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Sustainable Practises, Rights & Safety in Construction in Bangladesh: A Multi-Stakeholder Perspective

Organized by: Elite Group – Bangladesh

Image by Guilherme  Cunha


Bangladesh’s economy grew 6.94% in 2020-2021 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country is moving ahead with megaprojects such as the Padma Bridge, Roopur Nuclear Power Plant and Metrorail. It is building infrastructure including ports and the brand new Terminal 3 for the capital’s airport. Multi-story civil construction is common across government and private projects.

Architects and engineers are achieving global recognition for their designs.

Construction material suppliers including cement, steel and paint have developed their capacities to ensure sustainable supplies of raw materials for the decade ahead.

Once a key point of differentiation, inexpensive labour, is also evolving. As migrant workers return to Bangladesh from the Gulf, they bring with them international experiences. International consultants working with the government on infrastructure are sharing their learnings with the local labourers too.

Combined, the level of safety and rights, is being reviewed and actively assessed for improvement. The situation, however, varies across the different projects and sites depending on multiple factors – size, value, geography, relative importance and more.


Session Description

While the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) reported a total of 1,196 deaths in the construction industry between 2005 and 2016 or about 100 fatalities every year on average, weak data collection has been unable to capture the evolution of construction safety standards in today’s fast developing Bangladesh.

We seek to share diverse multi-stakeholder perspectives across public infrastructure development and private sector developers, construction material suppliers, government engineers, site workers and more!


Session Objectives

The key objectives of this session are to:

  • Create a safe space for private businesses, governments, trade unions, human rights institutions to openly discuss the topic

  • Showcase the evolution of on-site construction practices

  • Share progress in national guidelines – The Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) was first launched in 1993 and updated in 2021.

  • Highlight variances in safety standards across contractors working in the country.

  • Identify the key challenges and opportunities in standard setting in construction as well as implementation

  • Discuss and find a way forward for developing sustainable processes for ensuring safety in construction

Key Questions:
  • What construction practices were in effect post-independence? Today? With international consultants working on megaprojects and increasing levels of compliance in projects (ie. LEED Platinum), how is this evolving?

  • How has national compliance changed since the BNBC’s introduction in 1993 and subsequent updates with the recent in February 2021? How has this impacted worker safety?

  • Why do construction standards vary so greatly site to site?

  • What are the weaknesses in the current environment?

  • What are the necessary and innovative measures to promote safety and rights in the construction site in the post COVID-19 world?


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