Construction Productivity Report Sample

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1. Introduction

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.

1.1 Construction Productivity: Definitions and Concepts

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.

1.2 Aim and Objectives of the Report

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:

  • To discuss and define the concept of construction productivity
  • To identify and discuss the factors that affect construction productivity
  • To identify and discuss the methods used to audit and monitor construction productivity.
  • To propose recommendations to improve construction productivity.

2. Analysis and Results

2.1 Construction Productivity and Factors Affecting It

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:

  • Human Factors: Jergeaus (2010) reports that human factors that affect construction productivity are motivation of the workers, job morale, experience of the workers, skills, ability of the workers to work in team, absenteeism levels, physical limitations of the worker, attitude of the worker towards the nature of the job, and exhaustion.
  • External Factors: Political instability, extreme weather conditions, modifications in project’s design, changes in project specifications, alteration of the construction contract, project complexity, inaccessibility on-site, etc. are examples of external factors that are known to influence the construction productivity of the project.
  • Management Factors: Factors such as long work durations, long working schedules, mistreating workers, lack of rewards and incentives, incompetent workforce, conflict between workers, lack of cooperation and coordination between the workers, insufficient information, lack of tools, equipment are considered to be the management factors.

2.2 Areas of Construction Productivity that Need Improvement

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)

2.2.1 Labour Management

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:

  • Incentive Programs: Incentive programs are required to enhance worker’s productivity at all levels including on-site and off-site employees. Rewards and incentives can play a vital role in boosting worker’s performance, which enhance construction productivity significantly.
  • Remote Locations: The majority of the projects are located at remote locations and therefore, labour productivity is affected significantly.
  • Accessibility to the Job-Site: Labour productivity is affected by accessibility to the job-site. Workers usually assemble during the early morning hours usually around 6:30 am. However, work is initiated after two hours and ends at 4:00 pm. However, the transportation leaves after one and half hour. As a result, hours are lost and productivity is decreased.
  • Labour Relations Management: Labour relations management is also an important factor that can help in improving the productivity of labours. It emphasizes on treating the workers with respect and dignity and focusing on boosting their morale, which in turn would help in improving the construction productivity.
  • Resource Scheduling: Long working hours are known to affect labour productivity significantly. As a result, it increases the cost overheads and decreases the over productivity.
  • Training and Certification: Skilled workforce is considered to be an essential asset for improving labour and construction productivity, assisting construction companies to achieve higher degree of success. However, lack of unskilled and proficient labours can affect the overall construction productivity in negative way.

2.2.2 Project Front-end Planning and Work Face Planning

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.

2.2.3 Construction and Support Management

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.

2.2.4 Engineering Management

Engineering management requires improvement since incomplete scope of work, inadequate specifications, and frequent changes in design can lead to decreased construction productivity.

2.2.5 Strong and Effective Leadership and Supervision

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.

2.2.6 Communication

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.

2.2.7 Contractual Strategy and Contractor Selection

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.

2.2.8 Engineering Design’s Constructability

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.

2.2.9 Political Influence

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.

2.2.10 Modularization and Prefabrication

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.

2.3 Project Audit and Monitoring Performance

2.3.1 Project Audit

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:

  • Construction management practices need to be audited by conducting interviews with the site professionals.
  • As seen in Figure 4, project performance evaluation will be based on these 14 components.
  • Identify areas of improvements.
  • Identify areas of risks that can affect the cost and schedule of the project.

2.3.2 Work Sampling

The following steps are involved in work sampling:

  • For collection of time and labour data, two strategies can be adopted: site method and critical path. The former of focuses on collecting field data on site, whereas the latter focuses on providing an overview on project performance through the construction of critical path.
  • For time and labour sampling, field data needs to be collected that is analysed using root cause analysis.
  • Site productivity recommendation reports are devised and submitted on weakly basis. Standards of acceptable productivity on site is defined by client.

2.3.3 Reporting

The following steps are involved in reporting:

  • Data analysed is represented graphically. Time tool analysis is used to construct the pie chart for the site activities.
  • Total activities are divided based on hour.
  • Break time analysis is used to demonstrate the progress of the project.
  • For areas needed improvement, solutions are brainstormed and identified.
  • Solutions are analysed for cost and time.
  • Implementation of solutions requires management approval.

2.3.4 Real-time Location System

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.

3. Recommendations

On basis of the analysis and findings, the following recommendations have been proposed to improve construction productivity for construction projects:

  1. It is recommended to that reward systems should be introduced to motivate the workers to boost their performance. Rewards should be both monetary and non-monetary rewards. Performance based incentives can be instrumental in encouraging them to give out their best. Additionally, bonuses, increased wages, and acknowledging their contribution in the project can overall improve the labour productivity. It is also recommended that the workers working in remote locations should be provided with transportation, housing, and food facilities. Furthermore, it is recommended and proposed that the workers should be provided with training and development programs aimed at improving their skills and knowledge. Developing strong relations with workers can overall improve the construction productivity.
  2. In terms of FEP and WFP, it is recommended that project scope, goals and deliverables are clearly defined before moving towards the project’s design and specifications. Long-term planning and clear goals can reduce the possibility of modifying or changing the design and specifications. It is recommended that for WEP, a detailed schedule can be adopted to enhance construction productivity.
  3. It is recommended that management of tools, equipment, sites, supply chain management, safety, scaffolding is needed to enhance productivity.
  4. It is recommended that complete and comprehensive project scopes and project deliverables are identified before the construction process is initiated on site. The rule is to adopt 80-100 rule. 80% of the work associated with engineering needs to be completed before it is taken to site. 100% of the drawings and specifications must be complete before the project is taken.
  5. Effective leadership needs to be recruited to lead the project team in order to deliver success. It is recommended that leadership training programs are provided to the leaders and supervisors to ensure that they motivate their subordinates and empower them to contribute towards the project’s success.
  6. It is recommended to avoid fast-track approach in setting contractual agreements for construction projects as scope, project deliverables, design, and specifications are incomplete. It is recommended to adopt cost plus, unit rates or lump sum approach in setting out the contract. Management of material and procurement should be assigned to a single contractor and not multiple contractors to avoid conflicts and delays.
  7. It is recommended that conflict resolution techniques are adopted to reduce conflicts.
  8. It is recommended that the construction sector and government collaborate with together in order to deliver the construction project successfully. This collaboration can ensure that the projects are delivered and completed on time. Furthermore, private-government partnership can help in adoption of sustainable development.
  9. It is recommended that construction productivity should be improved through prefabrication and modularization. This can affect the project schedule in a positive manner, ensuring that project deliverables are delivered successfully with enhanced productivity and performance. It is recommended to use standardization in order to save time. Furthermore, prefabricated units can be used to reduce time invested in on-site construction works.

4. Conclusions

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.

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