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Trends of productivity growth in the construction industry across Europe, US and Japan

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Abstract

Productivity is a key driver for economic growth and prosperity in any country. The pursuit of productivity growth requires an understanding of the factors affecting productivity. The trend of productivity growth, along with the possible factors underlying such growth across Europe, the US and Japan, is thus examined. In particular, there is a focus on comparing the productivity performance of the construction sector to that of other industries. Using the recently released EU KLEMS1 database,2 a growth accounting framework was adopted to assess the contribution of the following factors to productivity growth (during 1971-2005): capital, labour quality and total factor productivity (TFP). It was found that there is a general slowdown in labour productivity growth in total industries including construction across major OECD countries, with the exception of the UK. The differences in labour productivity growth between construction and total industries can be largely explained by construction's poor TFP performance. With the exception of the UK, TFP negatively contributed to labour productivity growth in the period 1990-2005, suggesting that the industry has become less efficient in combining the factors of production. That phenomenon seems to be consistent across all selected countries and warrants further investigation. Indeed a better understanding of the factors underlying productivity growth in OECD countries is a prerequisite for effective intervention of policy makers to support sustained productivity growth.

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... Labor productivity (LP) is a significant indicator to measure the sustainable development potential and competitiveness of specific industry, and has always been the spotlight in the economic field [1]. As a labor-intensive industry and major sources of employment in most countries, the construction industry has been regarded as a typical example of low LP with minimum technological innovations [2]. ...
... Moreover, with the step-by-step opening of EU KLEMS data, many studies have begun to discuss the relationship between the construction productivity and technological advancements from industry level. Mohamed and Abdel found that the contribution that technological innovation has provided to productivity growth had been declining year by year in the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany, and France, and even exhibiting negative effects [1]. Similarly, Sveikauskas et al. also reached a similar conclusion [5]. ...
... In representative studies [1,24,28,32,33], input variables often adopt capital, technical equipment, labor (labor quantity or payment), and energy consumption. In the selection of output variables, many studies have used the total output value or added value of the construction sector as the output indicators, while a few studies have considered the industry profit and construction acreage. ...
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Article
Labor productivity is a significant indicator to measure the sustainable development potential and competitiveness of the construction industry. Under the background of the integration of global construction industry and information and communication technology (ICT), the pursuit of the growth of construction labor productivity (CLP) requires deepened understanding of how these technological advancements characterized by ICT take effect in the change of CLP as well as what the key factors are that led to the variation of CLP at this stage. The paper aims to investigate the effect of ICT progress on CLP and examine the key factors influencing CPL. Based on the data of 31 regions from the China Construction Industry Statistical Yearbook and the Local Statistical Yearbook during the period 2000–2018, this study proposed new methodology (Cobb–Douglas production function, growth rate model, and Malmquist Data Envelopment Analysis) for measuring the technology progress contribution and identified the key factors affecting the change of CLP. The analysis results illustrate that the information technology progress has a significant contribution to CLP growth, but the contribution rate is decreasing with the growing degree of development of the regional construction industry. Three main factors affecting the further improvement of CLP have been identified: human resources, research and development (R&D) investment, and ICT level. The findings can provide the decision-making reference and the general methodology for the local and international industry practitioners to improve the labor productivity performance of the construction sector.
... Several authors have observed that OI enhances productivity in operation industries (Aliasghar et al., 2019;Cincera et al., 2003;Lööf and Heshmati, 2002), whereas a gap in the literature remains on how the productivity of project-based industries could be improved through OI. Among the project-based industries, construction is prominent for the economy of many countries and is known to suffer from scarce productivity (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Fulford, 2018;Kapelko et al., 2015;Zhan et al., 2018), both in terms of labour productivity (Ghodrati et al., 2018;Teicholz et al., 2001;Thomas et al., 2003) and total factor productivity (Schriver and Bowlby, 1985;Zhan et al., 2018). ...
... Particularly problematic is the low investment in staff training, a relatively old problem that is vastly unaddressed even nowadays. Low salaries lead to difficulties in having a stable and motivated working force, leading to a high turnover of workers even from abroad, unfamiliar with the context of the project (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Allen, 1985;Rahman et al., 2019;Teicholz et al., 2001;Zhi et al., 2003) ( Blanco et al., 2016;Bryer et al., 2016;CIDB, 1992;Hays, 2018;McNally, 2018) Few ICT Historically, ICT investments are often neglected. The investments increasing adoption of BIM (Building Information Modelling) and ICT should contribute to tackling this issue integration (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Fulford and Standing, 2014) (McNally, 2018;Woetzel et al., 2017) Few investments in equipment and technology ...
... Low salaries lead to difficulties in having a stable and motivated working force, leading to a high turnover of workers even from abroad, unfamiliar with the context of the project (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Allen, 1985;Rahman et al., 2019;Teicholz et al., 2001;Zhi et al., 2003) ( Blanco et al., 2016;Bryer et al., 2016;CIDB, 1992;Hays, 2018;McNally, 2018) Few ICT Historically, ICT investments are often neglected. The investments increasing adoption of BIM (Building Information Modelling) and ICT should contribute to tackling this issue integration (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Fulford and Standing, 2014) (McNally, 2018;Woetzel et al., 2017) Few investments in equipment and technology ...
Article
The innovation literature on operations-based organisations describes the positive effect of Open Innovation (OI) on productivity. However, a systemic overview of how OI directly and indirectly impacts productivity is missing, particularly for project-based organisations. Hence, the article aims to fill this gap by providing a systemic representation of how OI enhances project-based organisations' productivity. The article focuses on the construction ecosystem since construction is an exemplary project-based industry and is known for its widespread and longstanding poor productivity. In particular, we investigated how OI is adopted and how OI can enhance productivity in the construction ecosystem. We conducted twenty semi-structured interviews with experts involved in OI construction projects in the UK. This paper makes three academic contributions. First, it provides an account of the most relevant causes for poor productivity in construction. Second, it consolidates primary and secondary data in a novel cognitive map providing a systemic representation of how OI enhances productivity in construction. The validity of the map goes beyond the boundaries of the construction ecosystem, being supported by several cross-sectorial references. Third, the paper offers six strategies that leverage OI to address the specific causes of low productivity in construction.
... In response to the recession, various survival actions are adopted to enhance the competitive advantage of the industry in most developed and developing countries (Tansey et al., 2013;Treshani and Waidyasekara, 2015). Unfortunately, the performance of these efforts is overall poor, TFP even presents negative growth in many countries (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Bernard and Mohamed, 2015;Hasan et al., 2018). As a result, this dilemma directly causes numerous construction enterprises to go into bankruptcy. ...
