Should construction be thinking about the Social Value Act?

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This month sees the government continue to threaten the equality duties by undertaking a review of the public sector policies within which the duties sit. Either way they are still important to the sector, if it is decided that the equality duties are to be axed this does not mean that the public sector will remove them from procurement, in fact it is likely that now they are embedded in PQQs they will remain especially since a future change of government would be likely to see their reintroduction.

In truth, things are likely to get a little more challenging for us with the introduction of the Social Value Act earlier this year, which tasks the public sector with measuring the impact of social well-being.  Currently our sources say that the public sector have yet to understand exactly how to pass this down the supply chain, and are looking for contractors to help them get to grips with this. Luckily for us there is a wealth of free information out there on this area and if you are interested in finding out more click the "like" or "tweet" button above and we will blog about it next week with a link to the resources.

Happy Building, Chrissi.

For your chance to win a £20 John Lewis gift voucher why not enter our monthly quizRemember, all of the answers to our quiz can be found in this newsletter.

Last month’s lucky winner was Rehan Masood Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Lahore Congratulations!

This month we have been reading a lot of interesting things from @wicwales Career development, training opportunities, mentors, events and get-togethers for women in construction.

You can also follow us @ConstructingEq and read our blog  to keep up with current issues 

NEWS - * CITB BE FaIR update – Registration is now open

CITB BE FaIR update – Registration is now open

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BE FaIR is the new accredited framework for Fairness, Inclusion and Respect in the construction industry. CITB have opened registration for participation in preperation for next years launch. Companies can  register their interest now. There are currently over 100 companies involved in the pilot phase, including Vinci, BAM, Wates, Morgan Sindall and a host of other well-known names. Signing up is not a commitment to implementing the framework, and companies can opt-out if they wish. However, priority will be given to those companies who pre-register. 

Constructing Equality Ltd is an approved supplier, and if you would prefer to use us as your framework assessor company we recomend you highlight this when you register as our capacity is filling up quickly due to our unique added value assessment. (including a Social Value Measure, which can help with procurement under the Social Value Act).

The Framework supports an organisation’s desire to improve its working practices, whilst offering a recognised award upon achievement.

The benefits to an organisation going through the Framework include:
• Creating an environment where employees feel valued and supported
• Creating an opportunity for the organisation to become a preferred employer and supplier of choice
• Helping an organisation achieve corporate social responsibility gains and promote the business within communities
• Strengthening tender offers and helping win contracts
• Increasing business benefits such as improving work-life balance for employees, reducing staff turnover, helping address skill shortages and attracting new recruits
• Promoting public recognition as a quality organisation

* Draft Deregulation Bill published – Equality Duties under fire

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The Cabinet Office announcement states that the Deregulation Bill amends or repeals 182 different pieces of legislation. 

Several key points that were included are: -
• Making the system of apprenticeships more flexible and responsive to the needs of employers and the economy, as recommended by the Richard Review. The Bill will remove a lot of prescriptive detail in the current legislation and clarify the employment status of apprentices. An implementation plan for apprenticeship reform will be published in September.
• Removing prescriptive requirements on local authorities to consult and produce various strategies, giving them more freedom from central control

Some of the ‘various strategies’ include reviewing the Public Sector Equality Duties.

The Bill also brings forward a new mechanism which would allow Parliament to identify and remove controversial legislation more speedily. Whilst kept in the right spirit this can be perceived to be a good thing, although there is also a danger of this being used to take away protections that are offered to more vulnerable groups.

First published in Equality and Diversity Forum

Rota (Race On The Agenda) have started a petition to save the Duties.

* Mandatory licensing for builders?

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An article in Construction Manager discussed the pros and cons of implementing a licensing system for domestic builders. We feel that this type of regulation, if carried out in consultation with the industry, can have a big impact on fairness, inclusion and respect in the sector. How can we ask organisations to treat their staff well if they have to under-price their works?

