Technical and Organisational Change in UK Construction


  • John Lowe Glasgow Caledonian University



This paper examines the broad technological and organisational change trends in the UK construction sector. This uses the information from the input-output balances to track the key inputs to construction from the production and services sectors, along with self-input from construction. The inputs to the UK construction sector from 1997 through to 2020, based on the current supply and use tables, form the basis for the analysis. Changes in the inputs from the key commodity groups for materials and services are presented as a time series. Regression analysis is used to evaluate the relationship of the input coefficients against time to see if the slope is significantly different from zero. The changes in the material and service sector inputs are also discussed. The results demonstrate that most of the twelve material groups showed downward trends over the period studied, while most of the five service groups showed increases. This shows that materials provide a declining share of inputs to construction while most services sector inputs, along with self-input from construction, absorb higher shares. This is used to throw some light on changing trends in construction technology and organisational change in areas such as subcontracting, off-site prefabrication, and plant hire. The approach is limited because it can only identify changes between the various broad groups used in the supply and use tables. The analysis confirms certain of the well-documented technological changes in construction. These include the ongoing replacement of traditional brick-build structures with timber-framed technology. It does confirm the continued expansion of the use of subcontracting in construction. It also shows increased inputs from technology and information services and architectural and consultancy services. More surprisingly it does not indicate any rise in off-site prefabrication.

Keywords: Construction economics, input-output analysis, organisational change, technical change.




How to Cite

Lowe, J. (2023). Technical and Organisational Change in UK Construction. Journal of Construction Business and Management, 6(2), 50–61.




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