Beyond the Build

Community Service

Are Good Manners the Next Trend in Construction?

As business leaders, I think it is always good to stay in the loop and try to identify current industry trends. We want to be on the front end of things that are moving in the right direction. I’ve written about economy-related pricing trends and green building, but what’s on the horizon now? I think we’re about to see a little more of the Golden Rule in action. Maybe this goes along with the reuse, recycle and sustainability aspect we are seeing on sites. Maybe it’s a trend toward job sites that are friendlier to consumers as well as the total environment. Here’s why.

I recently read an article in Architectural Record about the city of New York pressing contractors to present a more positive image on city construction sites. While the approaches vary, the theme is not so different from an initiative I stumbled upon in London last fall.

The UK Considerate Constructors Scheme is a national project founded in 1997. Sites and companies that register are monitored against a “Code of Considerate Practice” designed to encourage best practices beyond legal requirements. The Scheme covers any area of construction with direct or indirect impact on the image of the industry as a whole, and focuses on 3 categories: the general public, the workforce and the environment. More than 40,000 sites have participated so far.

So what does the Code of Considerate Practice include to protect builders from getting a bad rap and improve industry image? Here are the 8 basic premises for site evaluation and grading:

  1. Considerate: Does the site minimize inconveniences for all those who may be affected by the work?
  2. Environment: What is the site doing to minimize impact on the environment?
  3. Cleanliness: Is the site doing all it can to appear tidy and well presented at a standard the industry should be proud of?
  4. Good Neighbor: How well is the site communicating with those who may be interested/affected? What impression will contractor leave behind when finished?
  5. Respectful: Does every person on the site create a positive image of their company and the industry?
  6. Safe: Is there a proactive approach driving up safety standards?
  7. Responsible: Is the contractor playing a role in the recruitment and training of the industry’s future workforce?
  8. Accountable: Is the contractor accountable and accessible? What is being done to create a sense of pride in working in construction? Are there any measures taken on the site that could be classed as exceptional and unique?

How’s that for a report card? If you could improve your grades in those 8 areas, think about what you could do for your community and your business. It’s happening in London. It’s happening in New York City. Can you make it happen in your city?

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.