The systemic nature of the construction industry Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper addresses the ‘know why’ we build by looking first at the systemic nature and complexity that informs the construction industry's current paradigm. An objective of this paper is to present how the construction industry's reigning paradigm is driven by an obfuscating manufacturing—industrial—engineering mindset. Under the NAICS (North American Industry Classification System of the US Census Bureau), the construction industry is listed in the service sector of the economy under section 23 and is broken down into many categories, such as Buildings (236) and Heavy and Civil (237). Construction is considered a ‘basic industry’, like manufacturing, mining, fishing and farming. This industrial classification system implies a scientific—industrial—manufacturing—managing paradigm that is expected to overarch all industries. Over the past 10 years, Latham (1994) and Egan (1998, 2002) have challenged the industry to improve its efficiency as well as the quality of its output. Failure by the ndustry to achieve these efficiencies points to a lack of understanding of the systemic nature of the industry. The author is interested in the ‘why’ that explains the ‘how’. If construction cannot be viewed in the same light as a manufacturing industry, then what is the paradigm of the construction industry? © 2008 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

published proceedings

  • Architectural Engineering and Design Management

author list (cited authors)

  • Fernndez-Sols, J. L.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Fernández-Solís, José L

publication date

  • January 2008