United Living Property Services leading the way on gender diversity
United Living Group is passionate about increasing gender diversity within the construction industry and is committed to doing all it can to make construction and infrastructure an exciting and attractive career option for women.
An all-female team from our Property Services division is behind one of our key fire safety prevention projects in partnership with Baily Garner and Richmond Housing Partnership in London Borough Richmond-upon-Thames.
Traditionally construction is a male-dominated profession, but all of the project delivery team on-site at Jamieson & Slade House and Sandown Court on the Hounslow Heath Estate are women.
The project management team includes Ashleigh Wallis, Quantity Surveyor; Michelle Jones, Resident Liaison Officer; Nicola Hartley, Site Manager; Donna Jennings, Contracts Manager; Cheryl Gray, SHEQ Advisor and site apprentice, Samantha Maclver.
They manage all aspects of the site, including the logistical challenge of managing multiple tradespeople, health and safety standards, managing staff and ensuring the programme is built on time, as planned and to budget.
Fire prevention measures include designing and installing a new sprinkler system to all three blocks along with additional fire safety upgrades, smoke detectors, increased lighting, and suspended ceiling renewals.
A stand out achievement from this project has been the level of resident engagement and satisfaction. The team achieving 99% satisfaction on a 73% return rate, which during the COVID-19 pandemic is a fantastic achievement.
The £1.5 million scheme is due to be completed at the end of this month.
Ashleigh Wallis, Quantity Surveyor, United Living Property Services, said: “My team and I are proud of the work that we have achieved during what has been a challenging time for all during COVID-19.
“Our relationship with both Baily Garner and Richmond Housing Partnership has gone from strength to strength as the project has progressed, and they have told us on numerous occasions how they are treating Sandown Court, which is a sheltered scheme as a pilot for another 15 projects that they have in the pipeline, which is really positive”.
“Since working at United Living, I have carried out numerous talks to all-girl schools promoting women in construction. It is nice to know that I can refer to Richmond and the first all-female run project at United Living when asked in the future.
“Providing women, especially young girls, with early exposure to the industry will encourage them to pursue a career in construction. It needs to be made clear that it is a viable and rewarding career route which is open to them, and it is an industry with endless possibilities”.
According to national statistics, just 10.3% of the construction workforce comprises women, and no more than 1% of employees working on-site are women.
Donna Jennings, Contracts Manager, United Living Property Services, said: “It has been a really enjoyable project to work on. All of us have played a part in the delivery of a successful project, it’s been a true testament of a team coming together. No one feels like they can’t ask questions, we continuously bounce ideas around, and we have all learnt something new on this project that we can take on board for the future .”
“We as a team have faced many challenges on this project that we have had to overcome, and we are very proud of what has been achieved”.
“That said, whilst it is important to celebrate this scheme, I think it’s important to remember that there is nothing holding women back from any role they want to achieve, and it should not be so rare to find a site management team of this nature.
“I have recently joined United Living, and I am excited for what is to come, the construction industry has not only paved the path for a lifelong career but has shaped me into the person I am today”.
Dave Rooney, Managing Director, United Living Property Services, said: “I am a firm believer that an inclusive and balanced business leads to better outcomes for our customers and a great place to work for our people.
“We are at the forefront of unlocking the wealth of opportunity the construction industry offers to both men and women. Consequently, we have an ambitious drive to increase female representation in what is widely perceived as a male-dominated industry by 2025.
“The all-female project delivery team at our Hounslow Heath scheme is a testament to our commitment to promoting women within the industry. Those inspirational role models will hopefully lead to more young women considering a career in construction”.
As an equal opportunities employer, United Living Group plays a proactive role in helping women to develop their careers in the construction industry.
United Living Group recently launched its ‘United & Inclusive Action Plan’, providing a platform for all employees to bring their own unique perspective to the development of United Living Group’s working culture and create a fair and inclusive workplace.
United Living Group is also a Women into Construction (WIC) organisation member. A vital element of the company’s ongoing work is to increase female representation in its staff and the industry.