... In fact, such a consensus is in line with the international trend. Namely, in many countries, TFPG of the construction sector has been slow or even regressive since the crisis (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Bernard and Mohamed, 2015;Hasan et al., 2018;Hu and Liu, 2016). Given the above cases, this work is building on a solid research premise. ...
... Moreover, although the Chinese construction industry has taken various measures to improve itself TFPG and TFPGC over the past two decades, TFPG and TFPGC are still widely perceived to be low compared to other sectors Wang et al., 2015;Yuan et al., 2018). For example, according to previous studies (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Otsuka and Goto, 2015), all industries can effectively serve as a benchmark sector during the cross-sectional comparison. The Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MSTC) also adopted Solow Residual Approach to calculate TFPGC for all industries, and these results showed that the average TFPGC was 50.67% during the period 2002(MSTC, 2018. ...
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Article
Purpose In response to the 2008 financial crisis, the performance of the Chinese construction industry seems to be more successful, especially in total factor productivity growth (TFPG) and its contribution (TFPGC). Hence, the purpose of this paper is to investigate and reveal the potential successful lessons in this regard. Design/methodology/approach This study is conducted innovatively based on a special comparative analysis of TFPG and TFPGC between pre- and post-2008 financial crisis. Solow Residual Approach is used to measure TFPG and TFPGC for the period 2002–2016. Given that the crisis hit China at the end of 2008, the pre-2008 financial crisis period is from 2002 to 2008, and the post-2008 financial crisis period is limited to 2009–2016. Findings The results indicate that the industry indeed has better performance in promoting TFPG and TFPGC, TFP thus achieved significant accumulative growth before and after the crisis. However, from an evolutionary perspective, both TFPG and TFPGC presented an overall downward trend from before the crisis to after the crisis. Further, the game between the centrally planned economy and the market-oriented economy was identified and revealed as the essential reason behind the evolution of TFPG and TFPGC. Practical implications Some valuable lessons for policies and practices in promoting TFPG and TFPGC were summarized and learned from the Chinese experience, such as reducing administrative intervention and making the construction market play a decisive role. Originality/value This study provides some new empirical evidence to enrich the overall body of knowledge on growth theory, especially in promoting TFPG and TFPGC.
... In many instances, productivity measurement in the construction industry is focused more on the industry-level and project-level efficiency, with little emphasis at the firm level. The firm-level is more appropriate than an industry-level study because the former avoids the problem of overlap between industries and information loss arising from the aggregation omitting important information of within-industry heterogeneity (Abdel-Wahab & Vogl, 2011;Green, 2016;Vogl & Abdel-Wahab, 2014). Moreover, government policies in most developing countries are largely firmoriented (Okhmatovskiy, 2010). ...
... Also, the results for China's firms are primarily the largest firms in the industry. Nevertheless, this indicates a gap when measuring productivity with different units of analysis (Abdel-Wahab & Vogl, 2011). ...
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Thesis
This research investigated the relationships between diversification strategies and productivity of large construction firms in Malaysia. The Generalised Method of Moments was adopted for modelling the impact of diversification strategies on productivity. The research revealed that product and market diversifications affect long-term productivity by altering firm efficiency in managing resource allocation. However, the effectiveness of diversification strategies depends on the changes in formal institutional dimensions and informal context of ownership concentration. The research findings will help construction firms to take into account the effects of institutional contexts when formulating their optimal diversification strategies for better firm productivity.
... The economist, contractors, and organized labour argued that to remain competitive in the industry, one needs to produce more for each money spend on projects and that every worker at a job site must contribute to improving productivity [1]. According to Abdel-Wahab and Vogl [2], the productivity of the construction industry is a key driver of the economic growth in any country. In construction, productivity is influenced by people, although the use of technology and machinery have moderating effects on specific projects [3]. ...
... Secondly, stakeholders need to understand the factors affecting productivity 'ask why productivity is declining?" [2]. ...
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Article
Productivity in the construction industry is declining in real-time. The decline in productivity is a source of worry for practitioners and researchers. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain major factors influencing productivity in relation to the notion of respects for people (RFP) in construction. The reviewed literature influences the semi-structured questionnaire used to survey construction professionals in Johannesburg, South Africa. The results reaffirm the tension productivity increment and the enhancement of RfP as both ideas appear to be moving in opposite directions on a typical construction site. It was discovered that respect for workers on a construction site is a major concern. The paper argues that ethical reasoning affects productivity. Therefore, an appropriate management system is required to improve the workers' perception of productivity and RfP working on construction sites.
... Similarly, inconsistency is mainly presented in the ranking of TFP and labor. As highlighted above, previous studies have generally recognized the Chinese construction industry as a typical laborintensive industry (Gan et al., 2018;Will and Weisheng, 2016;Zhong et al., 2019), whilst numerous studies have concluded that TFP growth of the construction sector in many countries including China has been slow and even regressive in recent years (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Bernard and Mohamed, 2015;Cheng et al., 2018;Liu et al., 2016). Obviously, if we follow these studies, TFP would not be considered to be able to effectively promote growth and would even be considered as a factor that would hinder growth in the surveyed period. ...
... Apart from the inconsistencies, in many countries, including China, in recent years, TFP growth in the construction sector has been slow and even regressive (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Bernard and Mohamed, 2015;Cheng et al., 2018;Liu et al., 2016), which has further resulted in the decline of CRSR (Ye et al., 2018). Therefore, mainly, the consensus has been that CRSR has exhibited an overall downward evolutionary trend. ...
Article
Total factor productivity (TFP) is a sustainable driver of economic growth, and TFP-driven growth is of great importance for a knowledge- and technology-intensive industry. However, there is a massive gap between theoretical research and practical observations on the role that TFP has played in driving construction growth since the global financial crisis. The understanding of this TFP role may shake and even change the traditional notion that the Chinese construction industry is a typical labor-intensive industry. To fulfill this gap, this paper presents an analysis on the driving effects of growth drivers in the industry. From the perspective of neoclassical growth theory, the Solow residual approach is applied to perform this analysis, where the growth drivers are decomposed into TFP, labor and capital. The data are collected from the China Statistical Yearbook on Construction and China Statistical Yearbook for the period of 2008–2016. Interestingly, the results indicate that during the surveyed period, the average driving effects of TFP, labor and capital were 45.08%, 39.95% and 14.97%, respectively. TFP was the first and foremost growth driver, but its driving effect has been facing a rigorous challenge from labor-driven effect. From an evolutionary perspective, the growth mostly driven by TFP occurred over 4 years (2008/09, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14), which accounted for 50% of the whole study period; the growth mainly driven by labor occurred in only 3 years (2009/10, 2014/15 and 2015/16). Given this situation, the Chinese construction industry can no longer be considered a labor-intensive industry; instead, it is believed to be moving from a labor-intensive industry to a knowledge- and technology-intensive industry.
