Eye on the Future: Visions, Challenges, and Trends in Electrical Contracting
The engineering and construction industry undertakes the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance activities that transform resources of labor, capital (money, materials, and equipment), and knowledge into the facilities required to meet a broad range of physical, economic, and social needs. A typical life cycle of the industry’s product consists of the phases and activities shown in Figure 1. The engineering and construction industry is one of the largest sectors of the nation’s economy, contributing in excess of $850 billion to the gross national product and providing employment opportunities for more than 6 million workers. The industry has strong backward linkages within the economy by providing markets for many types of raw materials, manufactured products, and knowledge-intensive services. It also has vital forward linkages in that it provides the infrastructure, production facilities, and buildings needed throughout all sectors of the economy.
The electrical contracting industry, as a specialty subcontractor, is a major and growing component of engineering and construction, currently accounting for more than 10 percent of the industry’s output and employment. This share can only grow in the future with the accelerating pace of incorporation of communications, computers, and low-voltage electronic technologies in the constructed facilities of today and tomorrow. Electrical contracting firms are also key players in the electrical industry, where they supply services to electric power consumers and utilities and provide a market for electrical equipment manufacturers and distributors. Thus, the industry has business opportunities in two major and distinctive markets.