Diversity and inclusion
Building a 21st Century Professional body through equality
31 JAN 2019
Building Equality is an alliance of construction organisations and professionals working together to drive LGBT+ inclusion in the construction sector. Over the past five years they have grown substantially by expanding their reach from London into regional hubs in Leeds and Manchester.
Chair of Building Equality Manchester, Luke Ives of Civic Engineers and his Co-Chair, John Doyle MRICS of Dooley Associates, tell us more about the group's highlights of 2018 and launching an LGBT+ Toolbox Talk initiative as part of their plans for 2019.
Manchester Pride parade was the highlight of the past year. Over 20 construction organisations joined together to put on a colourful show of unity; promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in the construction industry with 150 construction professionals marching with the rainbow JCB. This year we also held a public out-reach day at Manchester's Exchange Square, where we discussed the changing attitudes and perception of the industry.
Other highlights include Building Equality's Pride entries in London and Leeds, with the rainbow JCB (pictured) leading the way. These events show a real commitment from the industry, that LGBT+ inclusion is to be invested in and that all are welcome to be their true selves in construction.
Our first Manchester event of 2019 will take place during LGBT History Month on 26 February: #BuildingEquality, Diversity and Inclusion into the Built Environment Supply Chain.
This event is free to attend and will provide an evening of discussion, with a panel of industry experts, exploring cross-industry collaboration as a basis for building equality, diversity, and inclusion. We'll also discuss how working together with the whole supply chain can improve the practice, culture, and image of the building industry.
As part of the work to collaborate with the wider supply chain, two Building Equality initiatives have been created: a poster campaign and an LGBT+ Toolbox Talk, which will help improve inclusivity on sites. This will generate greater awareness of the effects of the homophobia and unacceptable language, such as "that's so gay", and the effect that this has on LGBT+ colleagues in the industry. These initiatives will be showcased at the event in February, with a full launch after this on sites and offices in the region.
With a new website launching later in 2019, a detailed calendar of events across the UK, including informal social and networking events, will be available.
Building Equality will take part in the Pride events in Manchester, Leeds and London again this year too, so expect hard hats, glitter and of course our rainbow JCB.
Building Equality harnesses the collective power in the construction sector through cross-industry collaboration. Acting stronger together and being able to support each other will change the industry for the better.
Many Building Equality members have launched their own LGBT+ networks to foster this inclusion in their companies, with members also supporting those without networks and providing the necessary resource and guidance to create these.
Employers are recognising that diversity within their workforce produces not only happier and more productive staff, but also produces alternative thinking; giving them different perspectives, providing a real tangible competitive edge not only in securing work, but also in the way works is completed.
Colleagues and allies need to stand together to help stamp out homophobia from the industry and show that any form of inappropriate language, bullying and intimidation is unacceptable. All Building Equality member companies and supporters sign-up to this responsibility and work together to foster inclusive environments, ultimately changing industry stereotypes.