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Friday 3 August

Constructing Equality


A pommel horse walks into a parallel bar. The barman says "is this a joke about gymnastics?" The horse beams.

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What a mixed bag the Olympics have been, from a construction lens its disappointing that there has been little mention of anyone other than the Starchitects. Other Architects, Engineers and Builders associated with the project might almost not exist. So we fully support the campaign of RIBA and Angela Bradey to “name drop” as many of those as possible from 12 noon today. We love the idea and hope other institutes will get involved so we can take this chance to let the world know how amazing the built environment is.

On the plus side though it was wonderful to see the 500 construction workers at the Olympic ceremony and having judged the Equality and Diversity section of the ODA awards feel that if more of us follow the example of John McCallion from Balfour Beatty we will be heading down the right road.

In other news we are looking forward to seeing the direction taken by the new chief construction advisor and hope that fairness, inclusion and respect shows up on his agenda. Also we have been asked to start an anonymous blog to allow folks in construction to air their views in a safe environment – so let us know if you want to take part.

Happy Building



New Construction Czar Appointment Announced.

Peter Hansford, the former Institute of Civil Engineers President, has been named as the successor to Paul Morrell who is the current government construction adviser. 

Seventeen people applied for the post and the applicants were whittled down to a shortlist of six. 

Peter will step down from his role as executive director at management consultant Nichols Group upon taking up the post in December.

In a statement to Construction Manager, Paul Morrell said: “Peter has been engaged with the strategy virtually since its inception, chairing the steering group for infrastructure and attending the equivalent steering group for the government’s direct programme. He therefore has a deep understanding of what we are trying to do, combined with the organisational skills to lead implementation and the experience of the industry to know if tuning is required.”

You can read more at  Construction Manager .


RIBA Olympics Name Dropping Event. 12 Noon 03/08/2012

RIBA, The Royal Institute Of British Architects has announced that they will be holding a name dropping event at the RIBA Portland Place Headquarters in London at 12 noon on 03/08/2012. This is the latest part of their campaign to get the designers, engineers and architects of the Olympic buildings recognised for their work. 

Angela Brady, President of RIBA will be unfurling a banner that includes the names of all of the people affected by the marketing gag order. The banner will be released down the side of their HQ building for all to see. 


Arup Become First Engineering Firm To Join Programme Promoting Gay Equality For Staff.

Arup has become the first engineering firm to join Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme. The programme, run by the gay equality charity, helps employers to develop inclusive workplace cultures for their lesbian, gay and bisexual staff in order to ensure that all staff can perform to their full potential.

Arup is a global consulting firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists employing over 10,000 people worldwide. Arup joins businesses as diverse as The Royal Navy, MI5, British Transport Police and Ernst & Young on the programme, which has over 600 major employer members.

Chris Edwards, Client Manager at Stonewall says: 'We are delighted to be working with Arup through our Diversity Champions programme. Arup has recognised that there are positive steps they can make to further improve the working lives of gay employees. Our members are progressive employers who want to recruit, recognise, and support the very best staff regardless of background. The best employers understand that providing support for all their staff improves their operational effectiveness.' 

To find out how you can be the second construction company to work towards LGBT equality contact Chris Edwards at Stonewall.


Rider Levett Bucknall Associate To Head RICS Matrics Nationally.

Rider Levett Bucknall associate Rebecca Best has been promoted to chairman elect of the UK board of RICS Matrics, the branch for students, trainees and surveyors less than 10 years qualified.
Manchester-based Best has been involved with the RICS for 12 years and was the first female chairman of the RICS QS Professional Group in Greater Manchester. She has also chaired the RICS Matrics Greater Manchester, and sits on the RICS North West Regional Board and RICS Matrics UK Board.
The new role is national provides access to the RICS President and input into the RICS global strategy. It also means that Best will gain a place on the RICS Governing Council, which sets RICS strategy.
She said: "I'd like to thank Rider Levett Bucknall for its continued support of my involvement with RICS and would welcome any suggestions from anyone regarding this new role or for people who want to get more involved."
RICS Matrics supports members entering or not long in the surveying profession and promotes networking opportunities and influences the future direction of the industry.