The article discusses how mandatory licensing would help to improve public perceptions of the industry. Our very own Chrissi McCarthy, a member of the Image of the Industry working group, was quoted:

“The people that are qualified and have good health and safety standards are often undercut by those who aren’t, so it forces the standard of the industry down. We think that licensing could start to push the standard up. This isn’t about the major contractors - there’s already a lot of regulation for larger sites and companies that really doesn’t exist in the domestic market.”

* Constructing equality paper accepted for ARCOM conference

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Written alongside Prof Andrew Dainty and Dr Derek Thomson of Loughborough University, the paper is part of a PhD sponsored by Vinci and supported by CITB looking at how to approach equality from an organisational justice perspective in order to gain co-operation from the majority.

Mainstreaming Equality in Construction: A Focus on Organisational Justice
The UK construction sector is still the least diverse major industry having failed to embed equality into business priorities and approaches. Despite over 20 years of initiatives, research, practice and agendas, women and minorities are both under-represented and unfairly treated in construction trades and professions. Literature in this area shows low levels of retention amongst minority groups, high levels of discrimination and key talent from across the population finding the sector unappealing due to its macho image and the lack of diversity. This paper posits that before equality can be realised in organisations there must be a base level of perceived fairness from the majority of employees. To understand how this can be achieved, a review is presented of literature around Organisational Justice; a theoretical perspective which can explain how to encourage co-operation across the workforce. In exploring this we consider how the perceived focus on equality with respect to pre-existing out-groups works against group differential theory and, therefore, whether co-operation from the in-group must be established for any initiative to be successful.
Keywords: ethics, equality, diversity, fairness, inclusion, organisational psychology.

ARCOM conference details.

* Government backs c4g apprenticeship procurement initiative

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CITB’s Interim Chief Executive, William Burton, has welcomed the Government’s call for the removal of ‘unworkable’ procurement practices that are preventing young people from completing their apprenticeships and hampering skills growth across the construction sector.

Speaking at the Government Construction Summit, the Minister for Energy, Michael Fallon MP, said the new guidance was necessary if the UK is to benefit from the 70% forecasted global construction growth.

Welcoming the announcement, representative from the C4G campaign and Chief Executive of the National Association of Builders (NFB), Julia Evans, said:
“The NFB welcomes the new procurement guidance, announced by Energy Minister, Michael Fallon MP today. Having raised the difficulties in some procurement clauses at the Construction4Growth campaign’s meeting with Construction Adviser, Peter Hansford at 11 Downing Street in January, the guidance is a great example of how government and industry can work together to resolve issues and increase apprenticeship opportunities, so that we can attract and train the workforce of the future.”

William Burton, CITB’s Interim Chief Executive, said:
“This is a great achievement, as our Shared Apprenticeship Schemes and Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs) provide a flexible sourcing strategy for contractors that enables local employment growth and movement of apprentices between projects. We look forward to future closer-working with our industry partners to up-skill local workforces and support youth employment.”

Originally published by the NFRC

* Gay architects on site go ‘back in the closet’.

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The atmosphere on construction sites leads a high proportion of architects who are openly gay in the office to conceal their sexuality when visiting site, according to a survey carried out by the Architect’s Journal.

The survey of around 300 lesbian and gay architects found that 74% were comfortable being openly gay in the office. But only 16% of gay men and women in the survey felt they could be themselves on site.
In addition, only 41% of respondents felt they could be open about their sexuality at external meetings and industry events.
And nearly half of the architects polled said they had encountered offensive or inappropriate banter in the workplace in the past 12 months.

Responding to the survey, Professor Fionn Stevenson of Sheffield School of Architecture, told the AJ: “There are power issues at play in relation to clients – people do not want to take risks exposing their sexuality. It’s also clear that construction site culture is still far too macho.”

The survey’s findings did not surprise Chris Edwards, Client Group Manager covering the built environment at campaign group Stonewall. “Stonewall works with 643 companies in its Diversity Champions programme, who are all trying to develop more inclusive workplaces. But there are only two contractors – Kier and Lend Lease, along with Arup and Knight Frank [representing the built environment sector].

