Analysis of western European economic history: the emergence of construction contractors and contractors promoted the development of industrial economy
In the cities of the middle Ages in Western Europe, handicraftsmen formed guilds according to their trades, and the rules of the guilds were to be observed by handicraftsmen.The construction of houses in cities is undertaken by builders, but the division of trades is very fine and the boundary is tight, and cross-trades are not allowed to work.Masons, bricklayers, and carpenters have their own guilds.Those who do chimneys are chimney builders;Cook the stove, build the stove carpenter;There are locksmiths who install locks.There are trades of craftsmen who have no workshops of their own, and no materials to sell, but only tools to carry with them, and are employed to do their work. This is true of stonemasons, stoves, chimneys, etc.In a city, if a citizen or workshop mainly built a house, he usually procured the building materials himself, and then hired masons, bricklayers, carpenters, etc., to build the house, and paid the agreed wages.Not only that, but he himself managed to provide scaffolding for the building.If there is no scaffolding in the market, he must buy the wood and have the carpenter build the scaffold.In the early days of urban development, organizations such as construction contractors did not exist.In the countryside, the work of building houses for feudal lords was undertaken by serfs in the form of servitude.While farmers built their own houses, the “help” system was popular, in which families built houses with friends, relatives and neighbors coming to help, usually mutually, without payment.So there was no need for construction crews or anything like that in the countryside.What principle does the organization of construction contractor team and so on press form?In short, it was organized on guild principles.With the development and expansion of urban scale, as well as the increase of public buildings in the city, construction contractors began to appear.Churches, warehouses, town halls, theaters, docks, etc., are all projects that the city desperately needs to build.The original way of purchasing materials by the owner of the house, and then inviting craftsmen from different industries to come to the building is obviously not in line with the need.In this case, it is necessary to have skilled craftsmen to take the lead, to organize craftsmen from different industries together, to form a construction contractor team, employed by a certain project host.Building materials are still purchased by the owner himself, who acts as the director of the project.If the owner of the house is high status, or too busy, he hired a financial director to act as the moderator of the project.The relation between project host and construction contractor team is contract relation.Construction contractor teams led by highly skilled craftsmen are mostly temporary at the beginning of their activities. They invite craftsmen from different industries to work together for the construction of a certain project and disband after the completion of the project.Later, construction contractor team gradually fixed.According to records, since the 12th century in Western Europe, the construction of some cathedrals, popular is the way of construction contract.The chief foreman of a construction contractor does everything. He hires assistants, who in turn hire stonemasons and other builders.The construction period was long, during which construction and management were undertaken by the contractor.Among the assistants, some are in charge of construction, some are in charge of finance, and some are in charge of material supply and construction team management.Not only the construction of the church, but also the royal, municipal and private buildings were contracted out by both parties.In some cases, the chief foreman of a contracted building is only responsible for building and recruiting workers to do the work, while the contractor is responsible for purchasing materials and transporting them.So there are various types of contracts, but it’s the same thing to do a construction project through a contractor’s party. A contractor’s party is an independent guild.When some craftsmen — a plasterer, carpenters and masons together building (such as a cathedral), though they all belong to the same city with a administrative organization, and they each and every one of their respective industry, but they are for the common cause (they know more than anyone else this career) and unite.They were united into a community by a closer, though temporary, connection;They formed a guild to build the cathedral.This independent guild was different from other guilds in the city because it was actually a cross-trade guild, including craftsmen of different trades.Because the work of construction contractors is mobile and accidents of death and injury often occur in construction projects, the guild’s mutual assistance and discipline are particularly evident.The craftsmen worshipped the same guardian deity, performed the same sacrificial task, and had certain religious ceremonies.Artisans call each other brothers, enforce strict discipline, and adhere to the principle of keeping the know-how to themselves.They took care of each other and swore not to do anything that would endanger the community or destroy the unity of the brotherhood.Some construction contractors also wear certain signs, insiders will know that they are their own people.When did the construction guild or construction contractor’s guild come into being?”Although the earliest extant records never date the origin of the guilds, it is clear that they were not of universal importance around 1350.This is in the case of the UK.On the western European continent, construction guilds or construction contractors appeared before Britain, “by the 12th century, skilled craftsmen were abundant.Many have become free craftsmen and have formed guilds.These guilds also left their insignia