Thanks to Place Northwest for the info.


The End Of No Win, No Fee For Expert Witnesses.

Construction Manager has published details of new legal guidance from the Civil Justice Council (CJC). 

The guidance states that construction professionals who act as expert witnesses can no longer be paid on a contingency-fee basis, except in very rare circumstances. Contingency fees – where the expert is told by an appointing solicitor that the fee depends on winning the case – has been viewed with suspicion by the judiciary for some time. In future, all experts must demonstrate to instructing solicitors that they comply with and have a full understanding of Part 35 of the CPR, Practice Direction 35, the revised guidance and the practice direction on pre-action-conduct.

Read the full article by Construction Manager here.


WAMT Appoints New Trustee.

WAMT, The national organisation for tradeswomen and women training in the trades, has appointed a new trustee, Ceri Wilmott. 

They have also extended the appointment of Interim Chief Executive Andrea Kelmanson, who will now continue to work for WAMT for one day per week until the end of the year.


****BEST PRACTICE********

The Rise Of The Female Construction Worker In Brazil.

The Economist reports that the number of female construction workers in Brazil increased by nearly half between 2007 and 2009, to 173,000 out of 2.22m workers. Brazil, just like the UK is facing a skills and labour shortage and Brazilian women are stepping up and moving away from the traditionalist sectors to work within the construction industry.

Deise Gravina, an engineer by training, founded Mão na Massa, which roughly translated means "Get your hands dirty", in 2007. This non profit organisation trains extremely poor women in some of the most in-demand trades: plumbing, house-painting, bricklaying and concrete formwork.

Once qualified, graduates have seen their monthly earnings rise from just 44 reais ($21) on average to 631 reais ($301). The organisation has also attracted sponsorship from some of the larger construction companies such as Petrobras and Eletrobras. Interestingly, male manual labourers view women as equals as they have seen their own mothers do everything up to and including building their own homes. Engineers and architects are not quite so openminded yet but there is hope. 

Read the full article here


Seddon Celebrates 75 Years With 75 Apprenticeships.

The Seddon Group are celebrating their 75th anniversary by creating 75 apprenticeships. They have held over 50 careers events in schools, colleges and back-to-work schemes. The response was so strong that they decided to extend the deadline by six weeks and sixty-five per cent of applicants met the trade entry criteria required by CITB ConstructionSkills. They are offering apprenticeships in trades including bricklaying, plumbing, plastering, carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating and maintenance. Apprentices are guided by an apprentice manager who mentors them throughout their training and supports their college-based learning. Read the full story here.

Thanks to Place Northwest for the information. 


The Considerate Constructors Scheme Reaches 60,000 Site Registrations.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme has now reached an enormous 60,000 site registrations. An increase of 10,000 in the last year alone. 

David Wilson Homes registered their site Kings Down in Bridgwater, becoming the 60,000th Site Registration since the Scheme began 15 years ago. The event was marked by the presentation of a commemorative plaque for the site. 

Read the full CCS press release here.

In other CCS news: Earlier this year, the Considerate Constructors Scheme announced that it would be launching its newest addition to the ever-expanding range of Ivor Goodsite products, his very own educational workbook. From the workbook’s inception and earliest design stage back in late 2011, to the recent trialling events, Ivor Goodsite’s Construction Site Safety Workbook is now ready and will be available to purchase from the 6th August 2012.

To order a copy, email or call 0800 783 1423.


Pathways To Success - Building Pathways To Work In North London.

The Construction Youth Trust have been giving unemployed young people in Islington training on the basics of construction in a unique project in London this month.  Two groups are taking part in an 8-week course to build a curved wall around a path in their local community. The project, in partnership with Bemerton Villages Management Organisation and Islington Council, aims to give them real-life experience of a construction project and skills which they can use to find employment. Read more about this great initiative here.


The Best And Worst Places In The World To Be A Woman.

