Building Relationships

Building Relationships
Global Construction Safety Forum. photo Derek Gordon.

‘We’re great at building Homes- we need to be great at building Relationships!’

The above quote has come from Ed Woods, Health &Safety Director, Taylor Wimpey UK. Since the financial crisis of 2008, the building and construction sector has experienced the impact of a significant slow-down in demand across both commercial and house building areas.

The contraction in activity led to many redundancies in all building trades and a loss to the industry of thousands of skilled workers.

So, where have these people gone? They can’t all be driving taxis now surely?

However, house building is now experiencing a significant upturn in demand and consequent activity, the result of which is a critical shortage of skilled labour in a growing market.


“Taylor Wimpey said it is building more homes than at any other point in the last six years, with a rise of 7% in sales in 2015.”

BBC News 6th Jan 2016


“FTSE 100 housebuilder Persimmon increased revenues 13 per cent in 2015 as it built more homes, boosted by house price rises and a government drive to get more people on the housing ladder and that it had completed 14,572 new homes in 2015, an 8 per cent rise from a year earlier.”

Financial Times 7th Jan 2016

This current situation brings with it difficulties, not just recruitment but also in the retention of skilled and experienced operatives. Skilled and experienced workers can pick and choose where they want to work and it’s not just about following the money!  The quality of the experience that companies provide to operatives on a site is a critical factor in retaining staff.

But what do we mean by the experience on site?

Ed Woods Health & Safety Director at Taylor Wimpey says-

‘At Taylor Wimpey we’ve always believed that the quality of the relationships that are developed on sites and elsewhere in our business are a critical element not just in maintaining the highest standards of safety but in the resultant exceptional quality of our homes and developments.

One way that Taylor Wimpey worked on the issue of on-site relationships and interactions was through practical drama based training sessions with senior staff which was designed and delivered by Forum Interactive, the specialist learning and development consultancy. The sessions focused on how the way we choose to communicate expectations to for example Site Managers, has a massive impact on behaviour- particularly on safety but also beyond that to how we see our work more generally.

Ed Woods again-

‘The drama was incredibly realistic and powerful, to the extent that the participants spoke to the actors as if they were an MD or Site Manager- it was totally absorbing. No other training technique has delivered this sort of buy-in.’

If everyone on sites and beyond, considered their behaviour in their interactions with colleagues and the positive influence that they can have on the working relationships and culture of their workplaces then everyone would benefit.

This is from an article written by Glen Robertson. If you’d like to read the whole article please contact and we’ll send you a copy.

Glen Robertson

+44(0) 7920 207730