... From the literature review, many scholars focus on evaluation of the productivity of the construction based on the different panel data and index, including setting different index of each region at home and abroad, but research of the relationship between factors in TFP index,or the factors affect each other are insufficient [17][18][19][20][21][22][23] . Therefore, the innovation of this study lies in the micro analysis and found the dynamic measurement relationship between various factors of the construction industry production efficiency evaluation system, which provides a basis for the future development of the correlation analysis in construction industry production factors, and also provides the control measures of improving the construction industry production efficiency. ...
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China's construction industry has assumed an important role in China's urbanization process, improving China's urban landscape and the level of national production and living facilities, but the productivity of the construction industry in some regions of China is still at a relatively low level. Taking the construction industry in Guangxi province in southwest China as an example, this paper analyzes the relevant indexes affecting the total factor productivity level of the regional construction industry and composes the statistical relationships among the indexes using dynamic measurement methods, and obtains that: (1) The number of employees, enterprises, labor productivity and construction profit have positive influence on the total factor productivity of Guangxi construction industry, but the improvement of regional construction gross product does not drive the improvement of technical equipment rate; (2) There is a dynamic equilibrium relationship between input and output indicators of total factor productivity of Guangxi construction industry, and the positive driving effect of output indicators on input indicators is not obvious; the influence of input indicators on output indicators is greater, and the positive influence is more. Accordingly, this paper also puts forward corresponding suggestions to promote the technical production level of Guangxi's construction industry.
... One of the crucial elements of the design is the antenna systems related learning environment accomplishments. For the continued evolution of advanced radar technology and the emergence of new domains such as CPS deployment in cost effective construction, the CPS concept is expected to remain high in the near future [29]. The field of industrial remote services is used as an example to show the potential usefulness and emerging sensor, communication needs of CPS. ...
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The paper focuses on Patch Microstrip Antennas for Radar Sensors Systems (RSS) in the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) environment. The CPS and subfield Internet of Things (IoT) present a diagram of existing investigation on RSS using Microstrip Patch Antenna (MPA). The subject primary concern is to draw attention to the PCB MPA opportunities and their fabrication challenges. To do these three different types of PCB antenna design characteristics are investigated.
... The performance of any economy is dependent on the productivity of its constituent parts (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011). Operations of construction organisations constitute a significant part of any economy and contribute 3-8% of the gross domestic product (Arditi et al., 2013). ...
Article
Purpose Despite the significance of the construction industry to the nation's economic growth, there is empirical evidence that the sector is lagging behind other industries in terms of productivity growth. The need for improvements inspired the industry's stakeholders to consider using emerging technologies that support the enhancement. This research aims to report augmented reality applications essential for contractors' productivity improvement. Design/methodology/approach This study systematically reviewed academic journals. The selection of journal articles entailed searching Scopus and Web of Science databases. Relevant articles for reviews were identified and screened. Content analysis was used to classify key applications into six categories. The research results were limited to journal articles published between 2010 and 2021. Findings Augmented reality can improve construction productivity through its applications in assembly, training and education, monitoring and controlling, interdisciplinary function, health and safety and design information. Originality/value The research provides a direction for contractors on key augmented reality applications they can leverage to improve their organisations' productivity.
... The productivity growth in the construction industry internationally has been stagnant for decades (Teicholz, 2013). The index between 1990 to 2005 showed little growth in the states and France or even negative trends in Germany and Japan (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011). A decrease in construction workers has been happening much more rapidly than shrinking Japan's total population. ...
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Article
The stagnation of construction productivity is becoming increasingly serious in Japan with the decreasing construction workforce. Although BIM has attracted attention to overcome this problem, its adoption has not progressed among small organizations. Expanding the BIM use should be driven by the influence of large organizations. This paper stratifies users by cross-analysis using BIM log mining, a newly emerging analytics approach based on Autodesk Revit, combined with recorded software session times of other software to improve the shortcomings of the existing method. The target company, a Japanese general contractor, where external dispatched personnel accounted for most BIM activities, needed to recognize permanent employees who undertake the crucial role in promoting cooperative BIM projects termed the keystone BIM players. The machine learning-based clustering algorithm and visual analytics discovered a group of collaborative users whose intensity of software use was weaker than proficient users but who provided a substantial proportion of the team's workforce, including multiple applications. The semi-structured interviews as a verification process further clarified that they positively perceive collaboration with external BIM operators; while delegating most tasks, they strive to improve their own BIM knowledge to respect equal collaboration. The methodology provides an indispensable dashboard to improve the project BIM communication, which is the pivotal factor in influencing the further utilization of BIM in the whole industry. The contribution of the research is threefold; the extended BIM log mining technique, the discovery of keystone BIM players, and the exclusive focus on the cooperative relationship in the BIM project environment.
... The construction industry is not considered an industry that is expert at adopting changes; in fact, the industry' productivity rate has declined over the past 50 years and low adoption of changes is one of the main causes for this decline (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011, Teicholz, 2013, Crew, 2017, Sveikauskas et al., 2018. Change adoption is defined as the implementation of ideas, systems, policies, programs, processes, products, or services that are new to the adopting organization (Damanpour, 1992). ...
Conference Paper
The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is introduced to a lot of innovations and changes in various types such as technology (software and hardware informational systems), management process (alternative project delivery, alternative procurement methods, and process improvements), and business structure (mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations, prefabrication, etc.). The industry is rapidly adopting different types of changes. The objective of the study was to determine if certain types of change are harder than others to successfully adopt and implement. An industry-wide approach was taken using an online survey methodology to collect more than 500 cases of organization-wide changes from AEC firms across the United States and Canada. The method of analysis includes reliability testing, principal component analysis, and group differences. The results showed that successful adoption rates of different types of change were not significantly different for certain change types than the others. Further analysis was performed to determine if different demographical considerations of adopting organizations (type and size) had different rates of successful adoption of change. The overall successful adoption rates were generally consistent between different demographical considerations of adopting organizations, but there were minor differences. The discussion addresses those minor differences and provides possible explanations. For example, higher rates of successful adoption were found in specialized firms (roofing contractors, plumbing contractors, etc.) when compared to wide-focused firms (general contractors, EPC firms, etc.). This study contributes an industry-wide view of successful change adoption rates between different types of changes and different demographical considerations of adopting organizations in the AEC industry.
... The productivity growth in the construction industry internationally has been stagnant for decades [63]. The index between 1990 to 2005 showed little growth in the states and France or even negative trends in Germany and Japan [64]. In the case of Japan, the decrease of construction workers has been happening more rapidly than the shrinking of its total population. ...
