The construction industry has a very firm stereotype, and while people like myself might be working very hard to dispel those stereotypes, others are doing little about it. In fact over my break, while playing on my favourite social media, I found many to be actively encouraging it. This of course brings about many issues, and today I am exploring what that could mean for the future of our industry.
Stereotypes In The Construction Industry
I call them ‘Yobbo’s’, others call them ‘Blokes’ or ‘Lads’ and many other names I won’t repeat on here. I think we all know the ones, they have no idea how to dress appropriately, or how to speak to clients, they have little care for authority or what others think of them. (Although I am guaranteed to get slammed by many of them over this post)
They are the ones on site, blatantly disregarding the rules, they have little or no care for health and safety. They are often the ones pulling dangerous practical jokes on other workers. Very rarely are these ‘yobbo’s’ the business owners, although I have come across a couple in my time.
Over my break I came across one company that is a regular in my Instagram feed, who on every occasion I saw a photo or video of, are breaking more health and safety rules than I could possibly name. This company are not principal contractors or in regular terms they are not builders, only subcontractors, but they are their own independent business and this business is headed by what I call a typical industry ‘yobbo’.
The photos and videos I found my feed not only broke the rules of the site they were working on, but health and safety law. Thinking drinking on site, playing stupid practical jokes and not following health and safety law, for example working in thongs.
While this business is an independent business, the principal contractor (builder) is responsible for everything they do on site, such are the laws in our country. If one of the subbies in this business are injured or worse still their irresponsible behaviour injures another, the builder is held liable. There are of course variables in the amount we are liable, however as the overarching contractor the buck stops with us.
The problem in our industry is that is very difficult to implement change that effectively eradicates this kind of tradie. It is pushed against on just about every level within the industry, from the apprentices right the way through to business owners and builders. I feel this has come about from an acceptance of this type of person and why something is seen as the norm, it is difficult to change.
But, when something goes wrong, it is all too late and the blame quickly turns to business owner and ultimately builder. So how do we change this acceptance, by taking a stand, as consumers and business owners alike, it is refusing to accept that this kind of behaviour is ok.
Imagine if our office workers were to behave this way, there would be an outcry! However because it’s construction and they are seen as just ‘tradies’ it is largely ignored. It is only when more of us begin to hire only for professionalism that the shift will come and even then, it will be slow.
I don’t know about you, but as a home owner, I don’t want these kinds of people in my home, around my children and my most expensive asset. I want professional people who care about my home, my family and take pride in their jobs, just like I expect from every other aspect in my life.
I’m not fronting up to a Dr or a Lawyer prepared to accept someone smoking a cigarette in front of me, dressed in thongs and no shirt, why should I accept that from my tradesperson, why should you?
It is very difficult for a consumer to have confidence in personalities such as the ones we are discussing. As business owners we need to be sure that we are employing for the correct attitude and if we do find we have a ‘yobbo’ in the mix, work with them to change their culture to meet the expecatations of your company.
It’s time for change, it’s time to ensure consumer confidence and we are all responsible for doing so.
Have you ever come across a ‘yobbo’ on a construction site? How was your experience?