Original article from Construction Manager.

* Test Companies wanted for CITB BE FaIR

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Constructing Equality Ltd are looking for test companies to help develop the next set of CITB BE FaIR Framework strands. We are currently looking for a large (250+) and Small (<50) Consultancy company to review our work and let us know what they think.

What is the testing phase?
A process whereby the framework is given to a sample of the strand base to establish how well it meets its objectives.
The objectives are to determine whether the relevant strand: -
• Works within organisational resources
• Understands drivers and motivators
• Provides a learning process
• Improves equality, diversity, fairness, inclusion and respect within organisations.
• Can be seen as a useful tool

Who should be involved?
The main aim of this test period is to improve the framework, and individuals who have an interest in the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect agenda are most likely to give constructive feedback. It is important that we get as much honest feedback as possible so that we can continue to improve and better the framework. Individuals within the test company who would be responsible for specific modules within the strands should be involved.

Benefits of participating in the Test Phase
• Be seen as a leading organisation
• Be at the front of the queue on roll-out
• Reflect in the publicity as the product launches
• Help shape the framework to be realistic for YOUR organisation and help drive change in the sector

For more information, and to volunteer for the test phase, contact Patrick

* Brit wins bricklaying gold at skills Olympics

The UK team enjoyed a medal haul of two Gold, one Silver and three Bronze Medals, and 17 Medallions for Excellence after four days of intense competition.

Ashley Terron, Team UK Member and Gold Medalist in Bricklaying, said:  “To win Gold in Bricklaying is just amazing.  It still hasn’t really sunk in that I am the best young bricklayer in the World.
“The last few months have been really tough fitting my training for WorldSkills around work and family responsibilities but it has been totally worth it.

“I want to show the UK how Apprenticeships and vocational training can enable young people to gain a real qualification and a real future.”

These medals again highlight the growing number of talented young people entering the industry. The challenge now is to retain that talent.

Read the article from Construction Enquirer

RESEARCH REQUEST - * Commons Select committee - Women in STEM careers

Commons Select committee - Women in STEM careers

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The Science and Technology Committee has agreed to hold an inquiry into women in academic STEM careers and seeks written submissions on the following matters:
• Why do the numbers of women in STEM academic careers decline further up the career ladder?
• When women leave academia, what careers do they transition into? What are the consequences of scientifically trained women applying their skills in different employment sectors?
• What should universities and the higher education sector do to retain women graduates and PhD students in academic careers? Are there examples of good practice?
• What role should the Government have in encouraging the retention of women in academic STEM careers?

The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by noon on Tuesday 3 September 2013.

Each submission should:
• be no more than 3,000 words in length
• be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible
• have numbered paragraphs
• include a declaration of interests.

Read the full request here

GOOD PRACTICE - * CITB, Vinci and Wates Construction School visit

CITB, Vinci and Wates Construction School visit

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Year 10 students from St. John Bosco Girls School in Liverpool took part in a construction activity day delivered by employees from CITB, Vinci and Wates Construction.  They tasted a carousel of 3 activities ranging from:-

• Building a 4 metre high x 4 metre wide structure with just 60cm length dowels and elastic bands.
• Constructing shelters with minimal resources with the rationale of an emergency situation following a natural disaster and the importance of disaster engineering.  This also included testing the water tightness of each shelter with a bucket of water at the end of the session, much to the delight of 2 willing students from each team, inside their shelter.
• Building a bungalow to plan using real terracotta mini bricks

The role of each Construction mAbassador was seen as a key requirement of the day, as they were able to relate their activity to the students within the context of construction and also talk about their own profession in an informal and friendly environment.

In a survey of student responses, 29% stated that they would now consider a career in construction.

Wates have an on-going collaboration with the school as part of their Business in the Community (BITC) commitment.  Vinci Construction have just started to construct the new £22m St. John Bosco School.

