In the future, design and construction, in general, will become ever more closely integrated. More effective design optimization studies and constructability decisions will be made during the engineering phase. We will, in effect, maximize the use of automated job site machinery by designing with it in mind. Procurement, as a generic process, will also be more closely tied to design decisions. Trade-offs among procurement, scheduling, and constructability will be more easily understood through improved, computerized analysis of procurement options.
Construction itself will undergo significant changes in methods of management and work performance. Technology is having major impacts on methods and systems for constructing all types of projects. The most significant challenge will be that of management coordination. Historically, the management of construction activity has been too reactive—dominated by archaic methods, restrictive trade union practices, and ineffective planning. In some ways, we are still building the cathedrals of the Middle Ages when we need to build space stations and advanced factories on earth.
The technological capability exists for vast improvement in our methods, and it will be our management effectiveness that determines our success in the long run. With the vision of what can be done and the commitment to make full use of available technology, the future for construction should hold many extraordinary developments.