1st Edition

The American Construction Industry Its Historical Evolution and Potential Future

By Brian Bowen Copyright 2021
    226 Pages 111 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 111 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The American Construction Industry meticulously chronicles the evolution of the construction industry from its roots in the medieval guild system to the high-tech jobsite of tomorrow. While celebrating more than two millennia of progress and innovation, this resource for students and professionals uncovers the ways of working that crossed the Atlantic with the earliest European settlers and will continue to define building trades in the United States today and in the years and decades to come. Full color illustrations bring the past to life and provide visual links to the present day.

    Chapter 1.An Overview of the Construction Industry Today

    Chapter 2.Classical Times

    Chapter 3.Medieval Times – The Foundation of the Industry

    Chapter 4.The Renaissance 1350 – 1600

    Chapter 5.17th Century England

    Chapter 6.The American Colonies 17th C.

    Chapter 7.Industrial Revolution – Great Britain 18th C.

    Chapter 8.American Colonies 18th C.

    Chapter 9.Developments in the New Republic - 1783 to the Civil War

    Chapter 10.USA from Civil War to 1900

    Chapter 11.20th Century to World War II

    Chapter 12World War II to the Present Time

    Chapter 13.Some Conclusions

    Chapter 14.The Future


    Brian Bowen retired as president of Hanscomb Inc. in 2000 after a career in England, Canada and the United States. From that time, he supported the College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology in various capacities and was appointed a Professor in the Practice of Construction Management. His focus has been on researching and teaching Construction History. In 2008 he formed the Construction History Society of America.

    "Architects, builders, and those with an interest in industrial history will appreciate this definitive book—revealing our practices from the earliest of times to the present in a narrative both entertaining and informative." –A. Peter Hilger, Morse Distinguished University Teacher, University of Minnesota

    "Brian Bowen’s The American Construction Industry is a much-needed corrective to architectural history, placing contractors and builders at the center of the long story of building construction. Relying on his background in the industry and using illuminating examples of contracts, correspondence, and other key documents across eras, Bowen explains the combined effects of economics, the law, labor, and professional organization, among others, in realizing both grand monuments and everyday dwellings. Essential as a reference and enlightening as a narrative." –Thomas Leslie, Morrill Professor in Architecture, Iowa State University

    "Professor Bowen’s manuscript provides important background and context for understanding the origins of the American construction industry. This meticulously researched book helps readers understand how the early craftsmen and builders of the colonial area evolved into the industry that has constructed the world’s largest and most sophisticated economy." –Brian Turmail, Vice President of Public Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, Associated General Contractors of America