Durkan Client Manager Kevin O’Connor
Durkan is a main contractor in London and the Southeast, with 171 staff and operatives, providing design and build, conversion and refurbishment services for registered housing providers and local authorities, among others.
- Why did you want to be part of the Be Fair framework?
I was very keen to get involved with the new accreditation as I’m an advocate of an industry specific quality mark for construction. Construction is unfairly stereotyped as a poor performer when it comes to fairness, inclusion and respect (FIR).
Public sector contractors, in particular, work for clients who demand very high levels of equality and diversity performance. We also work directly with diverse communities and are very good at responding to different needs and expectations.
- Would you recommend the Be Fair framework?
Other employers should do the new accreditation because it demonstrates commitment to potential clients and their own workforce. This accreditation positions you as a forward-looking, inclusive contractor, increasing your chances of winning work and shows that you tap into the reservoir of talent that exists in diversity to grow your business.
What’s missing is a clear standard that publicly recognises performance in the way that ISO standards work for Health and Safety. Although it is early days, with the support of CITB and participating organisations, Be Fair has every chance of evolving into the industry standard for FIR and Durkan is proud to be one of the founding members.
- What future do you see for the Be Fair framework?
We would like to get to the position where organisations like Constructionline and EXOR as well as individual clients, demand Be Fair accreditation as a basic requirement. This would provide a real return for contractors on the investment in time and financial resources that have gone into achieving accreditation while giving clients the benefit of knowing they are employing contractors that understand the Equality Act and Public Body liability, etc.
We all have some work to do in arriving at standardised ways of delivering and demonstrating best practice, and monitoring performance effectively. Continuous improvement is key.