What Is a Construction Company?

In much the same way that people often wonder “What is the meaning of life?” there are some questions that you just have to have answers to.

In recent weeks, we’ve given a lot of thought into answering a very basic question about construction companies in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties: which construction companies in South Florida are the most digitally-savvy?

But on a more basic level, what actually is a construction company? Is it a business that builds homes, office buildings, retail strip malls, industrial warehouses, hospitals, schools, stadiums, roads, bridges, or marinas? Or all of the above?

To set out to answer the question -- “what is a construction company?” --  I turned to one of the world’s leading authorities on this and millions of other topics: Google. Here’s what I found.

Harper Collins

A construction company is “a business enterprise concerned with for example the construction of buildings and bridges.”

Park Enterprise Construction Co. Inc.

A civil construction company develops and manages construction projects such as bridges, roads, tunnels, and underground utility infrastructure. Civil engineering projects like this are often within the framework of government contracts or private enterprise oversight.

The Constructor

According to The Constructor, a resource for civil engineers, there are eight different kinds of construction companies:

  • Construction managers -- supplies all of the required construction staff including accounts, superintendents, expediters, and project managers
  • General contractors -- typically focusing on either new buildings or alteration projects; building contractors often subcontract most of their word, while alteration contractors usually hire their own staff
  • Owner-builders -- a type of construction company that only builds buildings that it will itself own -- either for the purpose of selling on competition or renting and operating
  • Package builders -- also known as turnkey builders, take on responsibilities for design and construction, as well as land acquisition and project financing
  • Program managers -- construction manager or general contractor with expanded services including demolition, financial analysis, hiring and supervising architecture and design expertise, managing bidding process, pre-construction, site acquisition, supervising, and tenant leasing
  • Real estate developers -- a type of owner-builder construction company that can sell the project either before or after project completion; home builders are a type of real estate developer
  • Small renovation constructors -- work on jobs that require minimal amounts of capital and estimating
  • Sponsor builders -- most common with government-aided or subsidized projects; responsibilities can include construction, design, planning, maintenance, management, and rentals

U.S. Small Business Administration

Six of the ten fastest growing categories that the U.S. Small Business Administration tracks are related to construction: including architects, contractors, and real estate brokers.


Construction is the process of constructing a building or infrastructure. Construction typically takes place on location for a known client -- and starts with planning, design, and financing; and continues until the project is built and ready for use.

Large-scale construction -- or megaprojects -- are multidisciplinary in nature and usually include a/an

  • architect
  • construction engineer
  • construction manager
  • design engineer
  • project manager

Construction is a general term that means the art and science that forms objects, systems, or organizations. The word construction is derived from the Latin word “constructionem” (from com- "together" and struere "to pile up").

Industry insiders segment the construction industry by these kinds of construction companies:

  • Building construction -- which is then further subdivided into residential and commercial/institutional construction
  • Industrial construction -- includes manufacturing facilities, power generation, and refineries,
  • Infrastructure construction -- includes heavy civil or heavy engineering such as bridges, dams, highways, railways, utility distribution and water

While some might make the assumption that United States is the global leader in construction output, that assumption would be wrong.

The United States has the second largest construction economy ($599 billion in 2015), slightly ahead of Japan ($569 billion in 2015). But way behind China’s world-leading construction output of $1.849 billion in 2015.

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Be sure to let us know in the Comments section below how you personally would answer the question: “What Is a Construction Company?”

If you’re a principal or staff member of a construction company in South Florida, and you want to learn more about which construction companies are best positioned to win in a digital-first world, you can download a free 10-page excerpt from the South Florida Construction Market Opportunity Report.

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