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Sun December 15 2019

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Building institute president prioritises mental health

26 Jun University of East London pro vice-chancellor Charles Egbu takes over as president of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) on 27 June 2019.

CIOB pesident Charles Egbu
CIOB pesident Charles Egbu

Professor Egbu is making mental health awareness in the construction industry one of the priorities for his on-year term of office.

“Sadly, 1,400 construction workers have been lost to suicide in the UK in the past four years,” he said. “The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that the risk of suicide for low-skilled male construction workers was 3.7 times the national average and more than a quarter of construction employees have considered taking their own life.”

“The construction industry needs to promote and demonstrate examples of best practice,” he said. “The current poor mental health and well-being endemic within the industry calls for boldness and a new way of doing things. We need to be ready to challenge the ‘bad side’ of this so-called ‘macho industry’, where construction personnel find it difficult to communicate how they feel, and at times their mental wellbeing position is ignored altogether.

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“We at UEL are already leading the way in promoting awareness of mental health issues. Similarly, leaders in construction, those on construction sites and in the head offices, must take proactive, positive stances on mental health and wellbeing policies.”

Charles Egbu is the 116th president of the CIOB. He takes over from Gleeds America chief executive Chris Soffe.

Professor Egbu joined the University of East London just last month. Previously he was dean of the School of The Built Environment & Architecture at London Southbank University, where he also held the chair in project management and strategic management in construction.

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