This week, why the Candy brothers’ £1bn Fitzrovia scheme is a no-no, subcontractors are put in their place and sex, politics and housing policy become strangely conjoined

Squaring up

The area north of Soho has been known informally as Noho for years, but apparently the Candy brothers’ decision to officially name their £1bn development there “Noho Square” hasn’t gone down too well with residents. Nick Candy, who was holding court at architect Make’s fourth birthday party last week, announced that locals prefer to call the area Fitzrovia, and some are so incensed by the new name that they physically change it to NoNo Square wherever they see it written down. Can we expect Camden council to take note? Judging by its inflexible dealing with protesters on the Argent site at nearby King’s Cross, the answer is highly likely to be No, or indeed Nono.

Ups and downs

Why can’t the company that has connecting people as its reason for being connect them in its own building? Crossrail’s sophisticated lift operating system at its office in London Victoria is certainly not a place to look for transport inspiration. Should staff be unfortunate enough to miss their floor, they cannot simply travel back down or up in the same lift but are obliged to get out and catch another one – meaning another long wait …

Ah goat tae have wan

Scottish construction workers will be pleased to hear they can wear their work apparel to Burn’s night celebrations, thanks to Swedish work apparel supplier Blåkläder’s high visibility kilt (pictured here for your pre-order viewing pleasure). I hear it is the latest must-have of any builder’s wardrobe, especially after 5,000 pieces were sold in its home country.

Credit: Scott Garrett

Zero-carbon athlete’s foot

There’s a race on to get real people living in BRE’s zero-carbon homes in Watford. I hear The Sunday Times is trying to get journalist Stephanie Clark into the Kingspan Lighthouse by March, and Stuart Milne Group is pushing for a whole family – or several in shifts – to live in its Sigma house by the spring. Apparently, a host of security, health and safety and access issues were at stake for BRE, but both firms are nearer an agreement with it. But can the British survive without radiators? More to the point, where will they dry their socks?

Flint lights a fire

Housebuilders are having a bit of a Life on Mars moment after the appointment of Caroline Flint as minister for housing. As you know, we work in an industry that has stamped out the last vestiges of sexism, but on the other hand Flint is deemed to be the nearest British politics has to what, I believe, is termed “a babe”, and some seem to be getting a bit hot under the collar about it. A former minister for fitness at the Department of Health, Flint regularly comes top of “most attractive MP” polls. Few seem to have opinions on her political persuasions but

one housebuilder asked Hansom incredulously: “Have you seen a picture of the new minister?” Another, when asked about his thoughts about Flint responded: “What kind of thoughts? I’m not sure I should tell you…”

Restraint?! I’ll show you restraint…

Kevin Cammack, an analyst with Kaupthing bank, used more colourful language than is usual in an investor’s note on recent stories about housebuilders strong-arming subbies into trimming their invoices. He said: “Yet more press is being given to bully-boy housebuilders trying to beat down poor, desperate subbies with 5% price cuts.” The stories were, according to Cammack, “utter, utter nonsense”. He ended: “Please don’t use the terms “pricing restraint” and “loyalty” with the word “subcontractor”!” Whisper it who dares, but hasn’t he got a point?