Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Construction engineering

Publication Details

14th Annual ARCOMConference, 9-11 September 1998, University of Reading. Association of Researchers in Construction


The effect of occupational stress upon managerial and professional staff is increasingly being realised and studied. This paper presents the findings of a recent postal survey of 94 Irish Construction Professionals to evaluate the incidence and causes of occupational stress. 70% of the re spondents considered that their work was having an adverse effect on their family and 55% believed that it was affecting their health. 40% have considered early retirement because of severe occupational stress, which appears to be a growing blight on Construction Professionals. The research found, not unexpectedly, that Site Managers had the most stressful roles, followed by Contracts/Project Managers and the Contractor’s Quantity Surveyors. The 4 main stressors identified were (a) volume of work, with associated time pressures, (b)administrative duties, (c) long working hours and (d) inadequate flow of communications. The research programme found that an encouraging number of Construction organisations had implemented measures to alleviate the causes of stress - these ranged from team-building exercises to specific stress-awareness programmes. An attempt was made to evaluate these initiatives, but it was found that few were really effective. Hence recommendations are put forward in this paper as to how stress management techniques might more usefully be applied to reducing occupational stress in the traditionally hardy, ‘macho’ culture of the construction industry. The present practice of “presenteeism”, whereby insecure employees work longer andlonger hours to impress bosses and gain promotion is certainly not the answer.