To analyse the historical evolution of the building sector in Chile, and the way in which it reflects and affects the social structure as a whole, it is necessary to consider two aspects:
the building sector, considered as a specific part of the production sphere, a specific system of economic and social interests;
the building front, where the social practices of the conflicting forces express the needs of the reproduction of the labour force, and the class struggle in the building sector, opposed to speculation and capital accumulation processes.
Before 1970, the capital interests were dominant, strongly organized through the Chilean Building Chamber and its influence on government policy‐making, and linked with US imperialism, particularly at the finance level.
With the Popular Unity Government, a series of measures expressed the shift to the dominant interests of the working class: nationalization of the main private banks; control of the housing market; organization, control and partial socialization of the building industry; breaking of urban segregation patterns; national agreement on wages policy.
The construction front was affected by new forms of class struggle: construction brigades, unemployed brigades, popular planning and, at the same time, new forms of economic and political retaliation by capital. This led first to the employers’ strike and then, through the constitution of a capitalist class bloc supported by imperialism, to the coup d’etat, which restored the fullest opportunity for exploitation, speculation, segregation, and the power of the Chilean Building Chamber.