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Thesis
Stagnant productivity and workforce shortage are global problems in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. Particularly in Japan, slow digital transformation causes lag in leveraging technologies. Building Information Modeling (BIM), a novel digital platform internationally spreading, is expected to enhance productivity. Still, its implementation and collaboration in practice have remained major issues for the last decade. The research question of the thesis is threefold. First, how can a layperson decipher the BIM activity in a data-driven manner? Second, what are the traits of BIM activities in large-scale projects? Last, how can the key BIM cooperator in collaborative projects be specified? The literature review revealed that BIM log mining, a machine-learning-based process mining method, is an emerging and plausible approach. Preparatory studies discovered that outsourcing the modeling workforce could rather disengage project architects from the activities executed in BIM. The proposed methodology introduced visual analytics to assess the result for laypersons. Three different datasets comprise extensive and multidisciplinary BIM records collected from a broad range of organizations, including supplemental big data to overcome the drawbacks of the existing methods. The classification process and visualization are incrementally tested through the empirical chapters. The devised method identified a group of collaborative BIM users in the corporation despite considerable dependence on external BIM workforce termed as BIM operators. Those players can be interpreted as keystone species in the corporate BIM environment. The interview further revealed that mutual respect motivates practitioners for successful BIM learning. The proposed BIM log mining approach is novel, versatile, and comprehensive; different datasets proved its utility. The thesis recommends BIM education aiming for such cooperative BIM practitioners and further research on BIM operators for more successful interpretation to the local ecosystem.
... Productivity may be quantified at three levels: industry/sector, project, and activity/process. The project productivity level is preferred since it assists construction businesses in identifying areas for improvement [12]. ...
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Article
Forecasting accurate labour productivity is critical in construction project management because construction projects are labour-intensive. This study proposes eight intelligent data-driven models for emulating formwork labour productivity in high rise buildings. These models encompass an adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system trained using genetic algorithm (ANFIS-GA), an adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system trained using particle swarm optimization algorithm (ANFIS-PSO), generalized regression neural network (GRNN), back-propagation artificial neural network (BP-ANN), Elman neural network (ENN), regression trees (RT), support vector machines (SVM) and Gaussian process regression (GPR). The models are applied to two high-rise buildings in Montreal, Canada to test their prediction capabilities. The accuracies of the developed data-driven models are investigated using the performance metrics of mean absolute percentage error (MAPE), mean absolute error (MAE), root-mean squared error (RMSE), root relative squared error (RRSE) and relative absolute error (RAE). The assessment metrics show that the GRNN model exhibits better and stable performance than the remainder of the prediction models (MAPE 8.98%, MAE 0.13, RMSE 0.19, RAE 0.45 and RRSE 0.54). It is also derived that the work method and temperature sustain the high influence on labor productivity. It can be anticipated that the developed GRNN model, can be a valuable decision-making tool for forecasting construction labour productivity in construction projects.
... In Australia, the industry contributes about 9% to GDP, producing annual revenue of $360 billion [2]. However, the industry's low productivity rate compared to other industries has remained a challenge for construction practitioners and researchers [3,4]. ...
... Productivity may be quantified at three levels: industry/sector, project, and activity/process. The project productivity level is preferred since it assists construction businesses in identifying areas for improvement [12]. ...
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Conference Paper
Forecasting accurate labor productivity is critical in construction project management because construction projects are labor-intensive. This study predicts labor productivity using an adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) trained using particle swarm optimization (PSO) to enhance prediction accuracy. The model is applied to two high-rise buildings in Montreal, Canada. The accuracy of the proposed model is compared to that of the original ANFIS model using root mean square error (RMSE) and fraction of prediction within a factor of two (FACT2). The assessment metrics show that the ANFIS-PSO model (RMSE 0.414 and FACT2 0.053) exhibits better performance than the traditional ANFIS model for formwork labor productivity. It can be concluded that the ANFIS model, coupled with metaheuristic algorithms, can be a valuable decision-making tool for forecasting construction labor productivity in construction projects.
... As reported by multiple Chilean institutions, the growth of construction productivity has been lower compared with the national economy; what is more, the construction productivity has been stagnated during the last two decades (CORFO, 2019); (De Solminihac and Dagá, 2017);(De Solminihac and Dagá, 2018). Notably, this challenge is not exclusive from the Chilean construction industry, and similar results have been reported in the United States, Europe, and Asia (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011); (Rojas and Aramvareekul, 2003); (Sveikauskas et al., 2015). As discussed in the literature review section, changes in construction projects represent a leading cause of productivity losses in construction projects. ...
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Article
Multiple studies have found that productivity in Chilean construction has been stagnated during recent decades; thus, creating the need to understand better what factors have led to these results in the construction sector. In the international literature, studies have found that changes are the leading cause of productivity losses in construction projects; however, limited studies have been done in Chile in this regard. This context is understood as an opportunity to learn from the existing literature about the impact of changes in construction productivity, more importantly, such learning can contribute to the discussion of productivity improvement in the Chilean construction sector. This study recommends that more studies are necessary to be done in Chile regarding the impact of changes in construction projects. Namely, future studies should be based on an extensive database of projects so that generalization can be drawn for the construction industry. Additionally, the data collection process of changes in construction should be improved, paying specific attention to the size of changes, the timing of changes, and the scale of assessment—namely activity, project, and industry levels. Ultimately, this study aims to contribute to the discussion about productivity improvement in Chilean construction as this remains one of the main challenges in the industry
... The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is experiencing low productivity than many industries (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Tookey, 2011;Vogl and Abdel-Wahab 2015). Why is low productivity in the AEC industry concern for governments? ...
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Chapter
Reducing energy consumption in agroecosystems alone is inefficient. Dependence of food security on agroecosystems in the globe and the high share of environment emissions from agricultural activities in the world, which is about 10%–12% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, cause comprehensive optimization of agricultural systems to be important. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) are among the most widely applied methods in optimizing and evaluating environment, respectively, which have been considered by many researchers in recent years. As such, the aim of this work is to evaluate the integration of LCA and optimization of energy consumption applying DEA. In this regard, methods of computing input–output energy, environmental emissions, energy optimization using the DEA method, and reducing the amount of environmental emissions by this method are fully described and results are then interpreted.
... Productivity, being a fundamental value adding function, is defined as the ratio between output of a production process to its corresponding input [32][33][34]. It measures how well resources are leveraged to achieve the desired outcomes [35]. ...
