Mike ODwyer SUBMITTER: Lisa Page, Bovis Lend Lease,
A worker smooths a pile cap at Londons Pater Noster
Square, part of the foundation of new buildings being
constructed near St. Pauls Cathedral. The buildings
are part of the overall reconstruction of the square,
damaged in World War II.
Click on photo for larger image.
industry in 2002 entered what some have called an "Age
of Anxiety" as key markets around the world began to
slump significantly, terrorism became a household word in
places totally unaccustomed to it and saber rattling by some
of the biggest and most heavily armed nations set the entire
Yet in good times and in bad, the
global construction industry produces a prodigious amount
of work. ENR estimates this to be about $3.4 trillion annuallya
serious component of national, regional and local economies.
In any particular year, some markets go up, some go down,
some companies end their existence and many others are born.
This perpetual process of activity produces its own wonders
and accomplishments. Some of those from 2002 are pictured
on the following pages.
The industry's work performed across
the globe is, at its roots, business enterprisea dollar,
yen or peso paid for a dollar, yen or peso's worth of work.
But that performance also is the act of creation, projects
being shaped and fashioned by millions of designers and craftsmen
who, in turn, become part of their projects. From the seemingly
most significant corporate decision-maker to the lowliest
laborer, everyone has a role to play in creating bridges,
roads, airports, railroads, ports, buildings, factories and
industrial plants, homes, powerplants, water utilities and
everything else needed for the world as we know it to survive
and thrive. There is beauty and accomplishment in all of these
projects, and the fruits of the effort often survive the people
who created them.
Joseph A. Blum Photography SUBMITTER: Jennifer Fink, Enclos
Corp., Bloomington, Minn. A union ironworker working at
560 Mission Street project in San Francisco in July 2002.
Click on photo for larger image.
Indexes that measure the selling
price of construction show a different story. The Turner Corp.'s
selling price index shows an annual increase of just 0.7%
this quarter, down from a 1.8% rate of increase for the same
period in 2001. The spread between the selling price and general
purpose indexes is a good indicator of the degree of discounting
going on in today's market.
This is not taken for granted.
Men and women often tell their friends, children or even grandchildren:
"I worked on that building." It becomes theirs even though
they don't own it. The work and the result become part of
the lives of everyone who uses the project for as long as
The construction industry is one
of the few that can say that it offers excitement (sometimes
more than anyone bargained for), danger (unfortunately), ease
of entry into business (a pickup and handful of tools can
still get you started), travel (often excessive), good pay
(when there is work) and varied working conditions (hot, cold,
dry, wet) and flexible hours (over-12-hour shifts or laid
off). Those who can handle that variety think this industry
is something special.
Going Home Alive Should be a Job Requirement
on photo for larger image.
When the day
is done, all those in construction have the right to
head home inthe same shape as they arrived at workor
better. But as everyone knows, reality is not so forgiving.
Each year, the industry kills or injures its people
in numbingly familiar ways and 2002 was no exception.
Falls, electrocutions, falling objects, trench cave-ins,
equipment mishaps and vehicular accidents combined to
kill hundreds of people on the job.
In its reporting, ENR tries
to call the industrys attention to best practices
as well as to the tragic results of even a moments
inadvertence. Many industry organizations and companies
make safety the highest priority because it is the right
thing to do and, more secondarily, makes good business
sense. As the year ends, we hope that the construction
industry rededicates itself to making a bigger dent
in accidents, injuries and fatalities. A good place
to start is not letting the press of schedule push people
into unsafe practices.
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