4th February 2021

Mackenzie Thompson shares her research from Sir Ian Dixon Scholarship

The importance of high-quality site welfare facilities to a project and its performance is highlighted in a new report produced thanks to a sponsorship opportunity provided by the company.

Following her success in an architectural competition, in 2018 student Mackenzie Thompson was working with us on the design of welfare facilities for our Battersea Power Station project when the chance to conduct research into this key area of site life became available.


The recently completed result of her year-long research through the Sir Ian Dixon Scholarship, 'A Building for the Builders, What is the Value of the Welfare Facility?’, challenges us to take a fresh look at welfare as a tool for improving morale, productivity, wellbeing and community engagement.

The paper looks at the history and current condition of welfare facilities and provides some recommendations for their design in the future.

And it certainly makes for interesting reading, highlighting quite how important the quality of welfare facilities are to a site workforce and, potentially, to the productivity of a project.

A poll conducted as part of the research revealed that 66% of the 350 workers polled rated site welfare as ‘very important’.

What’s more, 61% of respondents said that having a good welfare facility motivated them to work harder, while 83% said that it improved their wellbeing.

Just as interestingly however, 35% of those polled rated facilities at the sites they had worked on over the previous 36 months as inadequate.

While the Sir Ian Dixon scholarship is designed to provide an opportunity for companies to develop the potential of their own staff through a research programme, the potential value to the wider industry of Mackenzie’s research meant the company was happy to make an exception in her case, according to Senior Design Manager Jeff Tidmarsh, who helped mentor the young architectural student through the scholarship.

He said:

“Mackenzie’s research certainly gives pause for thought and should be of real value to the industry. It has the potential to impact not just on how we at Sir Robert McAlpine approach welfare facilities in the future, but many of our peers too. It was a real pleasure to be able to offer someone outside the company the opportunity to help contribute to industry progress in this way and we wish Mackenzie all the best for the future.”

Since working with us at Battersea, Mackenzie has gone on to work as an architectural assistant with a small architecture firm in Liverpool and, in part thanks to her work with us, has gone on to apply to complete a masters in architecture.

She will be presenting her findings at the virtual the SIDS 2021 Scholarship presentation evening on 10th February at 6pm.

Mackenzie is the latest in a long line of built environment professionals to be sponsored by the company to complete a SIDS scholarship which is organised by the Chartered Institute of Building and The Worshipful Company of Constructors.

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