Buchnummer des Verkäufers
Rezension: Enterprise and Society Advance Access published July 29, 2013Michael R. Adamson. A Better Way to Build: A History of the Pankow Companies. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2013. xxv + 470 pp. ISBN 978-1-55753-634-1, $45.00 (hardback). It is refreshing to come across a book about an American builder for a change. Much has been written over the years about the professional side of the design and construction industry, the architects and engineers, but the men and women who transform their designs into reality have been largely ignored. Not only is this a book about Charles Pankow's life and career and the companies he founded but it also focuses on his mission to change the way that buildings were designed and built. Pankow was born in 1923 and graduated in 1947, after military service, from Purdue University with a degree in civil engineering. After two years with a structural engineering firm, he moved briefly in 1950 to the Austin Company and then joined the Peter Kiewit Sons company a year later, one of the largest of America's contractors to the present day. His short stay with Austin may well have influenced his future approach to design and construction. Austin was founded in 1904 and, by the time Pankow joined them, had refined its business model to become the leading most respected firm in the country offering owners design-build services. The 1950s and 1960s, the period during which he started his career and established his own company, was a turbulent period in the construction business. Adjustment to the postwar economy came quickly and with it came a renewed belligerency by the unions, which even the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act was not able to tame. This was followed by an uptick in inflation in the 1960s, which was particularly acute in construction. By 1969, construction prices had increased 81 percent faster since 1949 than the consumer price index. All these increases were passed along to the owners who eventually r
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