The History of Construction

The history of construction is long and varied.

From the very beginning of time to a future with robots, construction has been a large part of our human history and daily life.

In this article, we will look at:

  • The history of construction
  • When it started
  • How it evolved
  • Where construction is headed

Let’s get started!

The History of Construction


The history of construction begins in the new stone age, also known as the Neolithic Age.

Construction tools during this time were made from mud, grass, stone, wood, and even the remains of animals, like tusks or bone. These allowed people to build simple structures, like huts and tents.

As humans began to advance, so did the tools. The Bronze Age introduced the use of copper and bronze, while saws began to get sharper and easier to cut with.


Common tools

Photo by Hunter Haley on Unsplash


The Iron Age

The Iron Age began with the creation of steel, which allowed for more complex building structures.

While different civilizations advanced at different rates, many important structures were made during this time:

  • The Great Wall of China was created with wood, earth, stone, and mortar
  • Imhotep becomes the first architect and helped construct the pyramids in Egypt
  • Skilled masons helped to detail and build the Parthenon in Greece
  • The Roman Empire made the first true stone arch, creating a major industry of brickmaking.
  • They are also credited for mastering trusses and creating advanced pipe systems

The Middle Ages and the Renaissance

The Middle Ages saw more advances, with more focus on the individual home. Fireplaces and chimneys began to show up, leading to homes having rooms that could be heated separately.

During the Italian Renaissance, construction began to make an important distinction between being a designer and being a builder.

This allowed for both professions to develop a greater distinction between the roles, with separate levels of skills and expertise devoted to each.

Meanwhile, Rome began to focus more on appearance when it came to buildings.

This opened the door to many of the styles and designs influencing construction and architecture.

The Industrial Revolution

The production of iron, especially cast iron, was a major creation during this time.

Along with iron, the introduction of electricity and the railroad system helped to accelerate progress in the 1800s.

These four advancements helped to shape construction as we know it:

  • Wrought iron structures improved, which led to the invention of high-rise buildings
  • Advancements in brick casings helped to protect iron structure
  • Electric elevators were developed for easy transportation through buildings
  • Railroads opened quicker and better transportation options and routes

The Industrial Revolution also introduced other construction tools and travel options, such as steam engines, steel, I-beams, the circular saw, and reinforced concrete.

How Construction Has Evolved


From the simple tools to the more complex machinery used in architecture and buildings we see today, construction has evolved to become a major focus in many aspects of daily life.

A lot of how construction has evolved is thanks to technology.

Design, for instance, has been radically changed.

Thanks to 3D rendering software and computer-aided design (CAD), designing buildings has become easier and even faster.

3D models give architects and engineers conceptual views of what a building will look like and sometimes, how the underlying materials function after construction.

Computer Aided Design mockup

Photo by Kumpan Electric on Unsplash

The rise in environmental concerns and sustainability has changed how buildings are constructed. The use of green materials means new creation methods and new effective efficiency solutions.

Another evolution is that of modular and pre-fabrication construction.

This is when a building is constructed in a factory environment instead of a traditional environment.

Pre-fabrication is another way of construction sustainability, as it helps to eliminate about 80% of location activity and site disruption.

A major benefit of technology  is better safety measures.

Thanks to automated sensors which help measure temperature, potential hazardous particles, and other hazardous materials, construction sites are not only safer, but are able to deliver additional information to management.

Communication is another big benefit of construction technology.

Communication and collaboration between engineers, project managers, architects, and others is extremely important, such as discussing changes that can be done quickly and effectively.

Where Construction is Headed

We’ve looked at the history of construction, from the Bronze Age to the Industrial Revolution and we’ve looked at how construction has evolved thanks to technology.

Now let’s look at where construction is headed.

At the time of this writing, there has been a global shutdown of businesses and other industries due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This has had a heavy impact on the construction industry.

While there are some areas and states that have allowed for construction business to continue, many states have deemed construction to be non-essential businesses.

Construction Activity Report

The outlook for the construction industry is uncertain, however this applies  across other industries as well.

The good news is that in some states, the restrictions for self-isolation have begun to relax, allowing for some businesses to reopen.

There is also the growing use for more artificial intelligence (AI) based technology, such as drones, to help keep social distancing on construction sites.

Technology can also help in screening symptoms for employees, providing valuable status updates to those who may be infected and keeping others on site safe.

In this article, we looked at the long history of construction, how construction has evolved from past to present, and where construction is headed in the future.

As mentioned, the current global pandemic has put many projects on hold. That doesn’t mean construction is no longer needed.

The history of construction has shown that humble beginnings can grow into future developments and for our current history, construction tech may be a big part of that future.

How has COVID-19 affected your construction business? Connect with us on social to let us know.

And if you’re looking for mobile storage to use on your construction site, give us a call at 800.686.9114 or fill out the form below.


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