GOOD PRACTICE - * The path back to work - Morgan Sindall

The path back to work - Morgan Sindall

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Morgan Sindall invests time and other resources recruiting the best people to carry out the best job. However, circumstances out of people’s control can have an effect on this and as a responsible employer; they provide a responsive and flexible approach which then benefits everyone. Responsibility is one of their core values and they embed this into every part of their working life, whether for their customers or their most valued resources – their employees.

Unforeseen circumstances
Andy Shields, Senior Quantity Surveyor in the Glasgow office, joined the company in 2005 and since then has worked on projects including those for the Ministry of Defence. After an unprovoked attack in August 2010, Andy was left with a traumatic brain injury. The attack left Andy with damage to his frontal lobe, which resulted in short term memory loss, fatigue and reduced concentration levels.

The solution
After months of therapy and specialist care from a brain injury unit, a clinical psychologist suggested Andy was ready to return to work on a phased basis. Internal discussions at Morgan Sindall had taken place to ensure that the role would be appropriate for his rehabilitation into the workplace. Morgan Sindall’s Commercial Director and the HR Department met with Andy and the clinical team to discuss his working environment and agreed a ‘return to work’ plan.

Benefits and impact
Andy’s confidence has markedly improved since his return to work and this is due to Andy’s drive and the support of colleagues who have assisted him. Sandy Dalziel, Area Commercial Director, has provided valuable support and been a positive mentor for Andy. Andy is now working five hours per day, five days per week; this has increased from two hours per day, two days per week since his return in June 2011.

More case studies for good practice are found on our website.

* Pay-gap statistics published by EHRC

Pay-gap statistics published by EHRC

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The Equality Human Rights Commission published a paper examining the gender pay gap in the UK.

The report concludes that:

“This paper has presented a detailed picture of the gender pay gap, as shown in the
Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. It has revealed that while the long-term trend
is for a narrowing of the overall gender pay gap, it has certainly not been eliminated
and that it remains particularly significant in some occupations, industries, regions
and UK nations”.

A closer reading of the statistics brings to light the figures that are of most interest to the construction industry. For skilled construction and building trades, the pay gap was shown as ‘not statistically significant’. This sounds like good news; however this may simply be the case of the number of women in those careers not being statistically significant!

Looking at the figures for construction in general, the hourly median pay gap is at 11.2%, whilst the median weekly pay gap is a staggering 21.6% (figures here are for full-time workers only). Clearly there is still a long way to go before this situation is addressed.

(Story first published in Equality and Diversity Forum).

Student Survey - * Information requested to assist a student completing Quantity Surveying MSc

Information requested to assist a student completing Quantity Surveying MSc

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Demi Brown, of Laing O'Rourke Construction South, is asking for help with her MSc.

The survey is aimed at anyone who offers career advice to students e.g. teachers, careers advisors, company ambassadors etc

The aim of this study is to investigate a female’s perception of the construction industry and identify whether these perceptions along with factors influencing their career choices, are preventing them choosing a career in construction.

The author is trying to find out whether the construction industry is being promoted enough by those providing advice to female students and whether they really know enough about the industry and the options available to young women.

If you would like to help, you can fill in the survey

MORE RESEARCH - Joseph Rowntree Foundation study on forced labour

Joseph Rowntree Foundation study on forced labour

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In June 2013, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published a paper on forced labour in the UK.

The paper:
• considers the definition of forced labour, the legal and policy developments around it and the often overstated relationship with human trafficking
• looks at the scale and scope of forced labour in the UK, how it is tackled, and the pressures on regulatory and enforcement mechanism designed to help those who are exploited
• identifies the need for a unified government strategy to combat forced labour and makes recommendations for national and local government, business and trades unions.

(first reported in Equality and Diversity Forum).