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Selecting a better performing contractor at the procurement stage is crucial in achieving a successful outcome for a construction project. The construction industry lacks a systematic and purpose driven method to assess performance of contractors using objective metrics. There are many approaches to measuring construction performance, but most are complicated and have high dependency on data that is difficult to attain. This paper aims to create a model for evaluating construction contractors’ performance based on directly attributable measures that are quantitative and easy to gather. This makes such a model more attractive and easier to use. Initially, a detailed literature review revealed different categories of measures of performance (MoP) and corresponding critical measures of performance (CMoP). Through a series of Delphi-based expert forums, the set of measures were fine-tuned and shortlisted. Fuzzy analytic hierarchy process-based comparisons were then used for developing a contractors’ performance model to quantify their level of performance based on a limited set of organisation-specific and project-specific measures. The results indicate a shift from traditional measures and a higher preference towards non-price measures. The performance model can be further developed to systematically rank the prospective contractors at the procurement stage based on seven non-price measures.
... Therefore, Construction Labour Productivity (CLP) has a significant effect on project expenses and can influence the profitability of construction firms. However, despite the efforts of governments and firms, the construction industry is trailing other industries in labour productivity (Abdel-Wahab & Vogl 2011, Stehrer et al. 2019. Construction companies are interested in how they can increase their CLP, particularly at a time when demand grows and construction firms cope with labour shortages (Bertram et al. 2019). ...
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Conference Paper
Despite the efforts of governments and firms, the construction industry is trailing other industries in labour productivity. Construction companies are interested in increasing their labour productivity, particularly when demand grows and construction firms cope with labour shortages. Off-site construction has proved to be a favourable policy to increase labour productivity. However, a complete understanding of the factors affecting construction labour productivity is lacking, and it is unclear which factors are influenced by off-site construction. This study developed a conceptual model describing how 15 factors influence the construction process and make a difference in labour productivity between off-site and on-site construction. The conceptual model shows that all 15 factors affect labour productivity in three ways: through direct effects, indirect effects and causal loops. The model is a starting point for further research to determine the impact of off-site construction on labour productivity.
... The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is experiencing low productivity than many industries (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011;Tookey, 2011;Vogl and Abdel-Wahab 2015). Why is low productivity in the AEC industry concern for governments? ...
Chapter
This chapter addresses the joint use of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a source of synergistic frameworks for quantitative sustainability assessment and benchmarking of multiple similar entities. In addition to current progress in the growing field of research in (environmental) LCA + DEA, novel approaches further integrating social life-cycle indicators are proposed. This enhanced sustainability scope is expected to further promote the combined use of life-cycle approaches and DEA when assessing and benchmarking a large number of resembling entities.
... Most previous studies selected construction labor productivity as the index, then analyzed the productivity from the past to the present and compared this among different countries (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], 2001;Harrison, 2007;Freeman, 2008;Abdel-Wahab & Vogl, 2011;Choy, 2011;Gregori & Pietroforte, 2015). However, the construction labor productivity does not reflect the project characteristics (Liao et al., 2011), construction and management capacity (El-Gohary & Aziz, 2014;Durdyev et al., 2018) or site conditions (El-Gohary & Aziz, 2014). ...
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This study analyzes construction productivity based on the construction duration per floor and per gross area over 20 years (1996–2015) and compares the results among the United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, and Japan, which have similar sizes of total construction investment and market risk. Although construction labor productivity is widely used to analyze and compare construction productivity among countries, it does not consider the changed construction duration caused by levels of investment and technology. Therefore, construction duration per floor and gross area was selected analyze and compare construction productivity in this paper. Regular and non-modular buildings with a total of five or more floors and a basement are collected during the analysis period (1996–2015). The total number of collected buildings is 800 and it includes buildings in the United States (194), the United Kingdom (186), South Korea (322) and Japan (98). Construction duration, increase rate and standard deviation are then compared between each country. Finally, factors that influence construction duration are derived and additionally considered to explain and adjust the trends and changes of construction productivity related to construction duration in the four countries. The productivity of the United States is the highest, but the difference between it and other countries decreases steadily because the increase rate of the construction duration in the United stated is larger than those of other countries. Then, the factors influencing the construction duration are derived as a learning effect by the number of ground floors and gross area, as well as the rate of constructed buildings with a first basement floor for efficient productivity management. The rate of the first basement floor influences both the construction duration per floor and per gross area. This study contributes to the field by explaining the productivity change based on the construction duration and proposing the key management point of the productivity by deriving the influence factors
... Previous research has mainly focused on enlisting determinants of productivity at the industry level by analyzing the views of the industry's practitioners (Arditi & Mochtar, 2000). However, to improve cross-country comparisons and obtain more accurate conclusions about the productivity levels in a sector, characteristics that drive productivity at firm level must be investigated (Abdel-Wahab & Vogl, 2011), and this is possible through the available firm-level data from individual financial accounts that we try to exploit in our analysis. In this sense, we propose to analyze also (1) internal trade activities, which are consistent with the self-selection and the learningby-exporting or importing hypothesis; (2) financial constraints, which are an important set of characteristics affecting especially small-and medium-sized firms; and (3) external characteristics related to macroeconomic and industry conditions. ...
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The construction sector is one of the most important sectors for economic development due, among other reasons, to the productive chains that it generates. This paper presents an analysis of the determinants of the total factor productivity (TFP) in the Ecuadorian construction sector during the period 2007–2018. In the first stage, we estimate a production function using the Wooldridge (Economics Letters, 2009, 104, 112–114) estimator to correct the simultaneous determination of inputs and firm unobserved productivity. In the second stage, we analyze the main determinants of TFP. These determinants are classified into four groups: internal, international trade, financial constraints, and external characteristics. Our results suggest that firm age is positively related with TFP but negatively related with TFP growth. Similarly, the fact of being a family firm is negatively related with TFP, but size is positively related with TFP and its growth across the construction subsectors. In addition, we find that access to debt and credit is positively related with productivity, but less‐competitive environment is negatively related with productivity. Finally, our results suggest that TFP and its growth are pro‐cyclical with respect to the gross domestic product. Our results have several managerial implications that are discussed in this article.
... According to Abdel-Wahab and Vogl [6], the productivity of the construction industry had not been increasing compared with other industries in the developed world. This stagnation of productivity was studied and determined that it was not due to input of capital and labor but rather how effectively they were combined. ...
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Construction material not available for installation cause delays in the construction project supply chain and pose risks to overall project delays. Many researches have studied the supply chain to find the underlining reasons and influencing factors for project delays. Other investigations of the construction project supply chain identify ways to improve the supply chain. The purpose of this study is to determine the current state of construction project supply chain performance with a focus on material on-time availability. A survey of industrial constructors and their suppliers’ on-time performance and related supply chain practices was conducted. Structural steel and pipe spools are frequently used in industrial construction projects and were selected as the subject of the survey. This survey was used to obtain a general perspective of the issues associated with the delays so that further surveys and simulations could be performed to pin point specific areas of improvement. This survey of experts in the field was used as a qualitative query to obtain opinions and a feel for the state of the practice in industrial construction supply chain management. For this initial review it is found that there are many possible delays, missing and defective parts, overall 22% for structural steel and 18% for pipe spools. New technologies such as RFID would be a possible way to improve the construction project supply chain process at this level.
