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Roadmap to Change in UK Building and Construction

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) launched its Roadmap for Change at FutureBuild 2020 in London, UK. It is built on the Building People aggregating platform. Their vision is to have “An inclusive and attractive built environment that represents the communities that we serve.”

 

Roadmap for Change
The launch of the Roadmap for Change at FutureBuild in London, March 2020.

There were celebrations at Futurebuild 2020 in London, as the Construction Industry Council (CIC) launched its Roadmap for Change. CIC’s Diversity and Inclusion Panel created the initiative. Its Chair, Maria Coulter spearheaded the panel. The aim of the Roadmap for Change is not only to share best practice to showcase what is already being done. Also, they wish to ‘join the dots’ so ‘we can all learn from and support each other along the way’. Rather than creating a website and content in isolation, the CIC’s Diversity and Inclusion panel decided to partner with Building People and to add content to the Building People platform. As it all becomes aggregated in one place, it will be easier for individuals to find and access material. But: “This new platform is not a compilation of existing stuff”, as Building People Founder and Chief Dot-joiner, Rebecca Lovelace said.

Roadmap for Change

The Roadmap for Change followed an industry-wide CIC survey to celebrate the organisation’s 30th anniversary which asked some key questions. One of those questions was: ‘What, if anything, would make you leave the industry?’. It received over 1,100 responses. Six key themes were extracted from the data; image, progression, procurement, inclusive design, leadership and technology. In the digital roadmap, key initiatives and examples of best practice are displayed in relation to each theme. The Roadmap for Change strives for ‘an inclusive and attractive built environment that represents the communities that we serve’. These words come from Maria Coulter.

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Not the end of the journey

Roadmap for Change
Marie Coulter: “The roadmap is a way of sharing the great work the industry is doing to bring change and help others to do it too. This is not the end of the journey, but the start.”

Coulter took the stage at FutureBuild 2020 for a celebratory launch. In her speech at the launch, she emphasized that, “as an industry we work in silos. The roadmap is a way of sharing the great work the industry is doing to bring change and help others to do it too. This is not the end of the journey, but the start. We are delighted to have got this off the ground and we hope that all companies will engage with it and contribute so that it becomes a first port of call for good ideas and shared practice.” The Considerate Constructors Scheme sponsored the launch. The organisation’s Executive Chair, Isabel Martinson, also attended and spoke at the event. She remarked that the industry needs “more true life role models in order to enable children to see relatable characters.”

The future is ethical and inclusive

A discussion panel on ethics and inclusivity coincided with the launch of the Roadmap for Change was. Sir James Wates, CBE, Chairman of the Wates Group, the CBI Construction Council and of the BRE Trust dropped the first bombshell. “The construction sector has been too male, too stale and too pale”, he remarked. Women in the UK currently make up about 12 per cent of the construction sector workforce. Of these, very few are in manual jobs. As far as the gender pay gap is concerned, construction ranks as one of the worst industries for pay inequality, with women paid 35 per cent less than men on average. Admittedly, some progress has been made with the election of female Presidents to various professional institutions and as CEOs of significant construction industry organisations. Still, there is still too great a gender imbalance in the sector.

Inclusivity, change of perception

Roadmap for Change
Professor Charles Egbu on ethics and the topic of modernday slavery in the construction sector.

A socially responsible industry will also aim for greater inclusivity. When Professor Charles Egbu, of the University of East London took the stage, he wasn’t prepared to suffer fools lightly. He steered right into the topic of modern-day slavery in the construction sector. Melanie Leech, CEO of the British Property Federation signaled that there’s a need to change the perception of what it’s like to be working in real estate and construction. “Young people dismiss the construction sector for all the well-known reasons/ prejudices”, said Carol Lynch, CEO of the Construction Youth Trust. Debunking the frailty myth, Amanda Long, CEO of the Considerate Constructors Scheme said: “how can we myth-bust those ideas of red tape around this ‘unsafe’ construction site?”

Roadmap for Change.
Random diversity at the Greenspan booth during FutureBuild 2020 in London.

Flex Appeal, My Whole Self

Of course, there still is a lot to do. Maria Coulter pointed to the Flex Appeal campaign for more flexible working. Also, there’s the recently launched My Whole Self initiative. Last month, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England released the My Whole Self toolkit, the digital centerpiece of its new campaign for workplace culture change. Coulter called them “examples of good news in diversity and inclusiveness”. And on we go…