Construction is a broad term implying the science and art of shaping solid objects, systems, or organisms, and derives from Latin construction and Old French, constructive. To construct is also the base verb: to build, and the proper noun is construction: the reality of its construction, the nature of the physical structure. In English, we use the words build, to build, and to construct to mean the act of shaping, building, or constructing. In other languages, the words build and construct are used to describe systems, organisms, and human structures. A concrete example in Spanish is “el gran grupo de menos” (the big general store) which literally means “the big general store.”
The modern lexicon includes words for all kinds of construction, but construction has long been the most popular word, probably because it is so general. When we speak of construction, we usually think of major projects such as bridges, skyscrapers, skyscraper buildings, stadiums, dams, pipelines, mines, and so on. Major projects like these require professional service and expertise, but the concept of construction encompasses many different, smaller projects. Professional, expert service is needed not only by individual homeowners doing home remodels or DIY projects, but by large construction and building contractors and bond insurers too. There are literally thousands of different types of construction projects.
Some of the most common construction projects are the ones that involve the construction of residential homes, buildings, stadiums, businesses, or other permanent structures. Homeowners may undertake their own private projects; others may be part of a team undertaking a construction project as part of a development. Contractors and bond insurers provide specialized service to the construction project owner, the builder, and all subcontractors. This can include anything from providing payment security to inspecting and testing the mechanical and structural integrity of pre-approved blueprints for the specific construction project.
Some of the projects undertaken by specialists in the construction industry include new construction of single-family dwellings, rehab properties, affordable housing, high-rises, office buildings, hospitals, educational institutions, retail buildings, industrial production, environmental compliance, historic preservation, and more. Mechanics liens, contractors and bond insurers can handle a wide range of duties. Some of their more common tasks include pre-qualifying builders and subcontractors; hiring, training and paying workers; providing payment security to workers; conducting background and credit checks on job candidates; providing periodic inspections on buildings and property to ensure compliance with building codes; inspecting and approving materials used in work performed in the workplace; arranging and maintaining work schedules; and providing a safe, clean, and organized work environment. These professionals and agencies also perform emergency services in a number of situations, including building repairs, damage control, and related services. They also offer insurance protection to businesses and commercial clients, which can include public liability, worker’s compensation, and property loss coverage.
There are a number of highly specialized certifications available for those in the construction field. For instance, a person needing construction documents relating to a building or home may need a Special Building Surveyor Certification. This kind of certification is usually obtained after completion of a construction project. It helps ensure that the construction project meets all applicable local and federal requirements, as well as guarantees that the building is free of defects that may affect its performance.
Other specialized certifications are available for those in the residential construction field. For example, a Residential Structural Engineer certification is required for projects involving alterations to residential housing. This kind of expertise is most often needed when developing homes that will be resale. A structural engineer must ensure that the building will be strong enough to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes and fires. A residential engineer must be able to analyze and evaluate the building’s resistance to pressure and resistance to weight.
Those in the construction field must have knowledge in a variety of fields and majors to ensure they are fully prepared for their jobs. For example, a civil engineer must understand the major types of construction materials and the corresponding methods to use them in building projects. A Project Manager is in charge of managing and coordinating all construction related projects. They are responsible for ensuring project budgets are in place, ensuring construction workers have the right tools and equipment, analyzing materials used in the projects, communicating with owners and engineers on a regular basis and keeping in close contact with other team members.
The Project Manager is in charge of leading a construction project from start to finish. Without one, a project can easily go off track and be delayed tremendously. The Project Manager must also ensure completion dates are met and all required permits are in order. In some construction projects, there may be a need to assign this responsibility to an assistant project manager or a project planner.