Industrial Construction

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Industrial Construction


a branch of construction in the USSR that provides the fixed capital stock for industry. The task of industrial construction is to carry out all construction and installation work for new enterprises and put the plants in operation and to provide for the expansion and modernization of existing enterprises. Industrial construction and industry work closely together in the design of the project (especially the technological aspects), the allocation of orders, and the procurement of equipment and specialized materials for construction. They also work together in the training of operational personnel, the gradual testing and acceptance of installed equipment when planned industrial production begins, and the attainment of projected production capacities within established standard schedules.

Between 1918 and 1973, the USSR invested a total of 462.1 billion rubles in industry, amounting to 36.5 percent of the capital investment in the national economy. More than half went for construction and installation work. About 43,000 major state industrial enterprises were constructed, restored, and placed in operation. This figure includes huge socialist enterprises, such as the Magnitogorsk, Kuznetsk, Cheliabinsk, Novolipetsk, Zhdanov, Krivoi Rog, Cherepovets, Karaganda, Western Siberian, and Noril’sk metallurgical plants and combines. It also includes the hydroelectric power plants on the Dnieper, Volga, Angara, and Enisei rivers; the steam and atomic power plants in the European USSR, Siberia, and the Urals; the Berezniki Chemical Combine; the Urals Plant for Heavy Machine Building; the Novokramatorsk machine-building plant, the tractor plants in Volgograd, Kharkov, and Cheliabinsk; and the Gorky and Volga automotive works. As a result of industrial construction in the Soviet period, the volume of gross industrial production in 1974 is 122 times greater than that of 1913. The extent of industrial construction can be seen by examining the data in Table 1.

Table 1. Capital investments in state and cooperative enterprises and organizations1 (in comparable prices; in millions of rubles)
1According to branch of industry, excluding kolkhozes including petroleum, gas, coal, shale, and peat industries
All industry ….............4,94414,99828,59734,112
Power engineering ...........4331,6873,1033,447
Fuel Industry2...............1,5332,7885,2336,439
Ferrous metallurgy (including ore mining) ........5491,4302,0822,829
Machine building and metalworking .7402,0886,1177,314
Chemical and petrochemical industry1971,0562,4153,121
Construction-materials industry …1541,2151,7121,956

The decision to build an enterprise is made in accordance with the plan for the long-term development of branches of the national economy and economic regions.

Because of the predominance of intensive methods of development, the modern structure of capital investments in industry provides for the channeling of a large share of resources —some 65 percent—into the expansion, modernization, and reequipping of existing plants. Work is being done to meet the demands of urban planning in regard to the protection of the environment and the removal of harmful and “dirty” plants beyond city limits. When new plants are built, there is a tendency to combine separate enterprises, engineering systems, transport, and sometimes basic industries and also to concentrate auxiliary and secondary buildings; these complexes are called industrial centers (promuzly). In 1974 more than 200 such centers were in the construction stage in Brest, Vitebsk, Kishinev, Kemerovo, and other cities in the USSR.

Because of a reduction in roadways and common factory facilities in approved designs for industrial centers, the calculated cost of construction was reduced by 750 million rubles and annual operational expenditures were cut by more than 120 million rubles. Furthermore, the industrial area was reduced by 9–10 percent; the length of railroads, by 18–20 percent; the length of roadways, by 9–11 percent; the size of engineering systems, by 10–15 percent; and the number of buildings under construction, by 25 percent. The elimination of the construction of small enterprises and the transition to the consolidation of enterprises have positive economic consequences.

More use is being made of project designs providing for phased start-up of enterprises and separate start-up systems; this leads to a more rapid return of the capital investment. A considerable increase in the efficiency of industrial construction is achieved by improving design and construction plans that make use of new materials and total-prefabricated construction.

The need to conserve land suitable for agriculture and to bring industry close to sources of raw materials has led to increased industrial construction in remote regions. In 1960 industrial construction in the northern regions of the USSR was 7–8 percent of the national total, but by 1970 it had grown to 9–10 percent. There is an increasing number of industrial enterprises with complex technological processes, requiring more expensive forms of construction, such as suspended shelves and hermetic enclosing structures; these enterprises accounted for 33 percent of total construction in 1960 and 40 percent in 1975. Some buildings are now being constructed to allow for rigid control of the microclimate (humidity, temperature, and dust content) to meet technological requirements. Pavilion-type industrial buildings have been constructed since the 1940’s; such buildings allow replacement of industrial equipment without reconstruction of the industrial buildings. In several industries it has been possible to completely eliminate buildings at enterprises by installing industrial equipment on open sites.

The industrialization of construction in the USSR is based on the standardization of construction parameters and structural elements and on the mechanization of the major construction operations. It is anticipated that improved methods of flow organization will find increased use in construction, with the methods based on the use of efficient materials and structures and delivery in full to construction sites. In connection with this, a network of specialized enterprises in various regions of the country is being created. Preconsolidation of structures, equipment, and elements of engineering systems is widespread. An indicator of the improvement in industrial construction is the reduction in the labor required for construction and installation operations. In 1950, 342 man-years were spent per million rubles of cost, whereas in 1974, only 86 man-years were required.

The major outlines for the development and improvement of industrial construction in the USSR are characteristic of the other socialist countries. Industrial construction in the countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) is carried out according to a single state plan. Member-countries are cooperatively undertaking joint scientific studies and joint planning and construction of industrial enterprises. An intersupply has been established for equipment, structural elements, and materials, and an exchange of specialists for training purposes and workers is under way.

In capitalist countries, industrial construction is not a separate branch of construction.


Voprosy ekonomicheskoi politiki KPSS na sovremennom etape, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1973.
Stroitel’stvo v SSSR, 1917–1967. Edited by G. A. Karavaev. [Moscow, 1967.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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