Construction is the process of constructing a building or infrastructure. Construction differs from manufacturing in that manufacturing typically involves mass production of similar items without a designated purchaser, while construction typically takes place on location for a known client. Construction as an industry comprises six to nine percent of the gross domestic product of developed countries. Construction starts with planning, design, and financing; and continues until the project is built and ready for use.
Large-scale construction requires collaboration across multiple disciplines. An architect normally manages the job, and a construction manager, design engineer, construction engineer or project manager supervises it. For the successful execution of a project, effective planning is essential. Those involved with the design and execution of the infrastructure in question must consider zoning requirements, the environmental impact of the job, the successful scheduling, budgeting, construction-site safety, availability and transportation of building materials, logistics, inconvenience to the public caused by construction delays and bidding, etc. The largest construction projects are referred to as megaprojects.
A construction worker is a tradesperson, labourer (by tradition considered an unskilled tradesperson), or professional employed in the physical construction of the built environment and its infrastructure.
The term construction worker is a generic term and most construction workers are primarily described by the type of work they perform (their trade). Construction workers may also be colloquially being referred to as "hard hat workers" or "hard hats", as they often wear hardhats for safety. Construction workers often work under a construction foreman.
While most construction workers learn on the job as an informal apprentice to an experienced tradesman, formal apprenticeship programs are common, particularly in developed countries with trade unions.
The division of labor of construction encompasses a diverse range of skilled and manual labor. Among the most common construction trades are those of carpenter, electrician, heavy equipment operator, ironworker, laborer, mason, plasterer, plumber, pipefitter, sheet metal worker, steel fixer (also known as a "rodbuster"), and welder.
Construction safety is very important to ensure a safe environment for the workers. All construction workers need to be educated on safety at each construction site to minimize injury.
In 2008, a Human Rights Watch report described unsafe and unfair working conditions and failure on the part of the Chinese government to enforce labor standards in the construction industry. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that, at the end of 2006, 90% of the 40 million construction workers in China were migrant workers. Many of the migrant workers turned to construction work after their farming communities collapsed into poverty.
In the United States, illegal immigrant labor is prevalent in the construction industry. Because of the questionable legal status of these workers, employers often have the ability to commit crimes such as wage theft and violation of workplace standards without fear of facing consequences. Similar abuse of immigrant labor is also a problem in Qatar during the lead up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup where workers mostly from poor Asian countries are forced to work in desert conditions for as little as €6.20 a day.