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Construction Projects

What is a construction project? 

The word “work ” comes from the Ancient Greek érgon, which means work, or something made by one or more individuals. 

According to Merriam-Webster, the word can refer to many things: creative output (in the sciences or humanities), emphasizing a particular skill or labor; any of several built structures; the means, virtue, or power by which something is done; the time or effort required to do something; a moral action, primarily benefiting or harming the soul; or any of several scientific precisions from the field of physics.

As you can see, the word has a broad range of various uses, depending on the context. The most common uses refer to intellectual products of the arts or sciences and structures that are the result of engineering.

What are public works? 

Public works entail all construction works promoted by a government administration, whether infrastructure or buildings. Public works are intended to benefit the community. There are two types of contracting for public works: direct contracting or public bidding.

What are civil works? 

Civil works designate all permanent, separate, independent construction (a set of assets) conceived to be used to meet the needs of a nation. They’re associated with generating and providing energy, transportation, communication, recreation, housing, industry, commerce, service provision, or for the general development of an activity.

Many large global companies primarily focus on designing and building civil works, buildings, and industrial works, such as the Ferrovial Company in Spain.

The Ferrovial Company builds key infrastructure for the mobility and transport of people and goods. They also execute, build, and develop unique buildings and industrial projects. Its projects include highways with smart toll systems, tunnels, bridges and viaducts, railways, subways and other transit networks, port and airport facilities, iconic buildings, energy and historical restoration projects, hydraulic works, water treatment plants, and desalination plants.

What are railway works?

According to the State Railway Safety Agency, railway works are key pieces of infrastructure that act as the “physical support on which the entire railway system runs.”

Like road mobility, railway transportation requires a set of essential elements to ensure the efficiency and safety of traveling. This often includes civil works. In addition to unique buildings needed for managing the railway network, like train stations or maintenance and logistics areas, railway works involve building large engineering works, such as bridges, viaducts, tunnels, and even auxiliary roads that facilitate exchanging passengers or merchandise being transported from one place to another.

Some public entities depend on the ministries in charge of regulating the railway infrastructure. However, the construction companies that carry out the works and those that maintain and manage the network are usually private and have experience in this kind of work, as is the case with the Ferrovial Company.

In Spain, the Ferrovial company has developed more than 4,600 kilometers of railways, 722 kilometers of which are related to high-speed lines, since 1952. Of these, 24% correspond to Spanish AVE lines (RENFE): Madrid-Andalusia (160 km), Madrid-Barcelona (237 km), Madrid-Northwest (128 km), and Madrid-Levante (197 km).

Even though railway infrastructures have existed for centuries, they are constantly updated and improved. Ferrovial is continually working to increase safety at all points along the route, participating in projects like Safeway (2018-2020) to improve the infrastructure’s reliability and capacity and to lower costs.

Rail is one of the most efficient forms of transportation compared to others like air, road transport, and even maritime transport. This is why developing railway infrastructures is attractive in terms of productivity and reducing emissions (especially for meeting Sustainable Development Goals).

What companies in Spain focus on works?

Ferrovial specializes in highly complex, value-added projects both in Spain and in other countries around the world. Particularly notable projects among those it has carried out are Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom, the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital in Spain, the LBJ freeway in the U.S., the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing highway in Australia, the Farringdon Station for Crossrail in the United Kingdom, and the Al Ghubrah desalination plant in Oman, to name just a few.

Ferrovial owes much of this specialization and capabilities to its Technical Office. This qualified team of over 100 technicians is dedicated to sharing their experience with project teams to optimize and innovate designs, ensuring that clients benefit from all of the top international practices in its global portfolio.

Its activity is also outstanding thanks to its specialized companies: Tecpresa in post-tensioning structures; Ditecpesa in developing, manufacturing, and marketing asphalt products; Edytesa in slipforms and heavy lifting; and Ferconsa, specializing in the design, assembly, and commissioning of installations in civil engineering, building, and industrial construction.

Ferrovial also has international affiliates like Cadagua, a leader in engineering and building water treatment and purification plants; Webber, which specializes in highway construction and is based in Texas (U.S.); and Budimex, one of the leaders in the Polish market specializing in the integral development of construction in civil works, building, industrial construction, and real estate development.

The different types of projects they undertake, their geographic range, multiculturalism, the multidisciplinary nature of their teams, and even their clients’ idiosyncrasies make up the perfect environment to foster innovation. In their projects, this can be seen in the continual effort to improve techniques, processes, and materials; in the search for excellence in terms of health and safety in their works; and in the quality of the infrastructures they design and build.

Fun facts

What is the BIGGEST building in Spain?

This would be the Universidad Laboral de Gijón. It was commissioned by Francisco Franco to house the orphans of deceased miners. Today, the 270,000 m² building is being restored.

The largest structure, on the other hand, is the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport. All the terminals together span 1,000,000 m².

What is the OLDEST building in the world?

It’s called Cairn de Barnenez, and it’s located in France. It is estimated to have been built in 4850 BC, housing the remains of pre-Christian civilizations and other sacred activities.

The internal structures were discovered accidentally: a road contractor was excavating it for gravel when they discovered that it was actually a large burial mound made by humans.

Who started construction on the Roman Colosseum?

Construction began in 70 AD under Emperor Vespasian; it was completed in 80 AD under Emperor Titus. Its seats reflect the hierarchy of Roman society. During the gladiator fights held there, some 400,000 people and 1,000,000 animals died.

What was the first railway line?

Many historians suggest that the first railway line in history opened in 1825 on the English line between Stockton and Darlington. However, archaeological studies carried out in Malta, Italy, Greece, and Egypt have found remains of what could be the first means of transportation on rails. These use stones on which grooves were made so that carts and wagons pulled by animals could get around.

What is the highest railway line in the world?

The highest train route in the world links China with Tibet, reaching over 5,000 meters in altitude. The Lhasa Express is equipped with oxygen so that passengers don’t suffer from altitude sickness.

Other fun facts:

  • New York’s Empire State Building, design in the Art Deco style, was the tallest skyscraper in the world for 42 years — from 1931 to 1973 — until the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers were inaugurated. 
  • One of the first extensive books on architecture was De Architectura, written by Vitruvius in Rome in mid-15 BC. It talks about the main aspects of architecture, including durability, utility, and beauty. 
  • The Bank of China (Hong Kong) is considered the “most aggressive building in the world” in terms of Feng Shui. 
  • The Seagram Building in New York – designed by Mies Van der Rohe – was the first building in the world to use floor-to-ceiling glass panels. 

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