Posted by Steve Gibbons

Guide on worker accommodation

Produced jointly for IFC and EBRD, the guidance note covers the key issues that need to be addressed at different stages of projects – from planning workers’ accommodation to building and managing facilities – and also provides guidance on the provision of adequate sanitary conditions and facilities.

As part of their Performance Standards on labour and working conditions, both EBRD and IFC have requirements regarding the accommodation provided to workers and wanted guidance to assist both their social specialists but also consultants, clients and project sponsors in identifying key issues and standards related to the construction, operation and management of workers’ accommodation.

The challenge was to develop a tool that covered different type of accommodations (exploration camps, plantation housings, dormitories) and that responded to the need of a variety of actors, from project managers in a construction company, to social specialists within a bank.

Research initially involved identifying and analysing relevant international and national regulations and the literature available on the subject. To ensure that the guidance developed was practical and useful, we then conducted a series of in-depth interviews with social experts and industry leaders to collect specific information on the different standards on workers’ accommodation that companies in various sectors (agricultural, mining, oil and gas, construction) apply to their operations, and the key challenges they face in their implementation. Best practice examples were also collected. The guide sets out international norms where they exist, and identifies how issues can be addressed at planning, construction and operation phases.

The guidance note also contains examples from those companies that have developed interesting approaches to workers’ accommodation from providing extensive social and leisure facilities to integrating workers within existing communities through the provision of home-ownership schemes.