Social go-between : a new job in the construction sector

Over the past few years, a new job has been emerging in the construction sector: that of social go-between, whose mandate is to support tenants during the refurbishment of their homes and to act as a link with the social landlord and the construction company. 

The aim is to optimise the progress of the refurbishment works while mitigating their inconveniences for the tenants. This service has already been provided by Rabot Dutilleul Construction as part of two ongoing projects in the Lille metropolitan area: one in the city of Lille itself and the other in the town of Armentières. Still in its infancy, this new social go-between job has a promising future, and with good reason! Starting from 2017, the French Energy Transition law has set a target of 500,000 housing units per year to be refurbished, including 120,000 social housing units. These refurbishment works are often conducted on sites occupied by tenants, which present real challenges for social housing landlords. Thus, it is for these landlords that Rabot Dutilleul Construction has developed a social go-between service to ease their task and make it easier for the construction teams to get on with their work. There are currently two social go-betweens at work in the Hauts-de-France region. 



Sandrine Krygel joined Rabot Dutilleul Construction in 2008. Recently, she has been actively involved in social housing refurbishment projects in her capacity as a social go-between. Acting as a true mediator, Sandrine provides a permanent link between tenants and the construction teams. At the start of each new project, she meets each tenant individually to explain and anticipate the works that will be conducted in their homes. This also gives her opportunities to reassure them: “We have to know how to show empathy, be patient and listen actively,” she says. Once a project has been launched, Sandrine organises the work of the construction teams on the basis of the timetable constraints of each tenant and remains the residents’ preferred interlocutor, which creates bonds: “People often welcome me with a cup of coffee. Others offer me biscuits when they pass by the worksite base.” 

Another quality required of a social go-between is the ability to adapt to certain specific issues. In Armentières, for example, some works require that the tenants be absent from their homes for several hours. For the families who so wish, Sandrine has found a solution that consists of welcoming them for those few hours in a specially equipped apartment lent by the landlord, in which, as she says, “we put tables, chairs, tea, coffee, a microwave oven, a TV set and colouring books for the children.”

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