Construction company Laing O’Rourke has partnered with uniform specialist Jermyn Street Design to develop new workwear inspired by Formula 1 pit crews.
The premium clothing range will provide Laing O’Rourke employees with their own “kit bag” of items including hi-vis red polo shirts, softshell jackets and charcoal grey cargo trousers. The garments are tailored for men and women and decorated with the company’s branding.
They were designed by London-based Jermyn Street Design to offer improved fit, functionality and comfort as an alternative to traditional construction wear, taking design cues from Formula 1 pit crews. The company has previously created uniforms for Eurostar, Dyson, Ocado and Jet2.
The new workwear is designed to be long-lasting and complies with PPE standards and UKCA certification. It is suitable for all conditions, with UV properties in the fabrics for the summer through to layers for warmth and waterproof protection during bad weather.
Laing O’Rourke wanted to develop a range of workwear that supported its “Trades to Technicians” agenda which reflects the professionalism of the many skills and technicians across the construction industry.
David Humphries, account manager for Jermyn Street Design, said: “The current range of PPE in the construction industry does not support the agenda which Laing O’Rourke has set around inclusion and wellbeing and moving from trades to technicians, so we worked together to design a completely new range of workwear, which had to meet a demanding set of requirements.”
Laing O’Rourke also wanted to use the new workwear to attract and retain talent. In particular, it wanted to encourage more women to join the profession so wanted workwear specifically designed for women – not simply an adaptation of the men’s clothing.
Carol Williams, head of procurement for Europe at Laing O’Rourke, explained: “For example, the trousers were designed to fit a female shape and leg length, and graded into female sizes. Importantly, the pockets, designed to carry necessary tools, are the same size in the women’s range as they are in the men’s.”
She added that the range was not yet complete as Laing O’Rourke planned to introduce a “maternity range” in the future.
David at Jermyn Street Design said that the design process involved extensive testing. “We spent a lot of time selecting, developing and testing the right fabrics that would work in all conditions, not just in winter but comfortable in the height of summer.
“They also had to be lightweight and durable, working in layers for warmth and comfort. At each stage of the design process, items were tried and tested with wearer wellbeing at the forefront. It’s an often physical job so the workwear had to be smart, comfortable, safe and fit for purpose.”
Six wearer trials were conducted across several locations with over 50 wearers in multiple job roles giving the people who would use the workwear the opportunity to drive the design process.
Employees were given different versions to test, with different lengths of sleeves or trousers, and even a choice of two different collar styles, and the most popular was adopted in each instance.
The trial sessions were videoed with the footage shared with colleagues to build engagement and awareness that wearer wellbeing and inclusion were being built into the range, with every item based on direct wearer feedback.
In parallel with roll-out of the new confirm across UK construction sites, Laing O’Rourke has been installing new recycling points across its projects, depots and manufacturing facilities allowing its employees to responsibly dispose of PPE.