The waging war against ‘constructionism’


Sexism. Racism, Feminism, Ageism, Individualism, Weightism etc etc .. and just about all the other-ism’s that represent some sort of philosophical, political, moral doctrine or a belief system, are all indeed ‘weighty’ issues that are persistently affecting the way we see the world.

Very few things in life may now be seen through ‘rose tinted’ spectacles, as one now has to consider that almost anything one says may offend someone who remains in the grey area within the realm of political correctness. Perhaps, in fact I cannot say grey? I must actually say black or white or risk offence? In 2006, two schools in Oxford changed the lyrics of the famous nursery rhyme ‘Bah Bah Black Sheep’ to ‘Bah Bah Rainbow Sheep’ and thus simultaneously ‘shed’ the epic tradition laden within the wooly rhyme.

The point I make here is we are now living in an age encumbered by judgments and ready-made perceptions coming at us from all directions. We can barely whisper, speak, shout or scream without somehow offending someone or something. Are we in fact hiding behind these ism’s, using them as a platform for judgment?

And so today I have invented my very own –ism, and its very own definition. (as many seem to have invented their very own definitions of the ism’s listed above, well why shouldn’t I).

Definition: ‘Constructionism’ – the act of being (sometimes overly) judgmental towards matters relating to the construction industry.

Arguably, one of the construction industries severest ongoing problems is the poor image and reputation that often surrounds it and thus, many people may be considered ‘constructionists’. This is not to say they have no founded reason at all to be this way, undeniably many feminists are the way they are because even today women still do not necessarily receive the same opportunities as men. Likewise within construction, its fragmented structure, occasional presence of ‘cowboy builders’ and high number of accidents lead to it evidently not being picture perfect and needing improvement. These are also only a small sample of the perceived problems that are often associated with the industry.

‘The UK construction industry is generally perceived as being insufficient, unproductive and low in quality’. Inevitably, because of the nature of the industry it is so frequently associated with issues such as; late payment, late completion, overtime, more frequent accidents, last-minute changes and time constraints. However as the saying goes, you cannot merely judge every book simply by its cover, because not all construction companies are entirely impeded by these so called ‘common’ characteristics. Do not simply fall into the constructionist trap. Maria Commane, Managing Director of SiteMasters Plc, stated that ‘Although a-lot of the problems you have listed are still rife through the sector, not all companies are ruled by them. Over the years, by implementing new rules and legislations many companies have rapidly improved. For example, we understand that late payments to any of our candidates can really affect their quality of life, so at SiteMasters we strive to pay them every week without fail. I started this company because I did not like the way ‘labour hire’ were being treated back in the late 80’s, but if you compare the industry today, it is incredible to see how much better it is’.

Fundamentally, nothing is perfect and certainly no company is. The almighty Google Gods have had a substantial amount of press for their corporate tax evasion and Starbucks, our oh so faithful coffee providers have only just recent decided to start paying corporate tax, after a sneaky 4 year hiatus. Nevertheless, as corporations integral to our society, we appear to have forgiven them and given them a second(?) chance. And lest I say, with forgiving, comes forgetting. Maybe its time we do the same for construction companies too, because after a while, just look at what eventually happened to the ugly duckling.

By Tammy Fernandez-Cox