Whether you’re off on a trip to Rio, a long-distance jaunt in a canoe, or sunning yourself in Barbados with Richard Steer, do let us know if you spot any of our 40 under 40 fugitives. They may be in disguise

Minister of all he surveys

Another week, another construction minister (well, at least this time there’s a credible reason for putting someone new in the job). Happily, Mark Prisk, MP for Hertford and Stortford, is also a chartered surveyor, which means there is some hope that he actually knows a bit about our industry. Less encouragingly, however, he has campaigned against a second runway at Stansted and also a plan for development of the green belt land north of Harlow. Where he stands on the mooted QSs walkout from the RICS is unknown, though – we called his office to ask but he has yet to get back to us. Let’s hope it’s because he’s busy.

The laughing grenadier

And while we’re on that subject, we rang Gleeds boss Richard Steer last week. Having published his controversial column attacking the RICS the week before, we wanted to check how he was bearing up in the inevitable fallout – offer a sympathetic ear, police protection, that kind of thing.

But it seemed Steer had other plans than fielding irate calls from RICS HQ: sunning himself on a beach in Barbados. He did sound a little sheepish on the crackly line and likened his escape to “throwing a grenade and running away”.

Key issues

At the beginning of the month, a fat-fingered New York trader was blamed for wiping $500bn of value off the US stock market – but hasn’t everyone hit the wrong key at some point? I was talking to a contractor this week about e-procurement – and its perils. Apparently a competitor once came in 10% lower than everyone else for a multimillion-pound job. “Everyone else gave up,” said my source, “and the mystery bidder won it, but speaking to them afterwards they had meant 10% on a minor part of the contract, not the whole thing. They unhappily followed through with it, though.”

Brazil’s wild years

Brazil’s government last week asked its Communist sports minister Orlando Silva to head up construction for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Given China’s Olympic success, there’s no reason to think a Communist-led process will exclude private sector companies (including the many UK firms sniffing around). However, it might be worth looking at Brazil’s World Cup building programme for 2014. No contracts have been signed. José Roberto Bernasconi, president of consultants’ trade body Sinaenco, last week likened the country to an unruly adolescent: “Brazil is not a teenager any more but sometimes still we daydream. We still have many things to do.” Maybe it’s time to get out the Clearasil.

Three men in boats?

A 3,000-mile canoe trip around the British mainland being undertaken by Inbuilt engineer James Bonell has taken a couple of unexpected turns. Three weeks after starting the trip in Cornwall, Bonell and co-canoeist Team GB member Joe Andrews stopped for the night in Gwynedd and awoke to find their sea kayak and all worldly goods within it had been stolen. It left the trip to raise money for Water Aid and the National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease in limbo – until kind folk stumped up an entire replacement kit. This week, however, the canoe was found. Bonell says he now has two of everything, so if anyone fancies joining him … Donate and read Bonell’s blog at www.gonepaddling.co.uk

Desperately seeking Suzie … and Jeff

We are still on the hunt for some of our class of 2000 40 under 40s. If you know any of the below, or indeed are any of the below, please contact Emily Wright on emily.wright@ubm.com as soon as possible. Thank you.

Jeff Kirby, last seen at Urban Research Laboratory; Suzie Dickens, formerly of Gleeson City Living; Ciron Edwards, Fluid Design; Ian Hedges, Amec; Tina Smith, Westbury Homes; Joe McNulty, Integra; Chris Nasah, Knack Design.