The delivery of the construction project is based on variety of parameters. These include cost, quality, safety, and time. Ensuring that the construction project is successfully executed in accordance to the given parameters requires enhanced levels of productivity. Lack of productivity can lead to project delays, thus, affecting the quality, costs, time, and safety in negative way. Consequently, it is essential to improve construction productivity.
According to McTague & Jergeas (2001), there is no standard definition for construction productivity. However, a general definition is found in literature. They assert that it is the “output of the construction goods and services per unit labour input” (p.9). The researchers further assert that the definition of productivity within the construction sector differs on basis of its different domains. Construction productivity is dependent on variety of variables including labour productivity, material, energy, design, cost, etc.
The aim of this report is to highlight and discuss the concept of construction productivity and to evaluate the factors that influence it. The objectives of the report are discussed as follows:
The process of construction has been identified as the series of stages that is primarily dependent on labour. Without manpower, construction projects cannot be executed. As a result, construction productivity is primarily driven by manpower. The measurement of productivity for the construction projects is based on the “output per work-hour”, which is used to determine the “on-site labour productivity” (McTague & Jergeas, 2002). Consequently, project managers focus on increasing labour productivity since it contributes to 30% of the project costs.
Construction productivity is affected variety of factors that can be classified into three categories:
Jergeas (2010) has reported that a variety of areas of construction productivity need to be targeted in order to increase it. These are illustrated in figure 1. These targeted areas are essential for improving construction productivity. Failure to address can have negative consequences on overall performance of the project.
Figure-1: Areas of Construction Productivity that Require Attention (Jergeas, 2010)
The findings from the report suggests that labour management is a major factor that affected construction productivity and therefore, it requires immediate area of improvement in order to enhance construction productivity (Jergeas, 2010). It is considered to be a critical factor that can overall affect the progress and productivity of a construction project. As shown in Figure 2, around 56% of the labours invest their time in engaging in productive activities, whereas 29% of their time is spent on activities that are unproductive in nature. 13% of the time is invested in breaks and only 2% of the work is spent on supervision and activities related to it. Figure 2 indicates that construction managers needed to address labour productivity and management.
Figure-2: Time Utilization by Labours in Construction Projects
Research indicates that majority of time in a construction day is wasted on non-productive activities. Figure 3 demonstrate the non-productive activities that affect construction productivity negatively.
Figure-3: Time Breakup for On-site Activities
Based on the findings of the research, labour management is further divided into six categories that need to be. These are:
Jergeas (2010) asserts that front-end planning (FEP) is considered to be procedure that emphasizes on the development of “sufficient strategic information” required by the project team to fulfil the project goals, scope, and needs required for its successful execution. Work Face Planning (WFP) is needed to train the employees to conduct comprehensive and accurate planning and scheduling to accomplish high-quality work without compromising on time, cost, and efficiency. FEP deals with long-term project goals and scope, whereas WFP focuses on improving the scheduling system on-site conditions. Both are responsible for influencing construction productivity.
As asserted by Jergeas (2010), a significant improvement is needed in the entire construction project management. Management of the construction project supply chain, site accessibility, site layout, construction equipment and tools, management of materials, etc. are essential to ensure that the construction projects progress is not disrupted.
Engineering management requires improvement since incomplete scope of work, inadequate specifications, and frequent changes in design can lead to decreased construction productivity.
Strong and effective leadership and supervision have been identified as important areas that require improvement. Strong and compete leaders can focus on empowering teams, motivating them to perform better, and include the entire workforce in the decision-making process.
Communication is needed at all the stages of the construction project to enhance the overall performance and productivity. Lack of communication has been cited as the primary cause of decreased productivity.
Contractual strategies formulation and the selecting the best contractors are essential to ensure that the project is executed successfully. Contractual agreements if violated can led to disputes and conflicts, which in turn can delay in project delivery, thus, affecting its performance and progress.
Engineering Design’s constructability has been identified as a variable, which can affect the construction productivity significantly. Engineering operations and executions need to concise, accurate, and comprehensive. Lack of engineering deliverables can lead decreased construction performance and productivity.
Governmental and political influence is known to affect the productivity and progress of the construction project. Governments should play an active role in mega-projects start-ups. Lack of governmental involvement can lead to decreased productivity. For instance, Jergeas (2010) has reported that the lack of involvement of Alberta’s government in oil and gas projects led to decreased productivity and higher wages because of shortage of human resources.
Productivity can be affected based on the decision of the construction firm’s decision to adopt modularization and prefabrication in mega-projects. Starting the work from scratch can impede the project’s development and progress.
The construction project’s audit and monitoring performance has 14 core components that have been identified by McTague & Jergeas (2002) as shown in Figure 4. These are cost management, schedule management, working plan, progress and productivity, quality management, safety management, organization, labours relations, subcontract administration, construction equipment, management of construction tools, temporary facilities management, and scaffolding management.
Figure-4: Components of Auditing Project Performance (McTague & Jergeas, 2002).
Project audit is the first stage of evaluating the performance and construction productivity. During this stage, the following steps are undertaken:
The following steps are involved in work sampling:
The following steps are involved in reporting:
Real-time location system is used to measure construction productivity and performance. It is responsible for improving safety on time for workers and improves the site monitoring process. It aligns the workers with the equipment.
On basis of the analysis and findings, the following recommendations have been proposed to improve construction productivity for construction projects:
Construction productivity is a central theme of project performance. In terms of construction, productivity’s meaning varies on basis of the construction process needs and requirements. However, the construction sector is highly dependent on human resources and therefore, construction productivity is directly influenced by the workforce. Strategies adopted by the companies should focus on improving labour relations, adoption of reward system, training and development programs, strong leadership, open communication, and adoption of modularization and pre-fabrication. Time, costs, quality, and safety are essential parameters of construction projects and therefore, factors influencing productivity can affect these parameters significantly. Construction productivity is affected by human factors, external factors, and management factors. Construction audit and performance is needed to monitor project progress and productivity.