on the upper floors of some French cathedrals and castles.The differentiation within the construction contractor team initially appeared. The construction contractor team composed of craftsmen from different industries was an organization of small producers.Wages are paid in aggregate, that is, by the employer to pay the contractor team, and then by the contractor team to the craftsmen, generally according to the craftsmen of different technical levels or technical proficiency and receive different monetary wages.Sometimes, house master or project host also purchase a part of the material to the task of the contractor team, by the contractor team sent to the market to buy or to buy building materials origin.As a result of the large amount of construction of some large buildings, the construction time is long, the need for more materials so the procurement of materials business also makes construction contractors earn considerable income.The leaders of construction contractors are highly skilled artisans, who are skilled and experienced and have prestige among ordinary artisans.They are responsible for engineering command, organization and management, external relations and other tasks, their income is naturally much higher than the average craftsman.A construction contractor has craftsmen of different trades, so it is correspondingly divided into professional groups, such as masons professional group, carpenters professional group, bricklayers professional group, etc.Of these, masons are the most important, because large buildings are made of stone.Stonemasons are subdivided into stonemasons, stonemasons, stonemasons and so on.Each specialized group consisted of several artisans, headed by one, who were also usually of higher skill level and earned more.The fluidity of construction contractor team work is big, the project of one place is completed, want to rush to another place to work again.There are only a limited number of skilled craftsmen in the contractor’s team, and many helpers are needed on construction sites, and helpers are often employed for less skilled jobs.Some helpers were hired on the spot, while others, as assistants to skilled craftsmen, also joined and moved with the contractors.In some construction contractors, the artisans and helpers are given food, such as bread, pork, wine, etc., in addition to being paid a certain amount of money.In addition, apprenticeships were not generally used in the construction industry, and new recruits learned their trade on the job.Many unskilled construction workers grew up on construction sites or in quarries and became skilled craftsmen.With the development of the construction industry, the division of construction contractors continued, and the emergence of some wealthy artisans.Especially responsible for engineering command task skilled craftsmen, the position is particularly prominent.By the 13th century, the term engineer was already in use in Italy, Italy and other places. Architect or engineer was often used as a word, referring to someone who could design on paper, make it work, and direct it on the job site.At that time, some large-scale buildings, employing a large number of people and high design requirements, without engineers or architects to design, direction and guidance is not possible.At the beginning of the reign of King Edward II of England in the early 14th century, 400 stonemasons, 1,230 carpenters, boatmen, waggons, and laborers were employed to build Pumeris Palace.Such a huge project requires one or even several architects or engineers with managerial ability and high technology.These people originally emerged from craftsmen.In England, in the late 13th century, there was a stonemason in Helford named Walter, the man who built the royal Abbey of The Vale in Cheshire and the castle at The village of Cana.In the middle of the 14th century, the great stonemason, stonecutter, and contractor William Yewell became rich and bought a manor.The marblemaker, Adam, the paver of the old St Paul’s Cathedral, looked rather like a contractor.It should be noted that, despite their high income, the men who directed the work were still members of the artisans, not bosses who invested capital and hired workers to produce and operate.Construction contractors cannot do without these capable people, and their appearance and the fact that they get more income does not change the nature of construction contractors as small producers.But the division inside construction contractor team is undeniable after all.The boundaries between the four levels of work are becoming clearer.At the bottom are unskilled construction workers recruited on a temporary basis and paid the least for menial work.Above them were the specialized craftsmen who were fixed in the construction contractors and earned not only more than the temporary workers, but also more than the craftsmen in other trades.This was mainly because there were so many construction projects at that time, such as churches, Bridges, mansions, castles, public places, etc., that there was a great demand for artisans, which was often in short supply.At the next level, there are managers, or foremen or foremen, who were artisans but have held certain positions.They have technical expertise, they have management skills and they earn a little bit more.They can earn extra money if they are responsible for purchasing materials.At the top are a few team leaders, who manage the whole construction team and are in charge of external liaison. Some of them are design specialists, so they are called architects or engineers.Conclusion They became rich and had a certain position in society.In the process of building cathedrals, palaces or public facilities in some western European cities, some famous architects emerged one after another.These architects sign contracts, produce drawings, often compete with other architects, and supervise construction.They receive all payments and pass them on to the people they employ.They are already akin to building contractors.