Time for life - driving a better culture in the construction industry

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Three people in hi-vis vests on a construction site


The NSW and Victorian Construction Industry Culture Taskforce (CICT) has developed the draft Culture Standard for the Construction Industry (CSCI) framework to drive a better culture in the construction industry. The framework addresses 3 key challenges facing the industry:

  1. Time for life: ensuring the workforce in the construction industry is provided adequate time to rest and pursue activities outside of work
  2. Wellbeing: ensuring the occupational health and mental wellbeing of the workforce is prioritised; and
  3. Diversity and inclusion: ensuring the construction industry can attract and retain a diverse workforce.

The core focus is the ‘Time for life’ theme which is about work-hour reduction interventions, addressing the industry’s:

  • long working hours
  • high turnover
  • Absenteeism; and
  • stress-related leave.

SINSW’s Time for Life project

School Infrastructure NSW is passionate about improving construction industry standards and supporting a better work-life balance for workers.

We are proud to be taking part in a research project headed by the University of Wollongong, called the Time for Life project. The project will test the impact of work-hour reduction interventions on productivity levels in construction.

We will compare the current construction industry standard 6-day work week against a 5-day work week and determine whether the change in project execution affects costs relative to the 6-day work week.

Our aim is to use these research findings to enhance industry culture across our portfolio of projects going forward.

The SINSW projects trialling a 5-day work week are:

  • Wentworth Point new high school
  • Narrabeen Education Precinct
  • Birrong Boys and Girls High Schools
  • Melonba Education Campus

The Time for Life project is our commitment to a better, more productive industry and to improving the lives of those working in it.

Time for Life Project – Surveys have begun!

The Time for Life project research team has announced the commencement of a comprehensive data collection initiative, launching a series of surveys designed to evaluate the impact of a five-day work week on construction workers' well-being and productivity. The innovative study kicked off at the Wentworth Point New High School construction site on March 14, 2024, signifying the beginning of an intensive year dedicated to gathering valuable insights.

Workers at Wentworth Point New High School, and soon at additional sites including Narrabeen Education Precinct, Birrong Boys High School and Girls High School, and Melonba Education Precinct, will be interviewed to share their experiences of the modified work schedule. This marks a significant departure from the construction industry's traditional six-day week, aiming to understand how this change affects their work-life balance and productivity. The Time for Life project's approach is a pioneering step towards potentially reshaping industry standards to enhance the quality of life for construction workers.

University of Wollongong Industry Showcase

Dr. Amir Arjomandi from the University of Wollongong has been making waves with his research on the SINSW Time for Life Project. Recognising the importance of his work, he was invited to share his insights at the UOW Industry Showcase in December 2023. His discussion focused on how academic research can create real changes in industries, highlighting the Time for Life project as a key example of this.

His research investigates how a good balance between work and personal life can affect construction workers' mental well-being and job performance. Dr. Arjomandi isn't working alone; he's teaming up with Dr. Hassan Gholipour Fereidouni from the Western Sydney Local Health District and Marion McCutcheon from QUT. Their collaborative effort with SINSW aims to put academic findings into practice, improving the lives of workers in the construction industry.


Culture Standard Steering Committee

To oversee the implementation of the Time for Life project, SINSW has established the Culture Standard Steering Committee (CSSC). The CSSC is responsible for providing leadership and strategic advice, overseeing productivity research, and monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the initiative in fostering a positive workplace culture within SINSW projects.

The CSSC comprises of members from SINSW and the CICT who will work collaboratively with other members of the committee and key stakeholders to enhance industry culture across our portfolio of projects going forward.

Contact the project team to learn more.