BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCEThe construction industry is a major player in the nation’s economy. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BFA), the construction industry contribution to the national gross domestic product in 2015 amounted to approximately $800 billion. The industry is diverse and includes spending by Federal, state, and local governments, as well as by small and large construction companies. Furthermore, the U. S. construction industry employed over 6.5 million workers in 2015 making it a significant economic sector that employs the largest number of professionals and workers.
The complex nature of the construction industry coupled with the challenges of global competitiveness, advanced construction techniques, smart materials, energy efficiency, renewable energy, green and sustainability issues, and evolving regulatory requirements have created the need for providing higher levels of training of construction professionals. Today’s construction companies must respond to these challenges and to the demands of private and public owners who are constantly expecting more for their money. Therefore, an essential and integral part of any comprehensive plan for addressing these challenges must be innovative construction research. The US industry must strive to address these challenges by facilitating the creation of collaborative research partnerships that will contribute to its advancement and enhance its global competitiveness.