1Introduction: Foresight and Futures Studies in Construction and Development

Tim Dixon, John Connaughton and Stuart Green

‘It is far better to foresee even without certainty than not to foresee at all.’

Henri Poincare, mathematician, 1854–1912 (Poincare, 1013: 129)

1.1 Background and context

Despite the impact of the Great Recession the construction industry1 remains a vital and important part of the UK economy. For example, in 2014 construction contributed £103 billion in economic output, which is 6.6% of the total UK output, and 2.1 million jobs, or 6.2% of total jobs in 2015 (Rhodes, 2015). Recent research (GCP Global & Oxford Economics, 2015) suggests that the importance of the construction industry globally is set to grow by 85% to $15.5 trillion by 2030, with three countries (China, the USA and India) leading the way and accounting for 57% of all global growth. Continued high levels of investment are also expected to contribute to a growing built asset value globally. In 2012, the combined stock of built asset wealth in the 30 largest economies totalled $193 trillion, and this is set to grow to $261 trillion by 2022 at a rate of 35% in real terms, with 30–40% of GDP attributable globally to built asset wealth (HM Government, 2015a). With continued growth in the UK operations and facilities management sector, and a growing smart cities market there is also considerable potential in the UK construction industry.

This provides rich opportunities for UK construction, ...

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