News Brief

Racism, Sexism Rampant in Built Environment Workplaces

Seventy-two percent of Blacks and African Americans, and 66% of women, say they’ve experienced discrimination at work.

Amid growing reports of nooses found on construction sites, new stats back up anecdotal reports that discrimination based on race and gender pervades workplaces associated with the built environment.

According to a survey commissioned by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), 72% percent of Black and African-American respondents reported experiencing race-based discrimination at work. Sixty-six percent of female respondents said they’d been discriminated against based on gender. And women and people of color overall felt “they have to work harder than others to be valued,” according to a NIBS report.

A roundtable that included representatives from The American Institute of Architects, the International Living Future Institute, ASHRAE, and several other organizations met in July 2021 to respond to the survey results. The roundtable released a list of best practices for promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Best practices include items like diversity, equity, and inclusion staff training; updated codes of ethics; steps to reduce language barriers; and identifying potential board members who would expand “diversity, depth, and representation.”

NIBS has committed to fulfill its mission by remaining a convener for the industry on the topic of social equity. The Whole Building Design Guide, managed by NIBS, could become a resource for promoting social equity best practices as well.

More on social equity

Centering Equity: The Quest for Justice in Green Building

Re-Forming the Building Industry: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Equity in Design and Construction: Seven Case Studies

For more information:

National Institute of Building Sciences

Originally published September 20, 2021 Updated October 4, 2021

Melton, P. (2021, October 4). Racism, Sexism Rampant in Built Environment Workplaces. Retrieved from

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