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Innovations in the construction industry: problems and potentials


Prasanna Kulatilake

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Innovation is the means by which an industry progresses taking either big leaps or gradual development. However, the construction industry, compared to other industries such as chemical, electronic, automobile etc, is rather ill equipped for innovations and records a little progress in its main streams of activities; design and construction. While innovation in design may take place even on a project by project basis, in the main stream of construction this seems notably absent.

In this context, the objective of this paper is to discuss such aspects that may arise at various levels within the construction industry and suggest possible remedial measures. In doing so, the study evolves into three major phases. At the outset, the term innovation is defined in general terms and then in relation to applicability in the construction sector. The need for innovation in the present day context is highlighted. The key issues related to innovation within the context of the structure of the construction industry and the related external factors are discussed at the subsequent stage. The third and the final phase outlines the possible measures that could be adopted in order to overcome such drawbacks as well as to induce the culture of innovation within the construction industry.

In this Study, an attempt has been made to capture the scenario in general, as the issue of innovation in the construction sector is common to almost any country situation. The recommendations too are made general, which could however be adopted to suit the specific situation where appropriate. Although the situation of Hong Kong has been taken into discussion for illustrations, the issues raised are common to the Construction Industry in many parts of the world.
How to Cite: Kulatilake, P., 2016. Innovations in the construction industry: problems and potentials. Built-Environment Sri Lanka, 1(2), pp.2–9. DOI:
Published on 29 Jul 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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