Construction: Craft to Industry

Construction: Craft to Industry

Construction: Craft to Industry

Construction: Craft to Industry

Synopsis

Focusing on the post-war years, this comprehensive survey of changes and trends in the construction industry emphasises their contemporary and future relevance. It covers the areas of materials, structures, energy and environmental issues.

Excerpt

There are two questions that any author of a professional book should answer: what is the purpose of the book, and why is the author the best person to write it?

In relation to this book, the response to the first question is that during the twentieth century the construction industry and its products and technology have changed drastically. This metamorphosis has been insufficiently appreciated and is worthy of consideration. In answer to the second question, I have spent a lifetime working in research and development in the construction industry, much of it on an international level. Furthermore, as a third-generation professional in the industry and the father of a fourth-generation architect, I have had a front-seat view of the events of a whole century. I therefore felt the provision of an overview of the industry to be almost an obligation.

Construction technology has developed in a signal way in the last 100 years. In an increasing number of subsectors, the most up-to-date technology is used and more of the buildings to be constructed are really high-tech products whose design requires modern scientific methods. The internal structure of the building industry is also changing. An internationalization of the market goes hand in hand with the emergence of construction multinationals, which themselves promote technical progress. Despite this, several publications have claimed that construction lags behind other industries, that construction technology has been the least modernized, that productivity in building has developed at a lower rate than elsewhere, and that it is still a labour-intensive economic sector with accident-prone and health-endangering work practices. It is argued that most building materials, such as stone, timber and even brick, have been around since ancient times, and that their use is based on empirical experience in which the need for scientific research is limited. It has also been claimed that the construction industry’s foremost concern in the future will be the maintenance and repair of existing stock rather than new construction.

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