, let it go

For those of us stuck in wintry transport hell on Monday, spare a thought for Land Securities. The developer was forced to postpone by a week the on-site announcement of the winning artist for its “Ebsfleet Landmark” statue due to the inclement weather. At the same time, a project team from Land Securities Trillium battled against the elements to get up to Birmingham in time for the already-much-delayed announcement of the winner of its £1.2bn BSF contract. After hours of travel delays, they made it just in time to see the job awarded to rival Catalyst Lend Lease. D’oh! Or should one say – Sn’oh!

The perfect crime

Police in Mountlake Terrace in Washington state, US, recently apprehended the world’s most conspicuous robber as he made away with ill-gotten gains from a local construction site. How could they tell? The thief was driving in the bucket of a 13m Genie Boom telescopic lift. When asked by police what he was doing, the man said he was “just going to the store”, but later admitted he had nicked the $20,000 lift for “a dare”. He had apparently been drinking. Only in America?

Snow patrol

Snow patrol

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night keeps Building’s journalists from the swift completion of their appointed duties. But the same cannot be said of others in the industry. Although a blanket of snow over the capital kept many away from work earlier this week, our hardy reporters spied from their office a group of workers from a large construction firm having a snowball fight on Blackfriars bridge. Perturbed, I put a call into the Health and Safety Executive to ask about the risk of a snowball-related injury on the job. The phone rang and rang, but answer came there none. Was everyone but us out playing in the snow?

Hired to fire

Finally – after relentless scaling back by firms of all shapes and sizes – a job in Dubai. Put up the bunting because those words aren’t being written very often right now. An international joint venture construction company is looking for a human resources manager. It’s a newly created role. Sounds promising.

So, what will the successful applicant be required to do? Well, according to the recruitment firm, Charterhouse Partnership, among the tasks will be to “come and assess the current structure”, “recommend a new structure”, “develop succession plans” and “design a new salary structure”. Will the successful candidate eventually be forced to sack themselves too, we wonder?

Everyone’s a winner

Calling all contractors and QSs: have you ever wanted to throw an architect from a great height? Go on admit it, you've thought about it ... Well, now's your chance. All you need to do is donate money to Article 25, the architectural development and disaster relief charity. If the funds reach £10,000, former RIBA president and Pringle Brandon partner Jack Pringle will jump out of a plane. To donate visit

Oh, and he will be wearing a parachute, of course...