Construction Business Management

Article

The Changing Landscape of Construction

In the 25+ years that I have been observing the Construction Industry I have noted a lot of changes.

Looking back further, say 150 years, the changes appear even more dramatic.

In “the old days” a few skilled craftsmen and a few tools were all that was needed to build anything — a home, a jail, a bank, a courthouse, a church, a prison, etc.

If you needed a barn, house or community building raised you could throw a “raising” and everyone would show up with their tools and hands ready to join in the fun.

As we moved past the age of expanded settlement and into the Industrial Revolution, we saw a dramatic shift — manufacture in bulk, syndicate building products thru traveling salesmen, develop more refined tools.

Technology moved production & construction into a fast growth pattern — the more we standardized the manufacturing process the more technology could be brought to bear on the process itself.

But technology is not solely responsible for the changes in the construction process or even industry. A volatile economy, wars, new understanding of how our actions impact the world around us and the desire to manage our resources all have contributed.

And we cannot forget that construction isn’t just about products used in construction or building a building — it is a creative process starting with an owners need, moving to a designer’s vision that culminates in a construction teams’ implementation.

This is a process that is both compelling & intriguing. You cannot walk down a street, into a building or even in your own home, and not be impacted by this process.

We would like to learn more about what Industry Professionals think about these changes, hear ideas about building a better building, learn how design teams grow and evolve & how they leverage technology — the list goes on.

Here are some questions:

  • What are the greatest changes in the process of design and building you have witnessed since the beginning of the decade? How have these changes affected you?
  • Over the next decade, how do you see the role of the architect changing? The general contractor? How do you see the partnership changing?
  • Do you envision more — or fewer — intersections developing between architects and general contractors? Why?
  • How do you keep one step ahead of changes and improvements in building science? In design? In construction methods and processes?
  • How is the new credit environment impacting the demands of building owners and other stakeholders?
  • As owners look to reduce their exposure to risk, does this primarily impact the planning cycle? The bidding process? Ongoing project management? How?
  • As operating costs come under increasing scrutiny, what is the level of understanding of energy efficiency among building owners? Are they aware of strategies to reduce the energy consumption of structures? Whose job is it to make them aware?
  • What design problems does an increased emphasis on energy efficiency impose on the architect? On the general contractor?
  • Innovation has been described as the minute but continuous improvement in process. How do architects and general contractors collaborate to refine the processes that create structures — i.e., how do they collaborate to innovate?
  • The GSA’s definition of value engineering focuses on the lowest life cycle cost consistent with required performance, quality, reliability and safety. Does this concept of life cycle cost resonate yet with building owners? Should it? How does risk management play into life cycle cost?
  • What other ways are architects and general contractors collaborating to minimize risk?
  • One effect of increased energy cost is expected to be an acceleration of the trend toward re-urbanization. What specific challenges or opportunities do you see with “adaptive reuse” of buildings?
  • How important is the concept of a “healthy building” to stakeholders? What kinds of decisions does this impose on the architect or contractor?

Would you like to contribute? If so, send your answers to RCDWebmaster@Reedbusiness.com along with your company name, address, phone, fax, url and email along with a 500 word description and we will be sure to get you included.

Would you like to submit some additional questions? If so, send your answers to RCDWebmaster@Reedbusiness.com and we will look to incorporate these into our interview process.


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Member Comments

Posted by Debora Clark
02/23/2010
It seems like construction has really changed alot. I have a <a href="http://www.merchant-accounts.com">credit card processing</a> company and I had some of the same problems as Nadie. It was very hard to find anyone trustworthy and honest. I ended up spending thousands of dollars that was wasted.
Posted by Claire Clarks
02/17/2010
I work for a company that just built some <a href="http://www.coolitcleaners.com">Doncaster cleaners</a> and this was an amazing project. Plans changed on a daily basics and we had to extend the project many months because of the lack of what the customer wanted. I think its very important to know what you want before you start construction.
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