John Morgan, chairman of Morgan Sindall, said the age limit deters companies from taking on older applicants, because they are more expensive to train. A woman looking for a second career in construction is thus denied "the opportunity to gain a thorough grounding in craft skills".
Brian Berry, assistant head of policy at the RICS, praised Morgan Sindall's call. He said: "Any move that would encourage a greater cross-section into the construction industry is desirable.
"'Mud 'n' boots' is the image of the construction industry – we need to move away from that."
The Office for National Statistics' 2000 Labour Force Survey found that only 10% of the construction workforce is made up of women – most of whom hold office-based administrative roles.
According to CITB figures, the industry needs 74,000 new recruits each year from now until 2005 to tackle the skills shortage.