May 16, 2020

Egypt is set to gain a new capital city in £37 billion mega project

Chinese Fortune Land Development Company (CFLD)
Egyptian Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly
Catherine Sturman
2 min
Cairo: Getty Images
It has recently been announced that Chinese Fortune Land Development Company (CFLD) will be investing £37 billion in the construction of a new cap...

It has recently been announced that Chinese Fortune Land Development Company (CFLD) will be investing £37 billion in the construction of a new capital city within Egypt in a seven-year megaproject.

The construction of this new smart city, which is reportedly to be the size of Singapore, will be built 28 miles away from the current capital and will reduce the level of congestion and overpopulation within the dense city, boosting the local economy, employment and increase the quality of life for local citizens within the region.

Announced by Egyptian Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly in 2015, state-owned Arab Contractors are involved in the iconic Capital Cairo project alongside Egyptian construction company El-Mokawloon El-Arab, who have been responsible for the installation of new sewage lines and the development of infrastructure and road links, ultimately connecting the new city with the Suez Canal zone.

The new capital will become a smart city, incorporating sophisticated technologies which will ensure a multitude of long-term benefits, in addition to sustainable, green areas such as parks the size of New York’s Central Park for citizens to access and enjoy. It has been stated that “each community within the city will provide employment and living opportunities as well as a variety of shops, cafes, schools, religious establishments and public parks for residents, workers and visitors alike.” It is believed that over 20 districts will be formed within the project.

Government, corporate and technological spaces have also been accounted for in the plans to ensure sufficient business development is generated within the 700sq km space. The area will become the hotbed for administrative, legal, financial and foreign affairs within Egypt and be home to several skyscrapers, natural reserves, hotels, a new airport the size of Heathrow, theme parks and railway links.

For more information: Capital Cairo project

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Jun 14, 2021

The construction industry: Facing a mental health crisis

3 min
Reports have shown the construction industry is facing a mental health crisis. We take a look at why this is and how to improve awareness in the industry

Data collected by the Office for National Statistics has shown that more than 2,000 construction workers took their own lives in 2017. Other findings from a study conducted by the Glasgow Caledonian University show that the problem is getting worse. From 2017 to 2019, the number of suicides per 100,000 rose from 26 to 29, with people in the construction industry three times more likely to take their own lives in 2019 compared to other industries.

Why is the construction industry experiencing a rise in mental health conditions?

Bill Hill, Chief Executive of the mental health charity Lighthouse Club, says that one reason for the rise in mental health conditions is due to financial pressure. He said that it is a “huge factor” in construction, “causing stress, depression, and anxiety”. He added that several self-employed workers are “brilliant tradespeople but don’t have the education”, which may be helpful in running their business. 

“They win a project, someone pays them a big invoice but they don’t put money aside for VAT [and then] the taxman asks for payment so they get finance. It tumbles from there. Sole trader-style business management should be taught at apprenticeship level”, Hill said. 

According to Lighthouse Club, the industry is “hugely fragmented” and “difficult to reach over half of the 2.8mn self-employed construction workers. “Some larger companies have done a fantastic job on mental health”, Hill says. “But only apply their programmes and workshops to their own staff. Until you get to the huge mass of very capable tradespeople who are getting no input, one of the biggest problems is awareness”. 

How can awareness of mental health be improved in the construction industry? 

Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Council, Graham Watts, says that the industry has made positive steps forward on mental wellbeing but that “it is still not doing nearly enough” to support staff in this area. 

Looking at how awareness of mental health can be improved in the industry today, Watts said: “Today, I would hope it is easier to be more open about mental health. I’m impressed by the leadership that is being shown by some companies – for example, Tideway, where Chief Executive Andy Mitchell has ‘mental health first aider’ immediately after his email sign-off – but it is still only being exhibited by the best of the best”.

Lighthouse club has also launched a campaign for construction workers to raise more awareness of mental health in the industry. Named “Help Inside the Hard Hat”, the campaign makes all workers aware of the services that Lighthouse Club offers, “regardless of employment status”, the charity says. Lighthouse Club is taking particular care to encourage contractors to put up posters on sites and ensure that they reach all workers, including the self-employed. 

The charity also has a free app that allows workers to access mental health information and resources. Lighthouse Club is also improving the availability of information by working with partners such as the Safer Highways charity and Glasgow Caledonian University. But the charity is working on improving the understanding and destigmatisation of mental health in the industry one step at a time. Hill said: “The first thing is suicides,” says Hill. “That is the number one benchmark of all the work we are doing – are we reducing suicides in the industry?”. 

If you are a construction worker - or someone you know is and you need support, you can call the Lighthouse Club helpline on 0345 605 1956. 


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