Co.exist have published an informative article about the best and worst places in the world to be a woman. It shows shocking disparities between countries with as much as a 31 year difference in life expectancy between the highest country, Norway, and the lowest ranked country, Somalia. Women in Palestine suffer the worst in terms of the ratio of female to male earned income at 12%. The article also explores the levels of modern contraception used, length of education and the percentage of government seats held by women. See the infographic and read the article here.


The disability that’s coming out of hiding - Construction Manager on Dyslexia

Another good article from Construction Manager this time looking at how we as an industry can do more to help those in our industry working with Dyslexia. 


2012 Women Of The Future Awards.

Nominations are open for the 2012 Women Of The Future Awards. Although most of the awards are not specific to the built environment,  this is an opportunity to nominate somebody that you think should be recognised for their achievements. 

The following categories are now open:

The event is being held in association with Shell and nominations close on the 14th September 2012. You can nominate people by visiting the Women Of The Future Awards Website or by either emailing Gemma Nunn or calling her on 020 7045 7600.


Applications Now Open For The Duke Of Gloucester’s Young Achievers Scheme.

The Duke of Gloucester's Young Achievers Scheme is an opportunity for exceptional young professionals to be commended and celebrated for their achievements.  The finalists will be judged by a prestigious panel of experts through a rigorous process of presentations and interviews. The scheme is run by the Construction Youth Trust, whose patron is the Duke of Gloucester. 

There are four main categories open to entrants under the age of 30 (as of 30th January 2013) who are working in the construction industry and one overall winner:

  • Architecture
  • Surveying
  • Engineering
  • Project Management
  • Overall Winner

The judges will be particularly looking for young people who have not only achieved excellence in their careers so far but may have had to overcome challenges to get there.  They will also look for individuals who have gone the extra mile to promote construction as a career or helped others in the wider community.

Visit the CYT website here to download an application form. 



GeCo Releases New Gender Competence Toolkits.

GeCo, the website dedicated to improving gender equality competence of people responsible for personnel development in private enterprises and higher education, has released an invaluable selection of toolkits designed to aid businesses decrease the gender gap and increase the talent pool. The toolkits are specific to the size of your company and there are many options to choose from to ensure that you get the correct toolkit for your needs.

You can access the toolkits here.



The Government Equality Office Needs Your Views On Childcare.

Sarah Teather, Minister for Children and Families, and Maria Miller, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions are leading a commission on childcare announced by the Prime Minister on 19 June.

The commission is looking at how to reduce the costs of childcare for working families, and burdens on childcare providers, without compromising the safety or quality of provision. This call for evidence will inform the work of the commission which will report in the autumn. It particularly seeks views from parents and carers, those working in the sector, owners and managers of settings, schools, employers, and organisations with an interest in child development, safety, labour market and employment matters.

Read more and give your views here.



We were recently contacted by a woman working in construction with a proposition; she wanted to know if Constructing Equality would host an anonymous blog. The idea behind this had come from a series of recent experiences that she felt may have been detrimental to her career but she was unsure what to do about them. It wasn’t so much that she was looking for answers but more of a place to let off steam, talk about the behaviour she had encountered and interact with others who have had similar experiences. Whilst it is unfortunate that she does not feel she can do this openly without fear of reprisal, We understand her concern.

And so we agreed, from next month we shall be hosting the anonymous blog a place where people, and we do mean people of any age, sex, race, ability etc can write a blog post which we will host. 

To find out more, visit the Constructing Equality Blog.


Last month's quiz question was taken from the UK Disability History Month website. So thanks to them for providing the information.

The correct answer was B) 1 in 5. We had many correct entries, and some that were not quite so correct. The randomly selected winner from last month's correct entries is: Katie Speakman of Vinci Construction. 

Well done to Katie a £20.00 M&S voucher will be winging it's way to her very shortly.

This month's quiz question is as follows: 

  • What does NAWIC stand for?

Send your answer to matt@constructingequality.co.uk to be in with a chance of winning this months £20.00 M&S voucher.



This months useful Twitter user is Angela Brady, President of RIBA and a Director at Brady Mallalieu Architects. Angela is a regular tweeter and imparts information regarding all aspects of Architecture and she is also doing her best to overcome the Olympics marketing ban.

You can find her profile page on Twitter here.