High staff turnover means that hiring the right people is an ongoing challenge for construction industry bosses. Arguably the primary screening
consideration within that recruitment process currently is establishing an employee’s right to work in the UK. The industry has become increasingly reliant on overseas labour
, particularly at the younger end of its workforce. Official figures show that 7.5% of construction workers in recent years have been EU nationals, with a further 3% coming from outside the EU. As these numbers represent tens of thousands of workers, gaining clarity over someone’s eligibility to work legally in the UK is an important part of any employer’s screening policy
Understandably, health and safety is also a major concern across the sector. Construction sites are the most dangerous workplaces
in the country, recording the highest number of fatalities. With safety being such an obvious concern and bearing in mind the duty of care expected of employers within the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act
, the risk of accidents being caused by unqualified workers must be a significant consideration. Background screening will mitigate against the chances of hiring workers without the necessary qualifications and licenses required to safely undertake their roles. This doesn’t only apply to the manual part of the construction workforce. It’s equally as important to check that employees in white collar roles – e.g. engineers, surveyors, architects – hold genuine and valid professional qualifications.
On the subject of architects, the Code of Practice
outlined by the Architects’ Registration Board (ARB)
calls on its members to act with honesty and integrity at all times. Architects are therefore expected to self-report on events such as criminal convictions, directorship disqualifications, bankruptcy orders and voluntary arrangements. Transgressions could result in an individual being permanently removed from the ARB register
of architects and could potentially cause significant damage to a firm’s reputation. With this in mind, appropriate Pre-employment screening
, as well as annual re-checks (Post-employment screening
), covering credit history
, criminal record
and social media screening
may be something for employers to consider, in order to ensure ongoing fitness and propriety.
It’s also worth remembering that not all construction sites are self-contained. Construction work can often take place within a location that remains operational (anything from an office or shopping centre through to a school or hospital). This can exacerbate both the health and safety aspects but also the potential for employee theft. In fact, employee theft will always be a substantial concern for any construction firm, considering the relative ease with which thieves might be able to sell stolen, highly valuable construction equipment.
When construction takes place in a regulated environment, such as a school or hospital or any place where workers may come into contact with children or vulnerable adults, employers may be asked to undertake appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
(or equivalent) checks. In addition, considering the amount of business-related driving undertaken in this sector, driving licence checks
are incredibly important and should be an ongoing consideration.
Checks that employers may want to consider running in this sector
Right to Work: We’ll ensure that a candidate’s documentation meets the current Home Office requirements. We can also repeat checks as and when needed for individuals who have a limited entitlement to remain in the UK.
Identity checks: To prevent employers falling victim to identity fraud, we can undertake electronic verification checks on identity documents provided by a candidate. Alternatively, we can provide online identity checks, using biographical data.
Criminal record checks: We’ll undertake the appropriate level of UK criminal record checks, subject to strict eligibility guidelines. We’re also able to obtain overseas criminal records for candidates with an international background.
Employment history: We can verify a candidate’s work history and references for the past three years, including checks on the existence and authenticity of all listed employers. Using our CV comparison service, we can also check for any discrepancies between the CV used to secure an interview and the subsequent findings of the full background check.
Professional and academic qualifications: Where applicable, we can check the validity of someone’s professional accreditations or registrations while also checking that their academic qualifications are genuine. For all professional and academic qualifications, we’ll always check at source with the awarding body.
International fraud and sanctions watchlists: We’ll check to see whether a candidate’s name appears on any of the hundreds of publicly available watchlists worldwide, relating to anything from terrorism and fraud through to being a barred or politically exposed person.
Credit checks: We’ll establish a candidate’s identity, address history and financial status via credit referencing agency records. The search will reveal details of financial probity and information including County Court Judgements, bankruptcies and voluntary arrangements within the last six years. This search will be recorded on the candidate’s file but will not be visible to other parties and will not affect the candidate’s credit score.
Social media checks: An increasingly popular – and relevant – check for employers keen to understand whether someone’s social media activity could damage their brand, reputation or client relationships. As well as highlighting illegal activity and undesirable characteristics, such checks can also play a part in authenticating a candidate’s employment history.
Driving licence checks: We’ll check that the candidate does indeed have a valid driving licence. We’ll also check for any endorsements or disqualifications currently on their licence.