The People’s Republic of China is set to build our railways, the Garden Bridge ban on Pooh Sticks is lifted, Ryder makes it in New York, Land Sec awards some fast learners, and staff at Mace and JRP play with bikes and Lego

Hansom HT

Mao more than ever

As we all know, the chancellor George Osborne has been in China recently trying to woo Chinese investors to be part of major UK infrastructure projects, most notably HS2. But are the Chinese interested? Well, it would appear so judging by the delegate list, seen by Building, for the UK Trade & Investment Infrastructure Forum this March. Among the heavyweight Chinese firms in attendance were the Chinese Railway Construction Corporation, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, China State Engineering Construction Corporation, and the China Road and Bridge Corporation, all of which have experience in high-speed rail. At the event in London, all four also showed off their projects in 40-minute presentation titled “Capability showcase by Chinese companies”. But how does this large number of state-owned businesses getting involved in our nation’s infrastructure sit with Conservative philosophy on how the free market provides the best efficiency?

Stick at it

I was glad to see that the age old game of Pooh Sticks has been top of the agenda and even gladder that it will no longer be prohibited on the proposed Garden Bridge. The trees on the bridge would, most likely, create their own Pooh Sticks games through natural shedding of foliage. The health and safety policy U-turn comes after an outcry over the ban on bridge-goers playing the popular children’s game, named after A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. However, making a speech, forming a crowd and playing other games or musical instruments are still not on. Put that clarinet down.

Tour of duty

Allez, allez! London may have turned down the chance to host Le Grand Depart of the 2017 Tour de France, but the capital was proud to welcome a different gruelling cycling event last month - the Tour de Mace. Fifty Mace staff and associates completed a 250-mile cycle ride over four days from Manchester to London to raise funds for their charitable arm the Mace Foundation. Board members Stephen Pycroft, Jason Millett and Mark Holmes were among those pressing the pedals. They were joined by Team Sky cyclist Nico Roche on the last leg of the course and raised an impressive £75,000 in total.

High achievers

Land Securities has held its Community Employment Awards, marking four years since the beginning of the Community Employment Programme, designed to address the skills gaps in the industry and unemployment in London. This year’s highest achiever was Kali Hagenstede, who has recently passed his NVQ Level 4 in construction site management. The winner of the 18-24 year-old category was Lissania Charlton and the winner of the 24+ category was Yasin Alizadeh. The awards were attended by employment minister Priti Patel and Tim Campbell, the mayor of London’s ambassador for training and enterprise.

A byte of the Big Apple

Those whizzes at architect Ryder - well known for their digital and BIM skills - have gone and won themselves a prize in New York for designing the best skyscraper for the Big Apple in just 48 hours. The architect - along with a number of international partners including Willmott Dixon and Australian and Spanish architecture practices i2C and Ravetllat Ribas Arquitectes – scooped the prize after designing a 60-storey mixed-use tower.

hansom lego

Block party

To celebrate three decades in business, consultant John Rowan and Partners has turned its entire staff into Lego (although, we hope not literally). Each of the tiny Lego staff member is now perched on top of a pile of Lego blocks hich showcase the number of years they (or their human counterparts) have been with the company. You can see the firm’s entire workforce represented in a display in the reception of the company’s London office.