... Productivity is used to denote a relationship between output and its associated input used in the production system (Yi and Chan 2014). Construction is a project-based industry (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl 2011). Therefore, projects provide a preferred context to analyse how construction outputs depend on their tangible and intangible inputs during the construction process (Vogl and Abdel-Wahab 2015), and how the benefits and values are generated during the operation and utilisation of the completed projects and constructed facilities, i.e., the post-construction process (Cooke-Davies 2002;Zhan and Pan 2018;Zwikael and Smyrk 2012). ...
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Purpose While the investment in construction projects has increased over the past few decades, low construction project productivity (CPP) appeared to be persistent, thereby reflecting an “investment-in-failure” paradox between the investment and CPP. Hence, this paper aims to develop a systematic and holistic CPP evaluation framework to explain the apparent paradox in the construction industry. Design/methodology/approach The paper first reviews the literature about the theories of system, production, principal–agent and project success evaluation to re-conceptualise the CPP and proposes a two-stage CPP evaluation framework. The framework is subsequently explored through a sequential qualitative mixed-methods design within the context of the Hong Kong construction industry by combining 32 semi-structured interviews with senior industry experts and exploratory case studies, with three real-life construction projects. Findings The paper identifies three system boundaries for CPP evaluation, that is, parameter, timeframe and stakeholder, and develops a two-stage CPP evaluation framework to indicate site efficiency and utilisation effectiveness, thereby accessing the productivity of both the construction and post-construction stages. The “investment-in-failure” paradox associated with current CPP evaluation approaches is primarily attributed to the narrowly defined CPP boundaries. Research limitations/implications The qualitative exploration of the evaluation framework only focusses on the Hong Kong construction industry. Further case studies within other urban contexts could be used to improve the generalisability of the findings. Quantitative research is also necessary to advance theoretical development of the two-stage CPP evaluation. Practical implications The systemic CPP conceptualisation and the two-stage CPP evaluation framework support the systems thinking of industry stakeholders and enable them to formulate holistic strategies for long-term CPP enhancement. Originality/value The research demonstrates the needs to expand the system boundaries of CPP to reflect its systemic value and to shift the paradigm of CPP evaluation from being output-orientated and quantity-focussed to being outcome-orientated and value-focussed.
... Despite the fact that the aftereffects of efficiency contemplates on various ventures are frequently looked at, a large scale level examination can just evaluate the conceivable explanations behind varieties that is faced in the construction industry. Building material preparations for project is also significant in determining the productivity of the industry [8]. ...
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Concrete pipes are one of the most common building materials used all over the world in the field of construction & civil engineering. This paper tackles about the labor’s efficiency in the concrete pipes manufacturing. Efficiency also affects the worker’s productivity since it is a high factor to be considered especially in masonry which is why masonry contractors gather detailed data on their workers’ productivity and as well as factors that may affect productivity. The group used ANOVA analysis to analyze the relationship based on employees’ age, length of service, employee satisfaction index, and acquired technical skills. The significance of this study will be beneficial to both the company and the masonry contractors and can optimize the availability of workers to improve its efficiency.
... The 3PL market is now $148 billion in size with single-digit annual growth. 1 Lai (2004) takes another classification scheme that is based on the degree of service performance and classify them as traditional freight forwarders, transformers , full service providers and nichers . Following table 1 shows the activities of third party logistic service providers based on Sink et al. (1996). ...
... One of the main objectives of the construction sector is productivity and efficiency improvement [5,6]. The use of smart and mobile tools and technologies in construction management and application works can increase the efficiency, quality and productivity of the project [6]. ...
Conference Paper
Today's technology continues to develop in every area at full speed. One of the sectors that try to keep up with these rapidly developing technologies in the construction industry. Especially in recent years, mobile technology has been utilized in the construction industry. In the face of rapidly advancing technological developments in the construction industry, our country falls astern behind other countries. In this study, it is aimed to examine the mobile technologies used in the construction industry, which has a significant share in the national economy, and to ensure that the employees in the industry obtain sufficient information about this technology. Due to the limited number of studies on mobile construction applications and the insufficient interest of the Turkish construction sector in this subject, such a study was considered necessary.
... In some cases, the plans are still presented on a paper, while we notice a technological growth in other industries using new technologies and software to make their designs. The construction industry seems to be the least field to success industrialization and adoption of new technologies [9]. ...
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The objective of this research paper is to determine whether there is a relationship between the Net Margin and other indicators and to understand how the Net Margin for building construction projects varies. One example of those indicators is “subcontracting”. Many construction companies refer to subcontractors to overcome economic and capacity constraints. We analyze the impact of the subcontracting practice and the price per square meter on the Net Margin for building construction projects. This work was based on a set of hundreds of construction projects in France. The potential of Artificial Intelligence in Construction is also investigated and the results show the first prediction model. Future research should focus on creating Machine Learning programs to predict Key performance indicators for construction projects such as the net margin.
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Due to recent advances in machine learning, there has been an explosive development of multiple methodologies that automatically extract information from architectural floor plans. Nevertheless, the lack of a standard notation and the high variability in style and composition make it urgent to devise reliable and effective approaches to analyze and recognize objects like walls, doors, and rooms from rasterized images. For such reason, and with the aim of bringing some significant contribution to the state-of-the-art, this paper provides a critical revision of the methodologies and tools from rule-based and learning-based approaches between the years 1995 to 2021. Datasets, scopes, and algorithms were discussed to guide future developers to improve productivity and reduce costs in the construction and design industries. This study concludes that most research relies on a particular plan style, facing problems regarding generalization and comparison due to the lack of a standard metric and the limited public datasets. However, the study also highlights that combining existing tasks can be employed in various and increasing applications.
Chapter
Labour productivity in the construction industry has significantly declined. Therefore, there is a need to assess construction labour productivity in the present day. Regulation has known as one of the factors that may directly affect productivity. This study aims to find the impact of different regulations on construction labour productivity. Data were collected through individual interview sessions with twelve (12) construction industry practitioners from contractor, consultant, and client stakeholders to achieve that objective. Then, the collected data were analysed using the thematic analysis technique. The results show that regulations can positively and negatively impact construction labour productivity from four aspects: time, cost, processes, and human resources. Furthermore, several types of challenges can emerge due to regulations: time constraints, bureaucracy, management, human resources demand, professionalism, and etiquette. This study contributes to the construction body of knowledge by exploring the impact of regulations on construction labour productivity. Industry practitioners and policymakers can use this study as a reference to maximise construction labour productivity.
