1. Food Gathering


2. Agriculture

Fortified sites mainly of earth, Chief's dwelling. Dry stone walling

3. Simple Technology

Temples & Chiefs' tombs - mud brick

4. City State

Large temples of worked stone and mortar, simple structures built with great accuracy and ornament. Large fortified walled cities and public buildings - courts, markets, government.

5. Empire (Roman)

Development of the Arch - more variety. Extensive fortifications, long walls, forts, aqueducts. Modest towns have extensive public buildings, combinations of columns & arches, enclosing large spaces - assembly halls & justice, markets, temples, baths, circus, government. Mass produced pottery - roofing & building materials, heating. Glass windows.

Beginnings of large structures for manufacturing, especially potteries. Development of Arch into Dome - cathedrals. Concrete.

6. Medieval (Europe)

Rare case of technology which did not regress (due to Roman church taking over much of government of Europe whence the technology was preserved for church building).
England regressed to c Level 3, but advanced on becoming Christian. Later vast cathedrals of columns, arches, domes. Substantial castles - later softened into houses for the aristocracy

7. Industrial Revolution

Need for industrial premises met by mass produced pottery, gradually increasing in size into mills and factories.

8.Consumer Society

Wooden frames replaced by steel, wattle & daub by brick - greater heights and floors possible - reduction in masonry - very large structures, simple to construct. Gas & electricity - heating & lighting, lifts - higher structures possible.

9. Mass Production Society

Pottery/mortar structures give way to concrete, moulded to shape required, steel re-enforced. Large structures almost all steel frame, re-enforced concrete.


1. Food Gathering 2. Agriculture 3. Simple Technology Fortified sites Fortified Dwelling Area ; Temples : Public Buildings : : Markets 4. Ciry State : : Theatres : : Circus 5. Roman Empire : : : Baths : : Fortifications : : : Factories : : : : : ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6. Medieval (Europe) : Fortifications Castles Walled Theatres : Barns Towns : : : Cathedrals : Churches 7. Industrial Schools : : : Revolution Factories : : Warehouses : Large : : : Firms 8. Consumer Public Buildings & Society : : Department Stores : : Orgs : : : : Baths : : : : Hospitals Offices 9. Mass Production : : : : : Society : : HQs of : : Cinemas : : Divisions : : : Swimming pools: & Government : : : SBUs offices : : : : : : Super : : R & D : Markets : : : Labs : : :: : : :: : : :: : Sports Centres: ::


Large Structures can only be built when someone has access to very substantial economic resources. This means someone who is either a "Chief" or a member of a military group.

As economic level rises, Chiefs have access to more resources, and can therefore build more and bigger large structures - much of which do not have economic ends. More members of the ruling group come into this category, and the numbers of Chiefs and ruling elites increase, (from Government - as societies develop, the numbers of sub-groups increase, with their own ruling elites).

Thus the number of large structures increases, probably exceeding economic growth, and this is the Constant Trend.

Early structures are fortified and secure sites, often containing the dwelling of the Chief, later extended to more of the ruling group. Religion may be the ruling group, or associated - and Temples are a fairly early development, followed by buildings of more general use and entertainment of the people. Purely functional large structures for industry and commerce follow last at higher levels of development.

In our own society we have also seen the growth of sub groups, especially the large business firm - who are largely autonomous - who increasingly acquire resources to build large structures needed for production, and to house the work of progressively large numbers of their ruling groups - and increasingly the ruling groups of their constituent parts (Divisions, SBUs). Thus we have the rise of the office block.

There has been a growth of other sub groups in addition to firms. By the time they reach large building stage they tend to look like quasi business (Motoring and other Clubs, Building Societies, Professional Societies), or are politico-religious in character (early schools developing into universities).


The Constant Trend is likely to continue to operate, though probably at a a lower level. We can expect some changes in the various components however.

Governments have historically been at the forefront of large building construction. This has or will change. Government financing problems throughout the advanced world (from Government and Leisure & Surplus Wealth) is likely to curtail this. There was a plethora of municipal developments such as public recreational facilities in the 1970s in the UK - these are unlikely to be extended. Growth of government staff is likely to be checked - and with it the need for office blocks. Up grading of accommodation is likely to be slow.

