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Construction 4.0 and its potential impact on people working in the construction industry

Sherratt, F., Dowsett, R. ORCID: and Sherratt, S. (2020) Construction 4.0 and its potential impact on people working in the construction industry. Management, Procurement and Law, 173 (4). pp. 145-152. ISSN 1751-4304

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1680/jmapl.19.00053


Construction 4.0 is bringing change to our industry through digitization and technological innovation. Such change deliberately impacts ‘traditional’ ways of working, as it actively seeks to disrupt the norm and so enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of construction project delivery. Yet technology is not neutral, it brings with it an autonomy and an amorality that is potentially cause for concern. Here we draw on Ellul’s theory of technique, as associated with technology, to unpack Construction 4.0 from critical perspectives and explore the potential it has to bring social and ethical challenges to our industry, and specifically its people. For example, trade workers may become usurped by technologies that automate their work, whilst professionals may find their roles within the design, engineering and construction processes become more heavily influenced and shaped by the technologies themselves. Indeed, the role of the ‘technology owner’ may become more powerful than any traditional profession in the future, as they become dominant actors within the construction industry space. This paper aims to stimulate discussion and debate in this area, and encourage the development of a more critical voice to supplement the technocratic optimism that currently surrounds Construction 4.0.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Organisation, People and Technology group
ID Code:90684
Publisher:ICE Publishing


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