RESOURCES - Freehold


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Freehold is a leading and unique networking forum for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender professionals working within the real estate sector. Since its official launch in September 2011, the group currently has over 250 members and continues to grow.
Freehold is a network set up exclusively for the real estate industry and its members include building surveyors, valuation surveyors, agency surveyors, asset managers, architects, developers, investors and property lawyers from both the public and private sector.
As an industry-first for real estate professionals, Freehold is the collaboration of two major players in real estate – International law firm Taylor Wessing and leading building and property consultants Tuffin Ferraby Taylor.

With the backing and support of the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall, the aim of Freehold is to start addressing the equality gap for the LGBT community. The property sector considerably lags behind other industries in tackling sexual orientation issues. Evidence has demonstrated that people perform better when they are encouraged to be themselves and Freehold is there to provide support so that members of the group can feel empowered to do just that.

Freehold hosts regular events which bring the LGBT community together to network with other real estate professionals and to share concerns and issues as well as to explore business opportunities in an informal environment
If you would like to become a member of Freehold, please register your interest through their website.

or look at their LinkedIn page

* EU Guidelines on freedom of religion or belief

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The Guidelines explain what the International Human Rights Standards on freedom of religion or belief are, and give clear political lines to officials of EU institutions and EU Member States, to be used in contacts with third countries and with international and civil society organisations. They also provide officials with practical guidance on how to seek to prevent violations of freedom of religion or belief, to analyse cases, and to react effectively to violations wherever they occur, in order to promote and protect freedom of religion or belief in the EU’s external action. (Originally published in Equality and Diversity Forum).

Read the full set of guidelines.

* The Built Environment Sustainability Training (BEST) Programme

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The Built Environment Training (BEST) Programme is an exciting new programme that will offer tailored, relevant, sustainability-focussed training to the existing built environment workforce of Wales. This will be delivered through the development and piloting of an innovative blend of traditional and distance-learning courses. This will lead to transferable qualifications and skills in new technologies, applications and processes, that will future-proof the built environment whilst enhancing Wales’ reputation as the frontrunner of sustainability in the UK and EU.

As part of the BEST programme, funded support is available to companies based in the convergence areas of Wales, to develop knowledge, skills and performance in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion. The BEST programme has a dedicated Equality & Diversity Officer, who is available to offer an assessment of current company performance, and then work closely with the organisation to identify realistic steps to improve company practices and performance.

If you are interested in finding out more about this funded support or the programme in general, please contact Natasha Owens on 029 2087 0939 / 029 2087 0990 or e-mail Natasha or BEST..

VACANCIES - * Atkins


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The following vacancies are being advertised by Atkins.

Signalling Designer RL-000025 please click here for more information about this role.

Assistant Engineer in Glasgow RL-000576 please click here for more information about this role.

Civil/Structural Engineer RL-000383 please click here for more information about this role.

Click here to view all the latest job vacancies at Atkins
(first published in the WISE newsletter)

* Wanted! Board Members for Housing Diversity Network (HDN)

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Housing Diversity Network is an established and growing national social enterprise that helps to ensure organisations get the best from all of their staff, meet the needs of the communities they serve and as an organisation is committed to addressing inequality more broadly in society. We are based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and work with over 100 member organisations in the housing sector supporting them on the Equalities agenda, through Staff/Board Mentoring Schemes, Consultancy and Training, Equality Briefings, our Diversity Network Accreditation scheme, Seminars, Conferences and Events.

Our focus has traditionally been within the housing sector but we are keen to work across other sectors and would welcome Board Members with the skills and expertise to support us in that. We have a staff of 6 and a diverse pool of associates/consultants who help us to deliver high quality services.

We are looking for new voluntary Board Members to join our Board. In particular, we are looking for members with skills and experience in finance and/or those with knowledge of the Voluntary, Health and Construction Sectors.  The Board meets every 8 weeks during the daytime and Board members will attend occasional conferences and events (travel expenses to meetings will be paid).

For an application pack and to arrange an informal chat with HDN’s Chief Executive, Clifton Robinson, please email quoting “HDN Board Director Membership”

The closing date for applications is Friday, 30th August 2013.

