‘We need to break the stigma surrounding mental health’

454 hard hats laid out at the Leeds College of Building to represent the number of construction workers who commit suicide every year. April 30 2021.
Photo credit: SWNS

A sobering thought. We need to break the stigma surrounding mental health. It is not a sign of weakness to admit you need help – this is an issue that can affect anyone.

The industry needs to take a long hard look at itself: there are contributing issues involved, such as demands to meet the programme, lack of resources, working away from home during the week, long hours and being unable to switch off from work at the weekend.

Mark Swanborough

The whole industry needs a radical overhaul, especially the housing industry. I talk to site managers and all they say is that they would love to do something different with less stress, but it’s hard given the wages being paid, and it’s easier to transfer skills into this industry rather than the other way around.

Just do a survey of the numbers of managers who stay with one company for five years or more and I think you will find this number is a low one compared to other jobs in other industry sectors.

Christopher Eddon

If floor slabs and columns are deteriorating at such a rate then pull it down and replace it. If left in-situ it will always be a reminder of the tragedy which no-one will take the blame for.

Stewart Craven

After all this time, sufficient details of the whole terrible circumstances of this incident must have been established and recorded.

Surely then, the building must be carefully deconstructed starting as soon as possible. Four years on, what ‘value’ is there is keeping this structure in place?

David Nattress

Absolutely brilliant, although it would have been more useful 50 or 60 years ago, when the risks of asbestos were first understood and there was a huge amount of asbestos around.

Kenneth Ferguson

A very interesting development. Are the asbestos fibres converted to a health and environmentally friendly state, or is there a hazardous waste element?

Paul Koning

Thank you for your comments: Mr Ferguson – it would have been better if they had stopped using asbestos 50 or 60 years ago rather than 20 or 30, but at least we can now provide a better way of disposing of it.

Mr Koning – the asbestos is converted to a new substance that is no longer asbestos and is no more harmful than the original asbestos from which it was
derived. Our process has achieved end-of-waste status so there is
no longer any waste element.

Graham Gould, chairman of Thermal Recycling, which recycles asbestos into new construction products

Any news which aids the rollout of retrofit nationally is welcome, given the huge numbers of social homes – estimated as over four million – requiring energy-efficient measures to reduce carbon emissions if we are to achieve net zero by 2050.
Privately owned homes and non-domestic properties need a similar framework though, as these are the majority of buildings needing retrofit energy-efficiency interventions.


I was involved in a similar data-gathering exercise during my career. An enormous sum has already been spent on condition surveys but a completely inadequate sum has been spent on the huge backlog of repairs or replacements.

Peter Madeley

Hopefully the £11.4bn represents the costs of all of the items within the surveys. If this is not the case the total is being wildly underestimated.

Mark Adams

Provide your own feedback on latest industry issues by posting comments online or by emailing the editor at [email protected]

Story for CM? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in Opinion