Cambodia's construction industry is booming, and high-rises are being built across the capital of Phnom Penh. With the city's population doubling over the past four years, it has begun its transformation into a sprawling metropolis. The industry employs a large number of migrant workers who flock to the capital in search of work. Around a third of these workers are women, and photographer Charles Fox's latest project documents them on the building sites. Some of the women are just starting out, others hone skills learnt in the provinces, while others are from the masses of workers who returned from Thailand in 2014 after a crackdown on illegal migrant workers.
To speed hotel construction, Marriott International is increasingly using prefabricated rooms that can be stacked like shoe boxes with a crane. The Maryland-based hotel company -- the world's largest lodging business -- plans to sign deals for 50 hotel construction projects in 2017 that will use prefabricated rooms, including a hotel scheduled to begin construction this year in Hawthorne. Modular construction shortens building time and reduces the need for skilled labor at the construction site. The prefabricated rooms are built in a factory, painted and furnished before they are put on a truck and shipped to the construction site. The practice has become popular in Europe and Asia.
Gone are the days when construction companies used to only rely on spreadsheets, maintain folders, and perform paperwork. Technology has changed the entire outlook of the construction industry. When we talk about embedding technology in construction, we refer to multiple aspects in which we can make the work faster, efficient, and more effective. Construction technology is here to assist the building process, not replace it. Since the world of technology is innovative, advancements are always being made in the construction sector, processes are being sped up -- and more projects are being pushed forward productively.
Perhaps one of the bigger trends for residential construction that is beginning to generate more interest lately is prefab construction. This form of construction initially emerged in the mid-1900s, with the U.K., France, and Russia being some of the first to jump into a large-scale system. Still, while many manufacturing sectors have moved from industry 3.0 to industry 4.0, construction is only starting to make the transition. Some countries are making the shift faster than others. For instance, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in China released the Outline of Modern Development of Building and Construction Industry in 2015.
Construction stakeholders are concerned about inadequate cost controls and poor construction management on projects." This reads like a complaint anyone today would make, given the innumerable construction projects with $50 million, $100 million or $1 billion cost overruns. Is it shocking that this sentiment was not expressed by a 21st century construction engineer, owner or superintendent? Instead, as cited in Philip Bruner's William Mitchell Law Review article, "The Historical Emergence of Construction Law," the complaint was made in the age of Vitruvius, chief engineer of Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus in 24 BC. Today, budget violations on new projects are common.