Construction Value Chain - Overview
The residential construction industry value chain involves three stages, design, production and conversion of raw materials into manufactured products, and onsite construction, as discussed below.
- The design stage involves putting the structure idea into visual sketches and drawings that represent the final product/residential structure. In addition, the design team is responsible for ensuring that the project is in line with all the state regulations and codes as well as fulfills the overall usability building and vision of the owner.
- The design team may consist of the lead architect, civil and structural consultants, landscape architect, and electrical, plumbing, and mechanical consultants. For more complex residential projects, waterproofing and roof consultant, cost consultant, interior designer, and an acoustical consultant may be involved.
- The four steps involved in the design stage of construction include; programming and feasibility, schematic design, followed by design development and finally contract documents.
- Programming and feasibility involve outlining of the construction project's goals and objectives. These may include the size of the building, the amount of space as well as the number of rooms.
- Schematic design outlines the space, colors, textures, and materials used in the form of a sketch.
- Using the sketch from the previous stage, design development helps determine materials to be used, the costing as well as the equipment needed.
- The final stage of contract documents details all the construction final drawings as well as specifications. These documents are later used during on-site construction.
- In case innovative design concepts are integrated, they must be first tested to ensure technological feasibility. This may include consideration of operation or production technological requirements, resources for design, as well as construction technology.
Production and Conversion of Raw Materials into Manufactured Products
- Depending on the magnitude of the construction project, this stage commences after design approval or after the contractor for the project has been chosen. At this stage, the project team is put together and roles assigned accordingly.
- The project team is responsible for preparing the construction site before actual construction works begin. Some specialties that must be included are; field engineer, project manager, contract administrator, superintendent, and health and safety manager. During this stage, any environment challenges are identified and predicted, including soil testing for the construction site.
- The team then proceeds to prepare and obtain the required equipment, materials and workforce. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, materials required may include; glass, aluminum, plastics, steel, bricks or clay, and cement.
- This stage is usually executed by the general contractor. However, sometimes subcontractors and materials suppliers may be involved with clearly detailed roles.
- Onsite construction starts once all teams are set up and required materials obtained and prepared. Usually, a pre-construction meeting is performed to ensure that all the involved workforce and teams are on the same page of the project details, goals, and objectives. The meeting also details information on the project's quality control, job site access, working hours, as well as storage of the construction materials.
- Schedules are streamlined for all workers, project agents as well as subcontractors involved. It is recommended to use a digital solution for residential construction planning purposes to avoid common pitfalls.
- The on-site construction stage involves numerous works that are well coordinated by effective sequencing, legislative compliance, as well as keen attention on material delivery lead times to avoid any disruptions.
- Summarily, this stage must address; appropriate quality measures, defects and their liability period, proper addressing of the design, dispute resolution, as well as realistic project schedule.
To provide an overview of the value chain of the residential construction industry, we scoured industry reports, publications, expert articles, as well as credible niche websites. We were not able to identify the different stages involved as well as the processes or steps in each of the value chain stages in the residential construction niche specifically. We, therefore, carried out a triangulation to establish that the outlined value chain stages are applicable to the general construction value chain (all types of construction). This means that irrespective of whether it is residential construction or commercial construction or otherwise, these stages and the basic processes/steps within them apply.
We sought to identify the major types of construction and their features, then identify the major differences. We identified four major types of construction; residential building, institutional and commercial building, specialized industrial construction, infrastructure, and heavy construction. From the differences we were able to identify that the major differentiating factors are; materials used, equipment used, the end-use, pace of work, permits required, funding, as well as the functionality. The stages involved in the construction value chain were similar; the only differences were on the above-mentioned factors. Therefore, we concluded that the outlined stages of construction industry value chain (design, production and conversion of raw materials into manufactured products, and onsite construction) are similar to all types of construction; hence for the requested residential construction industry.