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Innovation in the Japanese Construction Industry: A 1995 Appraisal.

pdf icon Innovation in the Japanese Construction Industry: A 1995 Appraisal. (14577 K)
Gann, R. G.; Anderson, T. L.; Bomba, S. J.; Cemenska, R. A.; DiTomas, E. E.; Duscha, L. A.; Ehrenkrantz, E.; Goldberg, B.; McGinnis, C. I.; Paulson, B. C., Jr.; Raufaste, N. J., Jr.; Reinschmidt, K. F.; Rosenfeld, A. H.

NIST SP 898; 265 p. March 1996.


Department of Energy, Washington, DC

Available from:

Government Printing Office
Order number: SN003-03401-1


construction; industries


As part of a national effort to benchmark the competitiveness of U.S. industries, this study evaluates the state of technology and innovation in the Japanese construction industry. That industry is large, solid and progressive, leading the world in the size of its construction industry relative to GDP, in the modernity and quality of its constructed facilities, in the size and quality of its physical research laboratories, and in its private and public investments in construction research and development. The Japanese have built an integrated approach toward incorporating new technologies into their design and construction projects and lead in such areas as large-scale bridges, tunnels, soft-ground construction, congested area construction, high performance construction materials, automated "jack-up" erection techniques for high-rise buildings, and computer visualization of residences for prospective buyers. The United States leads in computer integration of design and construction, the economy of constructed facilities, and global positioning systems. The Japanese are generally faster in providing nationalwide acceptance of innovations. The Japanese industry has taken strong measures to increase the pace of its internationalization, but still lags both United States and European competitors in market penetration, in large part due to the currently strong yen. Recent economic pressures have reduced the Japanese allocation of resources to construction R&D. The United States and its construction industry can benefit from the practices and innovations developed by the Japanese. While a direct transfer of the Japanese R&D approach and the emerging technologies may not always be feasible, the opportunities for modified application and the potential value of increased U.S. investment in construction R&D should not be overlooked. The U.S. industry would derive considerable benefit from the establishment of a U.S. public/private sector program both to conduct multidisciplinary R&D and to efficiently disseminate evaluated technology focussed in the construction field.