This article argues for, and goes into detail about, a growing need to incorporate human factors into cost estimates for construction project bids, especially given state governments‘ emphasis on promoting mental health and work-life balance for construction workers.

Eric Vigo

Managing Director and Founder of Rebooter Group

Originally authored by

KEY TAKEAWAYS

1. Human-centred (mental health) costs are running into the billions, and this may be having an effect on the cost of construction projects.

2. State governments are prioritising the mental health of construction workers, with the emphasis on five day working weeks.

3. Simple and relatively inexpensive changes in care for construction workers can be implemented rather quickly.

Starting in 2023, contractors in NSW and Victoria bidding on infrastructure projects must commit to a new “culture standard” that promotes better work-life balance and diversity. This initiative aims to tackle the industry’s deep-rooted challenges head-on, challenges that have long been overlooked and have come at a huge cost of $8 billion per year.

At the heart of this push is the call for better and more stable working hours, such as the implementation of a five-day work week. This change promises to bring much-needed flexibility and work-life balance to the predominantly male workforce, particularly for those with families who have long struggled to be present fathers. And it will likely attract female workers, who are highly underrepresented in the industry.

Research has shown that the industry’s long hours, unsafe conditions, and male-dominated culture contribute to high rates of injury, mental illness, suicide, and early death among workers.

 

Costs of ignoring the human side in construction

The human and financial costs of not reforming the industry are staggering1:

  1. Work-related issues cost $6.1 billion in 2018.
  2. Excessive overtime drained $708 million in productivity.
  3. Mental health problems cost $643 million.
  4. Construction worker suicides cost an estimated $533 million.

 

Projects or partnerships, especially those on large sites, that are initially costed by bidders without accounting for worker wellbeing and inclusivity, face imposing additional inefficiencies and escalating total costs. Those who proactively invest in creating a supportive environment and prioritize elements such as work-life balance, mental health support, and diversity will gain a competitive advantage over others who fail to incorporate these crucial factors into their costings.

 

Addressing Mental Health: A Crucial Priority

We argue that organisations or suppliers who do not take these human-skills issues into concern, to the appropriate level, cannot sweep this issue under the carpet as these costs are clear in showing what inaction brings.

6 ways to bring more human elements into the worksite and back office

1. Communication Mastery/Error Reduction

Effective communication is the backbone of successful construction projects. Conveying complex technical details with clarity to diverse stakeholders, including clients, team members, suppliers, subcontractors, and officials. Active listening, articulating ideas precisely, and resolving conflicts through open dialogue are what drives the effectiveness of good communication, and are what reduces the level of error.

2. Problem-Solving Skills

Professionals must swiftly identify and resolve unforeseen issues using critical thinking, creativity, and the capacity to work independently or collaboratively. Innovative solutions that circumvent project derailment are highly valued.

3. Leadership Role-Modelling

Successful construction projects require diverse teams working toward shared objectives. Powerful leaders make sound decisions under pressure, delegate tasks effectively, and motivate team members to achieve project goals through clear communication and support. And they do this through active listening and active acceptance.

Some companies, like Roberts Co, have already successfully implemented five-day schedules on major projects without increasing costs by using weekday overtime. Industry leaders believe verifying the new culture standard should integrate well with existing contractor accountability requirements on public projects.

4. Collaboration Mindset

Construction is a collaborative effort among internal teams and external stakeholders. This means the focus must be on idea-sharing, compromise, and conflict resolution to align efforts and meet deadlines cohesively. And that means postponing the need to throw out trigger words that shut down this idea-sharing so easily.

5. Adaptability and Resilience

The construction industry is ever-evolving, demanding professionals to adapt to new technologies, materials, methods, and regulations. Agility and flexibility enable them to think outside the box, devise creative solutions, and navigate challenges without disrupting project timelines.

6. Relationship Building

Construction projects are long-term investments for clients. Building strong, trust-based relationships through effective communication, empathy, and persuasion is essential to ensuring client satisfaction with the final product and fostering lasting partnerships.

 

IN SUMMARY

It is estimated that the government would need to build 60,000 homes each quarter, which would require a workforce of 90,000 people more than currently exists.

By prioritising worker wellbeing and creating a more sustainable, humane, inclusive and supportive environment, people will stay in the industry and lives will be saved, and this also enhances productivity, safety, and overall project success.

 

REFERENCES

1. Michael Bleby (8/9/2021), ‘Changing culture in construction would save $8b‘, Australian Financial Review’,

2. General Construction (18/10/2023), ‘The Top 8 Soft Skills That Lead to Success in the Construction Industry‘, CIC Construction’.

