Understanding Construction

Understanding Construction

You may know the word and you may have even used it pretty frequently in daily basis—but how deep you understand construction may be is another subject to talk about. In its simplest definition, construction is an act or process of construction a building or infrastructure. Construction and manufacturing are different. The former involves building infrastructure on a site for a client the construction-maker knows of. The latter, on the other hand, involves the production of similar items in massive capacity without any purchaser in particular in mind. As an industry sector, construction makes up 6 to 9% of the total gross domestic product of developed countries.

The process starts with planning, design, and financing, after which it progresses forward until the building is completed and ready for use. A construction project of large scale will need collaborative efforts encompassing more than one discipline. The manager for the project would typically organize the job while the project itself will be managed, designed, and constructed by respective managers. Things that those involved with the design and execution need to take into account include requirements for zoning, the job’s impact on the environment, scheduling, budgeting, safety on the site, building materials and their availability and transportation, logistics, public inconvenience, and bidding. Construction projects of large scale can sometimes be referred to as megaprojects.


Etymologically speaking, construction is derived from Latin constructionem. The Latin word itself is composed of com- “together” and struere “to pile up”. The Latin term made way into Old French and known as construction before being absorbed by the modern English. In this use, the word “construction” is both a verb and a noun. As a verb it means the act of building. As a noun, it is used to define how a building was built as well as to explain the nature of its structure.

Construction in general comprises of three sectors: buildings, infrastructure, and industrial. Building construction furthermore encompasses two subtypes namely residential and nonresidential (also called commercial or institutional). Infrastructure construction also goes by heavy civil or heavy engineering and includes utility distribution, water or wastewater, railways, highways, bridges, dams, and large public works. Industrial construction refers to areas including manufacturing plants, mills, power generation, process chemical, and refineries. Aside from these types, construction as an industry can also be broken into two other types namely sectors and markets. This categorization uses construction targets as its parameters.