"Means and methods” is a compact legalism meant to apply to everything that takes place at a construction jobsite. When you try to put everything that a construction jobsite entails on a semantic diet, inevitably something gets left out. That’s one reason ENR’s annual photo contest is so important. The winning images illuminate the world of construction projects in ways that our regularly published and posted stories can never fully accomplish. The photos elevate your view so that you can look down from on high or poke into unseen corners of activity and places that otherwise are overlooked.
Here’s what we think you will find: That rebar cages can fly. That a hydraulic impact hammer has musical talent, most of it rhythmic. That a clamshell dredge bites harder than a Bengal tiger—and sometimes breaks its teeth. That steel and concrete have idio-syncratic personalities that only engineers, project managers, welders and equipment operators know.
The astonishing part is that much of it is so routine. And in a turbulent, fast-changing world, the continual creation and restoration of the built and natural environment provides a needed stability and energy.
President-elect Donald Trump has referred to his days as a developer as a formative experience that gave him an authentic connection to work and workers. At a rally in Tampa, Fla., near the end of the campaign, Trump was given a baby, which he appreciatively kissed and pronounced a “future construction worker.” Take it as a compliment or election-season flattery. Present and future construction workers and construction work of all kinds—roads, dams and bridges—provide an anchor in a turbulent world, a brace against gusting winds and an adhesive to bind our civilization in ways no politician ever can.