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We need to banish the ‘bar room’ culture on construction sites

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At Glanville we are incredibly proud of the construction industry we are part of but recognise that more needs to be done to promote innovation and diversity.

For example, currently women represent only 13% of the construction workforce, but this reduces to just 3% for manual trades. The UK has a particularly poor record of women in construction relative to other European countries.

We are committed to being part of the solution, not the problem.

One way in which we are doing this is through the Silverstone Park Project where we have teamed up with client MEPC and other members of the construction team to drive change and encourage more women into construction using this scheme as a landmark for new initiatives.

Silverstone Park is situated in Northamptonshire at the heart of the Silverstone Technology Cluster, and provides a global destination for innovation, business development and engineering. MEPC is developing the site into a technology park with approximately 2.1 million sq. ft. of primarily light industrial floorspace for engineering and technology companies. Outline planning permission has been granted and the first phases of construction are underway that will deliver some 275,000 sq. ft.

A construction project on such a scale requires a huge amount of different trades and professions to be involved. We are working with MEPC, Project Manager & Cost Consultant Ridge and Contractors Barnwood & Forkers to create the systems and processes required to facilitate and encourage a more diverse and gender-equal workforce.

The aim is to use the Silverstone Park Project as a landmark example to the wider industry of what can be done to promote diversity, inclusivity and equality within the construction sector.

This week we are proud to be launching, alongside MEPC and other members of the construction team, a new code of conduct that will drive a change in the ‘bar room’ culture of construction sites that acts as a real barrier to entry for women and other groups.

The code of conduct will also be supported by a range of practical measures including improved welfare facilities, women-specific PPE (Protective clothing and equipment), unconscious bias training and business volunteering at local schools to help make a real difference.

Glanville recently launched a new set of Core Values which are an open promise to strive to be better and to be a model for what the industry should be doing. One of these core values states that ‘We are one team’. This is underpinned by a set of behaviours that commit us to encouraging an inclusive culture where everyone is respected and given equal treatment and opportunities. The Silverstone Park project initiative is a key part of living these core values.

As part of the initiative we are also supporting Gaia Innovation’s “Inspiration for Innovation” programme in the Silverstone area. This will see members of Team Glanville deliver presentations on careers in Civil Engineering to students at Sponne School in Towcester on 3 March.

John Birch, Glanville’s Project Director for the Silverstone Park project, said: “With such a massive skills shortage the UK Construction industry needs to do more to encourage women into the sector to develop meaningful careers. This code of conduct is a hugely important step to help change attitudes & behaviours as well as promoting respect, diversity and inclusivity. Glanville is committed to driving change and being a positive role model for our industry.”.

Roz Bird, Commercial Director at MEPC Silverstone Park, said:

“Glanville are making a great contribution to encouraging gender equality and diversity in the construction sector, as part of the core construction team, at Silverstone Park. Together we are developing a strategy to promote diversity and equality on construction sites.

Glanville staff are also driving a change in attitudes towards construction careers with the next generation by supporting the Gaia Innovation ‘Inspiration for Innovation’ initiative. An exciting programme of events with local schools where business representatives raise awareness of the opportunities available in their industry, and where Glanville is championing the construction sector.

The Glanville team’s commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive construction workforce is essential, and I hope their example will encourage others to become involved.”