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Graham Watts, chief executive of the Construction Industry Council joins Andrew Carpenter as he deconstructs the construction industry. Graham was manager of Great Britain’s fencing team at the 2008 Summer Olympics and Chairman of the National Dance Awards.

June is Pride Month. It’s a global month-long celebration which honours visibility and inclusion for the LGBT+ community.  As such – you will see many organisations host events, show off the rainbow flag (I’m loving CESW’s June logo!) and write articles (like this one) about how important Pride is.

Pride is one of the most effective civil rights movements in history, but for those who think that securing gay marriage meant the end of the fight, there is still so much to do for so many – including fighting for the rights and lives of LGBT+ people around the globe, tackling LGBT+ hate crime, including and improving LGBT+ education in schools, and securing true equal rights once and for all.

This year is different, there are no Pride Parades for communities to come together to celebrate the importance of LGBT+ rights and culture.  However, the Covid-19 pandemic has made the use of virtual technology, essential; not just for Pride, but for everything.  Enabling families, businesses and communities to keep in contact and do whatever we can, remotely.  In fact, I’ve never seen so many LGBT+ Pride flags flying, as all around the country we are showing our thanks to key workers and the NHS.

There are many Pride events happing across the country, throughout this month; for example, my partner and I joined Building Equality’s* ‘Bingo Lingo’ event.  A fun, virtual, bingo session with people joining from across the country, we learnt some new bingo calls…’No.41 – Graham Nor-ton’; ‘No.66 – Cherry Chapstick’; ‘No.2 – Danny La Rue’ (only those over a certain age got this one)…to name but a few and much to our delight, we even won a ‘full house’ – prizes in the post!  On reflection, I have found that I am connecting with a far broader cohort of people, both socially and in work, through our use of video conferencing, so perhaps there are some positives to be had from this lock-down?

I would encourage everyone to do what they can to show support for our LGBT+ colleagues, and minorities, more generally.  For many years now the construction industry has been grappling with some major issues: an ageing and shrinking workforce; a lack of skills and capacity; not to mention, the need for productivity and innovation.

Under-investment in training and recruitment, combined with the poor image of construction are a key focus. If we are to attract more new entrants, young people and more women into the sector, the industry must innovate and push for change.  As we start to emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown, we need to be more diverse and inclusive as an industry.

CESW is the organisation charged with driving the change agenda, through our commitment to leadership, quality and people.  Our driving ambition is to provide an industry of opportunity.  We can all help to create a truly diverse and inclusive industry – one where your sexual orientation or gender identity is not seen as an issue, or creates a barrier to entry or progression; an industry that recognises, people perform better when they can be themselves; an industry where the members are visible allies and use their roles to create a workplace culture that is inclusive of everyone – an environment where people can be themselves at work.

Let’s celebrate Pride…and have Pride in all that we do!

On that note, I’m off for a ‘No.3 – Cup of herbal tea’.

*Building Equality is an alliance of construction consultants, engineers, developers, contractors, and institutions who are passionate about working together and harnessing our collective power to drive LGBT+ inclusion in the construction industry.

Lisa Broom Senior Development Manager  Homes England

It is hard to believe that we have been dealing with the coronavirus (COVID‐19) pandemic for four weeks now and we have issued a Build UK update every day since it started.

The relentless pace and volume of change, along with the unprecedented level of information to be absorbed, has created significant challenges for many in the industry.

Following the Easter break, which offered the opportunity to re‐group and look ahead, more sites are expected to re‐open, implementing the new ways of working required for the ‘social distancing’ environment in which we now live.

The calls from Build UK and the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) for collaboration across the industry have reminded everyone that there will be a post‐coronavirus world and it is in all our interests to maintain and sustain the construction supply chain.

There will be more changes this week, starting with publication of the Site Operating Procedures ‐ Version 3 later today. These will include the latest Public Health England (PHE) guidance on Social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID‐19) published last week, additional information on the hierarchy of control measures to reduce the risk of transmission, and the need to monitor implementation of the procedures.

The latest PHE guidelines include the following statements:

In the sector‐specific Construction guidance:

“Where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the site to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.”

In the Transport Businesses guidance under ‘Use of private vehicles and car pooling’:

“If the journey is essential, such as travel to work, and there is no option but to share a car with people who are not part of the same household, journeys should be shared with the same individuals and with the minimum number of people at any one time.”

Read our latest statement which includes new guidance from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) on First Aid arrangements.

Further Information

Businesses should continue to follow the most up‐to‐date Government guidance and for the latest updates please follow Build UK on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have any construction‐specific queries or feedback on what is happening within the industry, please contact Build UK.

Weston College are offering online Health and Safety Courses


This will allow you to complete your training from home whilst social distancing, in just a couple of days.

They are also able to offer you this training with funding, which will reduce the cost for you and your colleagues.

You can book online

They will be adding more dates to the website in the coming weeks as they become available so check back if you can’t do the first slots.

In light on the unfolding COVID-19 situation we are following Government advice closely, taking all necessary precautions and will continue to monitor the situation.

The health and wellbeing of our team and members is our top priority. Our team is now working from home and are fully operational.

Constructing Excellence South West has converted all our regional events to online meetings.

We will continue to review this and keep you updated.

Any meetings that cannot be held virtually will be postponed until we have further clarity.

As many people will be working remotely for the foreseeable future we will be exploring ways in which we can make best use of online technologies to continue engage at this crucial time.

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