BUILDING A PROFESSION
A history of general contractors in Belgium (1870 - 1970)Jelena Dobbels
SynopsisIn Belgium, from the 1870s onwards, a client can engage one general contractor for a construction job. This general contractor is responsible for both the organisation and execution of a complete construction project. Which preconditions initiated the establishment of this profession? What background(s) did these general contractors have? How was the collaboration with other building actors, such as architects and engineers? And how did the establishment of this professional group influence the Belgian construction sector from a long-term perspective? This book answers these questions by telling the story of general contractors in Belgium for the period 1870-1970. A diverse range of historical sources was analysed, such as archives of general contracting companies and their professional associations. A broad picture is sketched, covering three levels of general contracting fi rms, professional general contractors’ associations, but also interactions within the broader construction sector. This analysis offers new insights into the functioning of the historical Belgian building sector, in which so far especially the role and position of architects and engineers had been highlighted.
Table of contentsTable of contents
Jelena Dobbels (1988) is architectural historian and heritage researcher. In 2018, she obtained her PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in the field of architectural and construction history with a dissertation on the emergence and development of the profession of general contractor in Belgium (1870-1970). Her research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century construction actors, their business archives and professional associations. From April 2021 onwards, she works as the advisor for archives and heritage libraries at FARO, the Flemish Institution for the Cultural Heritage.