Construction is the process of constructing a building or infrastructure. Construction differs from manufacturing in that manufacturing typically involves mass production of similar items without a designated purchaser, while construction typically takes place on location for a known client. Construction as an industry comprises six to nine percent of the gross domestic product of developed countries. Construction starts with planning, design, and financing; and continues until the project is built and ready for use.
Large-scale construction requires collaboration across multiple disciplines. An architect normally manages the job, and a construction manager, design engineer, construction engineer or project manager supervises it. For the successful execution of a project, effective planning is essential. Those involved with the design and execution of the infrastructure in question must consider zoning requirements, the environmental impact of the job, the successful scheduling, budgeting, construction-site safety, availability and transportation of building materials, logistics, inconvenience to the public caused by construction delays and bidding, etc. The largest construction projects are referred to as megaprojects.
Types of construction
In general, there are three sectors of construction: buildings, infrastructure and industrial. Building construction is usually further divided into residential and non-residential (commercial/institutional). Infrastructure is often called heavy/highway, heavy civil or heavy engineering. It includes large public works, dams, bridges, highways, water/wastewater and utility distribution. Industrial includes refineries, process chemical, power generation, mills and manufacturing plants. There are other ways to break the industry into sectors or markets.
Engineering News-Record (ENR) is a trade magazine for the construction industry. Each year, ENR compiles and reports on data about the size of design and construction companies. They publish a list of the largest companies in the United States (Top-40) and also a list the largest global firms (Top-250, by amount of work they are doing outside their home country). In 2014, ENR compiled the data in nine market segments. It was divided as transportation, petroleum, buildings, power, industrial, water, manufacturing, sewer/waste, telecom, hazardous waste plus a tenth category for other projects. In their reporting on the Top 400, they used data on transportation, sewer, hazardous waste and water to rank firms as heavy contractors.