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Conference Paper
The adoption and implementation of Sustainable Construction has been one of the main challenges facing the construction industry for the last three decades. The issue has attracted global attention with many governments and organizations developing codes and frameworks to encourage and enforce the adoption of Sustainable Construction. However, current evidence suggests that companies and individuals are struggling to commit to Sustainable Construction and implement the suggested policies. This paper explores from the Malaysian residential building developer’s perspective, the barriers and external drivers influencing the adoption of sustainable construction in Malaysia. A comprehensive literature survey is carried out to develop a theoretical link between sustainable construction and identified factors. This was followed by a structured questionnaire survey among 365 Developer company registered with the REHDA (Real Estate and Residential Building Developers ‘Association Malaysia). 103 responses were received, 101 considered valid for analysis. Findings from the study revealed financial support (Incentives/tax rebates/subsidies, high profit margin), legislative and building regulation and availability of rating system. E.g. Green Building Index (GBI) are the key external drivers. Besides, high initial cost and investment, insufficient initiatives & support by government in term of tax rebates/subsidies/incentives and lack of improvement of legislation, building code and byelaws are the crucial barrier to the sustainable construction adoption. The study suggests government support in term of financial incentives, change in legislation and creation of awareness can promote the adoption and at the same time can provide barriers mitigation.
Chapter
The construction industry is labor-intensive and providing an accurate estimate for labor productivity is crucial for managing construction projects. In this regard, this research develops an adaptive neuro fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) model trained using genetic algorithms (GA) to enhance the prediction accuracy and reliability for construction labor productivity. The model is validated using data acquired from two high-rise buildings in Montreal, Canada. The performance of the optimized model is evaluated against that of the classic ANFIS model using correlation coefficient (R), mean bias error (MBE), and root mean square error (RMSE). The results of the evaluation metrics reveal that the ANFIS-GA model (R = 0.121, MBE = 0.331, and RMSE = 0.411) outperforms the classical ANFIS model (R = 0.040, MBE = 0.426, and RMSE = 0.537) for formwork labor productivity. It can be concluded that combining the ANFIS model with metaheuristic algorithms improves the forecasting accuracy of construction labor productivity.
Article
Purpose Construction suffers from “peculiarities” that concern the temporary natures of the construction site, project teams and unique product design. Considering the digital transformation of construction, new solutions are being investigated that can provide consistent data between changing projects. One such source of data manifests in the tracking of logistics activities across the supply chain. Construction logistics is traditionally considered a site management activity focused solely on the “back end” of projects, but an expanded logistics focus can unlock new avenues of improvement. This study aims to understand the requirements and benefits of such a consistent thread of data. Design/methodology/approach From a research project with one of Australia’s largest contracting companies, this paper details a series of construction tracking tests as an empirical case study in using Bluetooth low energy aware tracking technology to capture data across the manufacture, delivery and assembly of a cross-laminated timber structural prototyping project. Findings The findings affirm the tracking of expanded logistics data can improve back-end performance in subsequent projects while also demonstrating the opportunity to inform a project’s unique front-end design phase. The case study demonstrates that as the reliability, range and battery life of tracking technologies improve, their incorporation into a broader range of construction activities provides invaluable data for improvement across projects. Originality/value As a live case study, this research offers unique insights into the potential of construction tracking to close the data loop from final site assembly back to the early project design phase, thus driving continual improvement from a holistic perspective.
Article
Multiple studies have found that productivity in Chilean construction has been stagnated during recent decades; thus, creating the need to understand better what factors have led to these results in the construction sector. In the international literature, studies have found that changes are the leading cause of productivity losses in construction projects; however, limited studies have been done in Chile in this regard. This context is understood as an opportunity to learn from the existing literature about the impact of changes in construction productivity, more importantly, such learning can contribute to the discussion of productivity improvement in the Chilean construction sector. This study recommends that more studies are necessary to be done in Chile regarding the impact of changes in construction projects. Namely, future studies should be based on an extensive database of projects so that generalization can be drawn for the construction industry. Additionally, the data collection process of changes in construction should be improved, paying specific attention to the size of changes, the timing of changes, and the scale of assessment-namely activity, project, and industry levels. Ultimately, this study aims to contribute to the discussion about productivity improvement in Chilean construction as this remains one of the main challenges in the industry.
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Keberhasilan pelaksanaan proyek konstruksi di tentukan oleh tenaga kerja, karena berdampak pada kemajuan dan produktifitas pekerjaan di lapangan. Peningkatkan produktivitas dengan fabrikasi lebih baik daripada sistem konstruksi konvensional. Penentuan produktifitas dalam pekerjaan fabrikasi baja perencanaan jadwal sebuah proyek sehingga perlu dianalisa produktivitas pekerjanya. Pada penelitian ini bertujuan untuk menganalisa produktivitas tenaga kerja dan mengidentifikasi faktor yang mempengaruhi produktivitas pekerja pada pekerjaan fabrikasi. Metode pengukuran produktivitas dilakukan dengan metode work study. Metode work study adalah metode pengukuran produktivitas pekerja dengan observasi langsung dilapangan. Dari hasil perhitungan diperoleh nilai produktivitas pekerja pada pekerjaan marking pelat: 563,25 kg/orang/hari, WF: 886,47 kg/orang/hari. Sedangkan pekerjaan pemotongan pelat: 891,85 kg/orang/hari, WF 259,53 kg/orang/hari. Untuk nilai produktivitas pada pekerjaan perakitan 282,43 kg/orang/hari. Dari hasil analisis produktivitas menunjukkan bahwa jumlah pekerja, relaxation allowances, material yang digunakan, dan penggunaan alat dalam pekerjaan adalah faktor faktor yang mempengaruhi produktivitas pekerja pada pekerjaan fabrikasi baja.
Chapter
The achievement of economic growth depends on productivity in economic contributing sectors. Governments are encouraging architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry professionals to adopt digital solutions in their work process to solve productivity problems in the AEC industry. A primary question guides the development of this chapter. Can digital transformation alone be enough to improve productivity in the AEC industry? This chapter’s main argument is that digital solutions should be applied to speed the process of effectively doing a risk assessment and eliminating or reducing the intensity of the root cause of a problem instead of the problem as they are currently adopted in the sustainable building delivery process. Whereas, lean thinking helps put a system, based on risk assessment, in place to reduce waste. Lean thinking can help project managers to effectively do problem analysis, identify the root cause of a problem, and provide knowledge on how the solution can be provided to eliminate or reduce the root cause’s intensity. The role of project managers in charge of the entire building delivery process is emphasised. The knowledge put forward in this chapter is that the digital transformation of a sustainable building delivery process can only lead to high value-oriented high productivity if it is grounded in lean thinking.
