The life-cycle costs of the facilities we design and build are under pressure as our clients face more global competition, key resources—such as skilled labor, water, energy and materials—grow scarce and government support dwindles. To address such challenges, engineering and construction participants must step outside our day-to-day frame ofreference and question whether our current paradigm allows us to develop needed solutions. Is our business model broken?
Engineering and construction (E&C) is one of the world's largest industry sectors. It accounts for 9% of U.S. gross domestic product and more than 11% globally. Today's projects are larger and more complex than ever, yet, compared to other sectors, construction productivity has lagged since 1970. Cost overruns, unanticipated risks and schedule slippages are still too common. Why is this, and what can be done to change it?