Construction is a general term which means the art and science to form objects, systems, or organizations. In its most widely used context, construction covers the processes involved in delivering buildings, infrastructure and industrial facilities, and associated activities through to the end of their life. It typically starts with planning, financing, and design, and continues until the asset is built and ready for use; construction also covers repairs and maintenance work, any works to expand, extend and improve the asset, and its eventual demolition, dismantling or decommissioning.
In general, there are three sectors of construction: buildings, infrastructure and industrial. Building construction is usually further divided into residential and non-residential. Infrastructure, also called heavy civil or heavy engineering, includes large public works, dams, bridges, highways, railways, water or wastewater and utility distribution. Industrial construction includes offshore construction (mainly of energy installations), mining and quarrying, refineries, chemical processing, power generation, mills and manufacturing plants.
Construction works are typically carried out by contractors, although in the housing sector, contractors may be referred to as builders or housebuilders, and contractors may appoint subcontractors and other suppliers to carry out some or all of the works.
The process may start, following a procurement process, with handover of the site from the client to the contractor and end with handing back a completed project to the client. It does not include pre-construction activities such as preparation of the brief, forming a design team or design and so on, although these activities may be carried out at the same time as construction.
The following processes can form part of the construction process:
- Site clearance.
- Erection of hoardings, welfare facilities and so on.
- Setting out.
- Installation of foundations.
- Frame construction.
- Cladding installation.
- Fitting out.
- Landscaping and highways.