It is not only architects, urban planners and industrial designers who shape the environment that surrounds us. Contractors, engineers, craftspeople, suppliers and other actors also have an impact in this area. Under the theme of the building industry, the VAi maps out their heritage.


Together with researchers and heritage preservers, the VAi decided in 2015 to do some catching up in terms of the heritage work on the building industry. That heritage consists of archives as well as objects and intangible heritage, such as knowledge about the relevant trades. We want to better map out the heritage that is preserved about these actors, offer support regarding archive preservation, and raise awareness among companies, researchers and the general public.


The VAi is looking for archives of contractors – from small one-person businesses to large construction companies – in order to further map out the archival field. If you have any questions or are interested, please contact us at

The VAi also joined the Corporate heritage platform of the ETWIE expertise centre.

Why this project?

Contractors, engineers, craftspeople and suppliers have also had an enormous impact on the way in which our built environment was created. However, little is known so far about the way in which the building industry evolved, the techniques and materials used and the importance of the building industry for the economy. While a building is often associated with an architect, the people who construct it often remain anonymous. The temporary nature of a building site reinforces this further.

In the heritage field, this has revealed a number of sore points: for example, there is a lack of knowledge about the building industry and its cultural heritage is underrepresented in the archives. Furthermore, construction companies are not always aware of the value of their archives and there is not yet a comprehensive vision for dealing with this heritage. The Construction Confederation currently has 15,000 contractors as members. So there is potentially a lot of historical information available.

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