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Construction Company Listening to the Needs of Deaf Builders



The UK’s first all-deaf contractor is tackling disability discrimination in the construction industry with its unique approach to hiring builders.

 

EGL Construction employs a team of 12 deaf builders, ranging from those who are profoundly deaf to those with some degree of residual hearing.

 

Set-up by Thomas Salomone, who experienced workplace discrimination and bullying when he worked for a large construction firm, EGL Construction aims to shift the public’s perceptions of builders.

 

“Deaf people typically have had to work twice as hard to prove themselves, instilling them with a strong work ethic and drive which helps them to deliver successful projects within deadlines,” explained Thomas.

 

Health and safety concerns or the inability to communicate are often cited as justification for excluding deaf people from construction sites, with claims they will be unable to obtain insurance.

 

EGL Construction tackles health and safety concerns on construction sites through the use of specialised tools like vibrating alarms. The firm also uses WhatsApp to communicate on site and alert staff to any risks or issues. Using video relay interpreting services for calls and booking British Sign Language interpreters for meetings are other ways EGL Construction overcomes barriers to communication.

 

“Sadly, there are significantly fewer opportunities in the construction industry open to deaf workers, who are passed over in favour of hearing people,” said Thomas.

 

“I see many benefits from having an all-deaf team of construction workers on site, including showing strong attention to detail and because deaf people are more reliant on their sight than hearing people. They tend to be more observant and more alert to potential hazards or accidents on building sites and as a result keep the site very organised and tidy.”

 

SME housebuilder, Handsome Property, recently employed EGL to work on a project in Camberwell, London, which is being funded by Close Brothers Property Finance. With data showing 37% of planning applications were rejected in London boroughs in 2023, cleaner, quieter sites could be a solution to changing the perception of development and housebuilding in the capital.

 

“Reducing noise pollution and clutter on construction sites goes a long way in addressing the concerns of local residents who are worried about the impact of development in their local vicinity,” said Gary Sollof, Director of Handsome Property.

 

“This is where companies like EGL Construction are a massive benefit, they are shifting the perception of builders away from wolf-whistling, noise, and mess. It is a completely different profession now and increasing diversity is key to that.”

 

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