Issues for the Construction Industry

The construction industry has yet to realise the benefit technological step changes in process can bring, placing it behind industries such as aerospace, automotive and ship building. For most applications, the fundamental principles of construction have changed little for hundreds of years; material placement is still primarily a manual operation. Often the legal framework that enable the business of construction acts as a disincentive to trial new approaches. Competition for projects concentrate on first cost. The industry is conservative and innovations tend to be through incremental change. There is a growing skills shortage in the UK compounded by an aging population. Construction remains a hazardous environment. The industry is likely to face increasing pressures from developing environmental legislation, waste management, and energy conservation measures (Guthrie et al. 1999).

The UK government has been addressing these issues through a succession of initiatives, prompted by the Latham and Egan Reports (Egan 1998, Latham 1994) and ultimately by ‘Constructing Excellence.’

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M. Pandey et al. (eds), Advances in Engineering Structures, Mechanics & Construction, 773-780.

© 2006 Springer. Printed in the Netherlands.

The drive is towards leaner, better Modern Methods of Construction. There is, however a need for a more radically different solutions. As human endeavour pushes further forward, construction will need to be able to respond to unique challenges in aggressive environments such as the North pole, desert, chemical contamination and off-world. The industry will need to respond to environmental issues with new materials and new solutions for buildings at ‘end of life’.