The Construction Industry: Processes, Players, and Practices

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9780138638535: The Construction Industry: Processes, Players, and Practices

This introductory book covers the entire construction industry as a whole — with specific details, information, and directions — as well as the impact and basic inner working of the industry in each project. It addresses three specific industry aspects: the “players” the “processes,” and “practices” — all spelled out in a way that promotes readers' understanding. An effective overview of the basic essence of construction, its impact on society, and the magnificent work it produces, helps demonstrates the worldwide impact of the industry. Chapter topics include The construction industry at large, the “players” in construction, the sequence of a project, and communications and documentation. Appendices cover: a narrative of a project sequence; the concept and application of building codes and other construction regulations; sample specification (on regulations); a project checklist; costing; trade associations, standards-generating organizations, governing authorities; and leading firms in the industry. For those involved in architecture and the various engineering disciplines connected with project design and construction — as well as in related businesses — who need help understanding the construction process.

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From the Back Cover:

The construction industry is a vast, imposing, and complex entity. This book is intended to give students and professionals in construction management, engineering, and architecture an overview of the people, processes, and business practices found in this exciting field. The reader will learn about the role of each of the players in the construction business, how a project proceeds from start to finish, and about everyday procedures used to keep projects flowing smoothly.

Some of the key features of this book include:

  • Chapter 3, "The Sequence of a Project," provides a through step-by-step coverage of the design-build approach to building construction. Readers will get a clear understanding of this major methodology.
  • For the reader with little or no background in the construction industry, this book provides the basic terminology and concepts that will be a foundation for future study.
  • For reference, the author has provided useful additions such as the glossary, appendices, building code charts, and a listing of trade associations.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Preface

Construction is a fascinating activity, but trying to grasp the whole of the construction industry boggles the mind.

The breadth, depth, cost, skill/talent, types, and sizes of projects run the extremes. Everyone from a child to an elder is captivated by construction, no matter the size of the projectóby the machinery, the odd chores being performed, the shapes and sizes of the structures, and the sheer power it takes to build something new! Construction work is everywhere, but everywhere a little different.

The aim of this book is to try to relate in short introductory form the overall aspect of the construction industry as a whole, in its worldwide activity. The task of trying to describe something as commonplace and well known as construction is complicated by the multitude of small pieces that make up the whole of the activity. Trying to capture in a few thousand words the true essence of the industry is quite a challenge.

Since there are innumerable publications describing various aspects, formats, techniques, programs, and activities of the industry, in whole or in part, we will attempt only an overview. Our effort, here, takes the form of a supplemental text with little detail, as compared to other publications. The text attempts to pique the interest of the reader to seek more information, to "whet the appetite." As students enter this complex industry, they need information, which provides some overall perspective. In addition, they need basic information and definitions, and an overall view of the industry, its people, and the process of construction projects.

This, then, is a beginning, a basis on which readers can build and customize their expertise. It is a supplement to other instruction about specific topics, so that through both the educational process and their increased experience in construction, project development, and project documentation, readers will come by a well-rounded and deeper understanding of the entire industry.

As facets of construction become clearer, the myriad details associated with each become almost mountainous. There is always something new to learn. New technologies, new equipment, new designs, and tremendous new innovation and design concepts constantly challenge every player in the industry. I have had the good fortune to practice in an urbanized area, in a general practice context, with a relatively constant level of construction activity involving various types and sorts of projects. Different functions, motifs, sizes, costs, complexities, and owners were associated with each project. Each project had its good points, but each had its glitches. However, a whole different culture thrived beyond my busy but narrow outlook. "Heavy construction," for example, goes far beyond the building of homes and other small structures. The construction of massive dams, cavernous but intricate navigational locks, sprawling airports, delicate but long-spanned bridges, on- and off-shore oil drilling rigs, military works from barracks to weapons facilities, space exploration launching facilities, and underwater tunnels is constantly underway in every part of the world. Between these projects and my own was another level of construction altogether: the erection of both slick, sophisticated high-rise office buildings and heavy industrial complexes, where piping and equipment are taken to a new level. The truth of all this is that a person can immerse himself for a lifetime in construction and never really grasp the extent of the industry as a whole.

I have attempted to capture a little of the basic essence of construction for the student, trying to provide some focus on the industry as a whole, its impact on society, and the magnificent works it produces. To say something is "global" in this day and age seems trite. But add to this the fact that worldwide construction makes a major contribution to human survival, to the financial success of people and countries, and even to added growth and stability. All this heightens the prestige, viability, and worldwide impact of the industry.

No other country comes close to matching the United States in new construction placed each year. No other nation has a gross national product (GNP) that attributes one of every eight dollars to construction. Yet, in its own way, each country garners major contributions, both tangible and intangible, from construction.

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