Black History Month is a time where we specifically highlight the achievements and contributions made from black people across the UK, but for us at Construction Helpline, it is even more important to champion these individuals who are making an impact in the building industry. This blog’s sole purpose is to promote black individuals and organisations in construction that are trailblazing in their own right, breaking barriers for the next generation of professionals in the building sector.
Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS – Founder of DiverseCity Surveyors & Digital Director of BIM Academy
Bola Abisogun is a man of many talents, being a Chartered Surveyor, Construction Manager and Independent Management Consultant, and now as of September 2022, the Digital Director of BIM Academy. Having spent 27 years within the construction industry, contributing to job retention for ethnic minorities within the building industry and addressing the imbalance in diversity within construction through ‘DiverseCity Surveyors’, Bola was finally awarded an OBE in 2018 and continues to promote the surveying profession to BAME and young people.
Recently, Bola has been focusing on promoting the use of Digital Twins, particularly with social housing. Digital Twins are virtual/data models of physical assets and with the granular detail these models have through the use of technology, Bola believes they can help us make smarter and more sustainable decisions for communities. Ultimately, allowing the right people to plan ahead of potential issues of a physical asset. Digital Twins were also discussed with our CEO, Umer Mansoor, during our speaking segment at Digital Construction Week in May.
Hanna Afolabi MRICS – Managing Director at Mood & Space and Founder of BWRE (Black Women in Real Estate)
Another figure who is making strides in the building industry is Hanna Afolabi, a planning and development surveyor who also holds a BSc in Architecture. Hanna is passionate about the construction industry and carries the ethos of having a ‘people-come-first’ approach. This is represented in her work as Managing Director of Mood & Space, supporting clients to execute their development visions and strategies, while also providing efficient processes to delivering projects.
Prior to her most recent work with Mood & Space, Hanna was a Development Director for Balfour Beatty Investments where she led design, budget, business planning and programming of the mixed-use regeneration project of 1,900 homes on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
In addition, Hanna has also founded Black Women in Real Estate (BWRE), an organisation that brings together black women in the property and build sector with the intent for them to network and connect.
Amos Simbo – Founder & Chairman of BPIC Network (Black People in Construction)
Amos Simbo, has overseen mechanical engineering services in construction as a Technical Service Manager, with ambitions of one day having his own mechanical engineering consultancy. Graduating from Loughborough University, Amos founded Black Professionals in Construction (BPIC), a support network organisation that focuses on improving the representation of BAME individuals in the building sector by connecting them to building corporations. Since 2020, at the end of every year BPIC hold the BPIC Awards, a celebration of industry talent across the sector and we are happy to be sponsoring this event – with Umer Mansoor presenting the award for ‘Best Apprentice Program’.
Earlier this month, we were glad to secure BPIC is our official training partner for our free government funded Skills Bootcamps we are providing in Drylining for both unemployed and self-employed candidates. We have the vision that these Skills Bootcamps can help upskill young people, as well as providing the construction sector with newly skilled and qualified workers, ushering the next generation of construction professionals. For more information on our Skills Bootcamp, click here.