America's Crumbling Infrastructure Will Make Work for Surveyors

Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America’s Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry (The University of Chicago Press, October 2007, $25.00).

For many years, I have been hearing how automation is going to transform the construction industry. Whether it’s machine control for construction equipment or interactive 3D models, changes are stirring in the world’s largest economic engine. Many of these changes do not bode well for our society unless we prepare properly.

Under the lurid headline Day of Reckoning: Why We Can No Longer Ignore the Fatal Flaws in America’s Construction Industry, construction attorney Barry B. LePatner explains why the construction industry has to change.

In the book, LePatner "builds a powerful case for a much-needed change to a risk-averse industry plagued with an archaic Mom & Pop mentality, ineffective management that wastes 50 percent of all labor costs, a shortage of capital, and a tradition of contracts that insulate companies from the costs of their own mistakes."

As surveyors grapple with a current downturn in land development activity, something else I’ve been hearing is the coming growth in infrastructure spending. LePatner pessimistically paints an almost insurmountable picture, but also show a way out. For those surveyors who intend on continuing their line of work, dividends will be paid by paying attention to the winds of change.