City Building (Glasgow): an inspirational model of low energy social housing and public building production
By Linda Clarke and Melahat Sahin-Dikmen, Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment (ProBE), University of Westminster, UK
City Building is a not-for profit building organization with an in-house training centre, a large apprenticeship scheme, and a highly unionized, directly employed workforce.
In the last ten years, City Building has developed as a successful social enterprise with sustainable and high standard employment and construction practices. As well as continuing to be responsible for maintaining all Glasgow City Council’s building stock and for managing its new construction projects, it competes for work in the open market, developing expertise in low-energy construction and building on its history of social housing production.
What sets City Building apart from any other construction company are the strong social ethos and good employment practices that guide its ‘business model’. Another unique feature is the involvement of the trade unions that played, historically, a significant role in shaping the ethos that underpins City Building’s operations. The Joint Trade Union Council includes representatives from each trade union and is actively engaged with the management of City Building at the highest level, in what is described as ‘a great relationship’.
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