Construction has been a vital part of human endeavour since the earliest days of civilisation. The creation of basic shelter providing protection from predators and the elements was essential for the survival of our forebears, who were nomadic hunter-gatherers. As agriculture and permanent settlements evolved, the complexity and sophistication of our building and infrastructure needs evolved with them.

Monumental buildings became the hallmark and legacy of the first great civilisations – the pyramids in Egypt, the Acropolis in Athens, the Pantheon and the Colosseum in Rome –taking just some examples from the region around the Mediterranean. During the Middle Ages communities around the world devoted generations of labour and a large part of their limited resources to the creation of magnificent structures exalting the glory of their deity massive Christian cathedrals in Europe, monumental religious altars in South America, and extraordinary pagodas and temples throughout Asia.
Industrialisation took construction requirements beyond the spheres of residential, religious, and community needs into many different and complex areas, requiring increasingly sophisticated plant, equipment, and infrastructure.

The ingenuity and innovation of humankind responded to the challenges of a mechanised and technological world with exponential increases in the capacity and efficiency of our building, engineering, and construction industries. Those industries became the fundamental drivers of developed economies – providing jobs and transport and satisfying basic human needs for water, housing, warmth (through electricity), health (through hospitals), and education (through schools and universities) and enabling the extraction of the minerals and resources and the manufacture of the materials needed to create these facilities.

A transparent and effective legal regime for the certain allocation of risk, responsibility, and reward amongst the principals, contractors, subcontractors, and end users involved in construction projects is an essential component of an efficient construction industry. Where all of those participants are within one jurisdiction, the applicable legal regime will be that of the jurisdiction.
However, the overwhelming trend of globalisation, which has dominated recent decades, has captured almost all areas of trade and commerce, including construction.

Top-tier contractors operating internationally have become a ubiquitous feature of most developed and many developing economies. Multinational firms providing the full range of professional services needed to support the construction industry have become a dominant feature of the professional landscape. Many, if not most, major construction projects now involve participants beyond the country in which the project is located.


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