* Skanska

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Let new career opportunities find you! Give some information on your skills and desires to open the door for interesting job openings within Skanska and the worldwide opportunities we can provide. Click here (first published in the WISE newsletter)

Register your profile for new career opportunities and to search and apply for available jobs within Skanska by clicking here

AWARDS AND CAMPAIGNS- * Why you should love a construction hero

Why you should love a construction hero

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#loveconstruction #Constructionheros

At Constructing Equality Ltd we hope over the years we have made a couple of things very clear: - the first is that we love building things and the second is that we love the people that build them; well the majority of them at least.   This is why we particularly like a couple of campaigns that are being run through the construction industry press this month.

They are the Construction News’s #loveconstruction campaign which encourages people to tell the world or at least the twitterverse why they love the construction industry and Buildings #constructionheros which asks for you (and yes, I do mean you!) to vote for someone you see as a hero of the sector. That person could be: - a site manager ensuring that all staff have a good experience in the workplace, a labourer that goes above and beyond, or even a manager or chief exec who you feel is driving forward real change in our industry.

By supporting these campaigns there is a chance that we can catch the eye of the national press and help those that don’t work in construction understand why we love the work that we do, and the brilliance of the people that do it. I’m personally fed up of people working an average of 60+ hours, in a dangerous sector with too little time and not enough money who still achieve the targets imposed yet turn around and telling me “I’m just a builder - it’s what we do”. As much as it might be what we do, having spent a decade in the sector, predominantly on-site, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to do it.

Read the full blog

If you support the campaign, then Construction News will even send you a version of the logo in your company colours, as you can see below!

* Construction News Awards

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The winners of the prestigious Construction News Awards 2013 have been announced at a ceremony in London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. Employer of the Year was named as Thomas Vale Construction

Supply Chain Excellence of the Year
Winner: CEMEX/Aggregate Industries JV – A1 Dishforth to Leeming

Contractor of the Year Winner: Mace

For full details of the awards and the winners click here

MISC - * How do we see each other?

How do we see each other?

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The blog which generated most interest on our website this week was definitely this particular info-graphic

The blog sparked a lot of comments mostly positive, though one with a word of caution. We thought that this was an important point and decided to take the opportunity to explain why we think we need to look at how we view other people in order to affect the way we treat them.

It’s a human trait to desire to put people in neat boxes – it helps us identify, quickly and easily, the perceived dangers and threats; allowing us to make on-the-spot decisions about how to react. A lot of the time, this is a useful thing to do that helps us negotiate life quicker and easier. Unfortunately though, much of the rest of the time this can actually hinder, not only us but also progress in general, and sometimes it takes something like a humorous blog posting to realise just how often it is that we do this.

The only way around this is communication and working together as one – for the project, not the individual roles within it; but as we know procurement routes are sometimes set up to work against this model. Worse still, companies frequently are too – with separate targets for different departments (e.g. quantity surveying and construction), so we probably need to make the effort ourselves.

Other blogs last month were;

Women in the Workplace- did BIS miss the point? 

5 reasons why respect for people isn’t peripheral, 

How people in construction see one another, 

Why it’s important to know how we view other people; a post rationalisation of the “how we see each other” blog,

and Why you should love a construction hero #loveconstruction #Constructionheros.

* Monthly Quiz

For your chance to win a £20 John Lewis voucher just answer three questions about the newsletter through the Constructing Equality Ltd website

Last month's winner was Rehan Masood, Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Lahore

According to a survey carried out by the Architect’s Journal how many architects from the LGBT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay or Trans) Community felt they could be open about their sexuality on site?

·         8%

·         16%


Which organisation sets the guidelines on freedom of religion and belief
·         Council of the European Union
·         Equality and Human Rights Commission
·         ACAS

What media campaign around the construction section are Construction News currently running?
·         #ConstructionHero
·         #LoveConstruction
·         #Hugasubbie

Submit answers