BuildAbility, the construction arm of Birmingham Development Company, has appointed a health and safety officer who is more used to training on the football pitch than on the building site.
The name Paul Blades may ring bells as he was a crucial part of the Wolves 1995 line-up where he played right back; yet with his footballing days now firmly behind him due to injury, he has moved into the health and safety industry.
His latest appointment is to The Cube, the final £100 million phase of The Mailbox, a 23 storey, 50,000 sq ft mixed use building which on completion in early 2010 will include a boutique hotel, waterside cafes, designer retail stores, offices and 244 apartments of which well over half have already been sold.
In 2007 Birmingham Development Company has set up its own construction arm, BuildAbility, to build The Cube and all its future developments.
Mr Blades, aged 43, said: "The Cube is a great project, really intriguing and unlike anything else in the UK. When I set up my independent health and safety practice in 2007 I never dreamt that my first proper commission would be on a project of this scale and calibre."
Mr Blades also played at Derby County between 1982 and 1990 alongside Peter Shilton, Steve McLaren, Dean Saunders and Mark Wright and, at the time of his transfer from Derby to Norwich City, he was the club's record signing at £700,000. He finally retired after an Auto Windscreen cup final at the old Wembley stadium when the injury came.
He has since worked for Quality Safety Consultants on a range of work across the country including the redevelopment of the paint shop at the Castle Bromwich Jaguar plant. After 11 years in the job, he set up Midland Safety Advice Services.
Neil Edginton, director of BuildAbility, said: "Paul is a vital part of the team. Health and safety officer on a major project like The Cube can be a thankless and controversial task, as his decisions impact everyone and must be complied with and enforced. Yet Paul is very thorough and commands the respect of the team. We are glad he is on board."
Mr Blades is the latest in a series of appointments to BuildAbility's top team in its drive to recruit 30 of the UK's best construction experts. His role includes preparing training records, risk assessments, method statements and inspection records and ensuring that all abide by the rules of a safe site. n UK construction orders in the three months to January fell one per cent from the previous three month period.
The office for National Statistics said declines seen in the infrastructure, private industrial and private commercial sector more than offset increases in other sectors.
Construction orders fell by two per cent in the three months to January on a yearly basis, and were unchanged in the year to January from a year earlier.