Construction Conundrum

Why Construction Matters

The Global Construction Industry Represents:

  • $10 trillion or 13% of world GDP, in 2018; projected to be $14 trillion by 2025.
  • 7% of the world's working population.
  • 1% annual productivity growth (flat in advanced economies) vs 2.8% growth in the world economy, and 3.6% in manufacturing, in the past 2 decades.
  • The potential to unlock $1.6 trillion/year of additional value; equivalent to the GDP of Canada, or a 2% increase in global GDP.
  • The potential for sector productivity improvement of 50-60%.
  • An industry that evolves very slowly over time.

Construction Falling Behind

Most people don't think much about the construction industry one way or another.

But the industry plays a very important role in society.

It provides our shelter, our places of work, our social, spiritual, education and entertainment spaces, our mines, mills, and factories which produce the goods we want and need, the shopping spaces from which we get those goods and services and the transportation infrastructure that connects them all together.

All this infrastructure we rely upon has to be constructed.

Global construction related goods and services clocks in at $10 trillion annual spending and employs 7% of the worlds working population (1).

Unfortunately, the construction industry as a whole is struggling to achieve Greatness.

KPMG (2) released a report in 2017 which states:

"... the industry's overall performance during this period continues to tell a discouragingly different story, replete with a continued inability to increase productivity, raise performance levels and reduce project failures - a record that pales against the achievements in other sectors".

But these reports (and others) go beyond identifying the challenges, they also offer suggestions for improvement.

The McKinsey (1) report suggests that there is the potential for a 50-60% improvement in sector productivity over time with the potential to unlock $1.6 trillion global value annually.

The BuildForce/GoProductivity report (3) identifies Canada as "a centre of excellence in construction innovation."


  1. (McKinsey Global Institute, Reinventing Construction: A Route to Higher Productivity, February 2017)
  2. (Make it, or break it: Reimagining governance, people and technology in the construction industry - Global Construction Survey, 2017)
  3. (Construction Productivity: Where Are We Now and Where Do We Need to Go? - BuildForce Canada and GoProductivity)