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Craft versus industry: the division of labour in European housing construction

Clarke, Linda and Wall, Christine (2000) Craft versus industry: the division of labour in European housing construction. Construction Management and Economics, 18 (6). pp. 689-698. ISSN 0144-6193

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/014461900414745


Two distinct divisions and concepts of labour are apparent from an analysis of social housebuilding sites in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands: the craft form, based on controlling the output of labour; and the industry form, based on the quality of labour input. These are associated with different work processes, skills and training, and also different levels of mechanization and component prefabrication. In the UK, which is craft-based, low levels of mechanization and prefabrication were found compared with Germany and the Netherlands, and the range of activities for the separate trades in assembling superstructure elements was simpler. Labourers are distinct from craftsmen and remain a significant group. Skills are narrow and training provision low. A high proportion of the labour force remains self-employed, under labour-only subcontractors, working to price or output. In comparison, in Germany and the Netherlands labour is employed directly and work processes are more complex, with more specialisms at the interfaces. The division of labour is industry-wide, training provision is extensive, and skills are broad and integrated into the grading structure. Greater speed, higher productivity and lower levels of supervision are associated with industry-wide systems compared with traditional craft forms.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Architecture and the Built Environment, School of
ID Code:10663
Deposited On:20 Jun 2012 16:39
Last Modified:20 Jun 2012 16:39

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