The main demand for large structures is likely to come from business firms. But here there will be pluses and minuses, from impacts from other areas:

  1. The New World Trading Patterns and the migration of much of heavy industries and simple manufacturing will render obsolete much of the traditional factory accommodation. The activities remaining of Multi National Corporation management, R & D, design and marketing will principally require office type accommodation with a range of specialist requirements (from World Development - New World Trading Patterns)

  2. Automation and the Computer Media will gradually change much of Post Industrial Manufacturing into requiring accommodation nearer that of an office than traditional factory. It seems that the existing stock of traditional factory premises will not be suitable for the Automation & CM Age (a feel for this can be obtained in places like California), and also....

  3. ... they are in the wrong places. Activities will progressively move out of urban conurbations, to the edges of them, to secondary town areas, and to completely non-urban areas (from Agriculture - Town Symbiosis already occurring).

    1, 2, & 3 will this have the effect of putting demand on the construction industry to renew industrial premises, even though there may not be much net increase in the numbers of large structures.

There are groups of impacts from trends towards the underground economy, to services and small business. These all have the effect of people migrating out of large company employment, and with it one might expect a flow of people from working in large structures to smaller ones. The net effect is however a bit more difficult to judge. The underground economy and the very small business often requires people working from home with some family members helping though they have regular employment. But even the smaller business often requires specialist accommodation. In the past the smaller business eg solicitors, accountants, shops) have tended to use old dwellings in the town centres. Possibly this may continue to be the pattern - or the supply may become inadequate (especially where the planning laws prevent the use of dwellings for business). Then one can expect office blocks which are let off in small units - probably providing communal office facilities (these have proved popular where they have been tried in the UK, and are more common in the US).

An increase in crime and protest groups may turn more HQs of firms and prodiction sites into secure (or fortified) sites - both physically and informationally (already occurring).

It is possible to visualise the HQ of a large firm as a Mycenaean citadel - and it is possible that some of the subsequent development of the City States will be mirrored - in them providing more services and entertainment for their members. Evidence of this can be seen in the work-place provision of sports facilities, social facilities and shops - and this trend may continue.

As mentioned in the Constant Trends, non-business sub groups will create large structures. In addition to educational establishment, large charities are featuring. As in the past when groups reach this stage they will probably look like quasi businesses - providing information and services concerned with their specialize.

In technology, we should expect to see a continuation of the trend towards factory made moulded components, for erection on site. Increasingly such components will be made with a view to their insulating properties, or insulating materials will be incorporated in them. Control of heat and ventilation will follow that described in Dwellings. - but may be implemented earlier in large buildings. Large structures will tend to get higher, but may also go down deeper into the ground - especially in congested areas or where a process would benefit from a below ground environment.


New World Trading Patterns will not operate for this Sector - construction has to take place at the site of the building. Although there could be scope for export and import of building components, their weight relative to their value has tended to limit this - but there will probably be a growth in trade of lighter plastic components.

The same trends will operate for all developing countries, as outlined in the History, giving a growth of large structures, as well as dwellings. For dwellings, the technology of construction is low - so Post Industrial concerns will have less to offer - unless large estates or large blocks are planned. For large structures the technology is higher, and there will be demand for their advanced techniques, as they are finding. This should continue. Where a Construction concerns is successful it may form a permanent presence in some developing countries, and take on some of the form of Multi-Nations Corporations. Unfortunately disruption to this development may occur from re-occurring Banking Crises. These leave Construction concerns much weakened, as the funding of large construction projects is heavily tied to health of the Banks worldwide.

The current Credit Crunch will eventually work itself out, as the problem US Securities are secured on US homes, where the Sub-Prime element will eventually be eliminated - but the Banks' recovery may take longer than previous Banking Crises. Unfortunately another Banking Crisis can be expected to surface from a wholly unforecastable source. The Construction Industry will then be affected yet again.

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