OTHER ARTICLES BY REBOOTER GROUP

Three Ways You Can Hone Your Leadership Skills With Improv

The Improv idea of "yes" is probably one of the most mainstream principles that really does amazing things in communication when put into practice.Originally authored by1. Find Comfort In Uncomfortable Situations 2. Learn To Communicate And Listen 3. Start To Take...

We Need Imagination Now More Than Ever

Imagination is also one of the hardest things to keep alive under pressure.Companies that are able to do so can reap significant value.Originally authored by1) Carve out time for reflection; 2) Ask active, open questions; 3) Allow yourself to be playful; 4) Set up a...

Improvisation Takes Practice

Managers and employees who are capable improvisers will steer their companies through crises and paradigm shifts, from technological breakthroughs and changing trade regulations to environmental disasters and the myriad challenges associated with the Covid-19...

Cracking the Code of Sustained Collaboration

Leaders who are frustrated by a lack of collaboration can start by asking themselves a simple question: What have they done to encourage it today.It is only by regularly owning their own mistakes, listening actively and supportively to people’s ideas, and being...

Using Improv to Unite Your Teams

… Teams often don’t improve employee engagement or productivity. Leaders tend to dominate the conversation; they don’t listen and shut down others’ ideas. Consequently, team members are often too afraid, or simply too bored and disengaged, to contribute their own...

Can Improv Improve Marketing?

After participating in the Forbes CMO Excursion with the Wharton Future of Advertising Program, it was easy to see that improv is much more than just tickling a funny bone.Originally authored byListening: Improvisers must actively listen, focus, observe and be able to...

How Empowering Your Staff Can Prevent Million-Dollar Losses

In this article, we cover white agility is – as definitions are essential – what the workplace can look like, when it lives in agility, and watch challenges, you will face in bringing this into the workforce. Originally authored by1. Agility, defined as the ability to...

Why Improv Training Is Great Business Training

“When you’re meeting things habitually with ‘"Yes, And",’ with an energy of agreement, you transform the way people perceive you.” Originally authored by They must be present in the moment, listening carefully, and contributing freely. “You need to be comfortable not...

Retaining Customers and Enhancing CX through Service Improvisation

In this article, we cover white agility is – as definitions are essential – what the workplace can look like, when it lives in agility, and watch challenges, you will face in bringing this into the workforce. Originally authored by1. Agility, defined as the ability to...

6 Ways Employees Can Navigate Organisational Change

Avoiding a survival instinct in your staff during periods of change will help your organisation thrive under any new changes the organisation needs to make. This is often ignored, and is the focus of this article.Originally authored by1. Embrace a positive mindset 2....

5 Keys To Embedding an Agility Mindset Across Your Orgnaisation

In this article, we cover what agility is – as definitions are essential – and what the workplace can look like, when it lives in agility, and watch challenges, you will face in bringing this into the workforce. Originally authored by1. Agility, defined as the ability...

How Improv is Helping Banks Navigate the Challenges of the 2020s

With numerous challenges affecting the banking sector in 2024, banks need to get more creative to invest in new capabilities and regulators to ensure financial stability, competition, innovation, operational resilience, governance, and public confidence. Through...

Addressing the Intangibles: Overcoming Internal Blocks to Profitability

Being in the present (and not the past or future in your head) can be difficult, particularly in uncertain times. However, it has power and potency in all areas of decision-making and leadership.Originally authored by1. When you slow down, you become more efficient...

Expecting a ‘Black Swan’ event before it happens

When you actively and deeply listen, you can expect and counter Black Swan events quicker and easier, thus saving your organisation a lot of potential grief and open up to a lot of potential opportunity.Originally authored by1. Have a more adaptable mindset, embrace...

The Importance of Human Skills in Decision Making: “Thinking Slow to Move Fast”

Being in the present (and not the past or future in your head) can be difficult, particularly in uncertain times. However, it has power and potency in all areas of decision-making and leadership.Originally authored by1. When you slow down, you become more efficient...

How Improv Methods from Comedy Can Lift Business Performance

“When you’re meeting things habitually with ‘"Yes, And",’ with an energy of agreement, you transform the way people perceive you.” Originally authored by1. “yes” on its own is a definitive end. “And,” is the bridge to what you do with this information. 2. It should be...

Enhancing Mediation Practice Through the Art of Improvisation

When the stakes are high, the preparation from applied improvisation methodology training allows the brain to manage emotions more effectively and stay focused on building upon what the others are saying. In it's place at the right time, practice in AIM during...

A New Era for Construction: Prioritising Worker Wellbeing

This article argues for, and goes into detail about, a growing need to incorporate human factors into cost estimates for construction project bids, especially given state governments' emphasis on promoting mental health and work-life balance for construction...
Loading...
Verified by MonsterInsights