Article
Purpose The purpose of this study is to identify the essential elements required for innovation in the construction industry. To this end, the authors assessed the innovation at three levels: the firm growth account level, the firm behaviour level and the level of the firm’s experts. The factors influencing innovation at each level were identified and synthesised into guiding strategies for innovation. Design/methodology/approach Three methods were combined to develop a mode of thinking for innovation. First, at the semi-macro level, the authors identified the factors that influence the total factor productivity (TFP) by regressing the TFP across firms of the construction industry on a variety of extrinsic factors. Second, at the firm level, the authors extracted actual innovative firms from a large amount of public procurement individual data. The authors analysed the behaviours of these innovative firms. Third, the authors conducted a survey of expert-level personnel. In addition, a text analysis was performed to determine what was perceived by experts as a factor that leads to innovation. Findings The authors analysed the TFP, the behaviour of innovative firms and the perception issues between industry experts and stakeholders regarding innovation. As a result, two factors were identified. The first factor was the expectation of a positive solution to the problem through monopoly profits, future benefits and increased efficiency. The second factor was peer pressure from other organisations of a similar nature, peer pressure from users and technical information, as well as competitive conditions, e.g. recent environmental growth, including relevant innovations. Practical implications In the context of innovation, static and dynamic thinking were important requirements. Static concepts were based on the accumulation of knowledge, such as patents and technological progress. Dynamic thinking involved a future outlook, including a competitive environment as a necessary condition. Actual technological innovation was driven by incentives and expectations. Social implications According to the results of this study, the authors make the following recommendations for enhancing the construction-industry innovation in Japan: do not rely on a patent policy to drive innovation, create an environment that encourages competition and develop an ongoing initiative that encourages and rewards innovation. Originality/value This study was novel, in that the nature of innovation was investigated at three levels: the TFP, firm behaviour and expert perceptions. The identification and extraction of the two resulting points – statically necessary and dynamically necessary elements – was a significant contribution of the study.
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Technical Report
This report draws on a major review of Australian and international literature about relationships between housing systems and economic performance. It is also informed by the authors' empirical research on the perspectives of Australia's leading economists and housing market experts on housing-economy linkages. The report argues that housing system outcomes are imposing growing burdens on the Australian economy - specifically in terms of income and wealth inequality, financial stability and economic productivity.
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In recent years, the demand has been increasing for ground improvement work for seismic reinforcement and as a countermeasure to liquefaction utilizing Information Construction Technology, Internet of Things, and Building Information Modeling. Therefore, it is expected that more and more attention will be paid to construction management related to the quality and work progress of the soil improvement body as the demand for ground improvement work increases. On the other hand, since the actual ground is assumed to be heterogeneous in geological composition and soil quality, the thickness of the layer that will be subjected to the ground improvement work and the depth to the bearing stratum may be different from those assumed at the design stage. In addition, since the number of ground surveys that have been conducted for ground improvement work is limited, it is not easy to promptly evaluate the validity of actual construction specifications against the design values of the improvement body in locations far from where the ground surveys were done. Therefore, in order to solve the above problems, this study addresses the current value measured and recorded during construction by the deep mixing method, which is one of the ground improvement methods. Approximation of N-value that is a strength index of the target ground is examined, considering the correlation between the current value and the N-value obtained from the standard penetration test (SPT) conducted in the preliminary ground survey. In addition, the applicability of the estimated N-value to an actual construction is examined by formulating an N-value approximation. Based on the obtained current value, this study clarified to possible to formulate an approximation for the N-value and to use this information as feedback at the time of construction.
Article
Purpose Since China's accession of the World Trade Organization (WTO), its construction industry has attained unprecedented growth. However, for the sources of this enormous growth, a controversy regarding the total factor productivity growth (TFPG) still remains in production practice and extant studies. In view of this, the purpose of this paper is to measure TFPG and to explore its sources in the industry post-WTO accession. Design/methodology/approach This study presents an innovative source analysis of TFPG. Stochastic frontier approach is adopted to measure TFPG and to explore its sources by decomposing TFPG into technical progress (TP), technical efficiency change (TEC), allocative efficiency change (AEC) and scale efficiency change (SEC). Although China joined WTO in 2001, to provide an effective baseline, the study period is from 2000 to 2017. Findings The empirical results reveal that TFPG presented an overall downward evolutionary trend, but it still maintained a high growth post-WTO accession. From the perspective of decomposition, TP was the main source of TFPG. Furthermore, as a neglected source, interaction effects among TP, TEC, AEC and SEC have been demonstrated to have a significant influence on the cumulative TFPG. Practical implications To make the results be reliable, the authors discuss the empirical findings mainly by revealing the reasons behind the evolutions of TFPG and its sources. Based on these revealed reasons, government and policy makers can further refine and summarize some more detailed and targeted policy implications to improve TFPG. Originality/value By providing many empirical evidences to solve the aforesaid TFPG controversy, this paper, therefore, enriches the body of knowledge on growth theories, especially at the level of industrial economics.
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Thesis
The thesis explores how digital technologies may disrupt the construction sector. It builds on four interconnected studies: A) A horizon scanning that identifies 133 potentially disruptive technologies. B) A literature-based analysis revealing to which extent disruption theory applies to a construction sector context. C) The identification of three future visions for a digitally transformed construction sector, based on interviews with 13 innovation-savvy construction professionals. D) The development of a design game, called the Technology Cards, which facilitates future-oriented, strategic dialogues on the potential of 22 selected technologies. Synthesising the four studies, the thesis proposes that construction companies benefit from applying inclusive, long-term-oriented foresight methods to prepare for disruptive change. The thesis provides recommendations for established construction companies to realise the emerging benefits of digital technologies, hereby enabling a democratic and deliberate digital transformation of construction.
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The global construction industry has a poor productivity record compared with other industries. While there have been many studies into the factors that influence construction productivity, the role of industrial relations (IR) in construction productivity has been neglected. This is despite countries with highly unionised workforces, such as Australia and Canada, often attributing the industry’s relatively low productivity to its confrontational IR environment. This paper explores how construction project managers and operatives in Australia interpret what has become a highly divisive IR debate and how this influences their IR behaviour. A survey of 92 construction project managers and operatives reveals multi-theoretical perceptions influenced by both pluralist and radical IR theories. While unions are seen as beneficial to project safety and work hours, they are perceived as detrimental to productivity, although there is uncertainty about how this relationship works. It is concluded that improvements in construction project productivity are unlikely to be achieved by IR legislation alone but through a more complex multidimensional bargaining lens where project managers and operatives develop mutually beneficial shared solutions.
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For decades construction labour productivity has been stagnated or declining. Changing this issue requires new knowledge on the labour-intensive construction production system. The work sampling method was applied to collect data from three renovation construction production systems. It quantifies observations of on-site work and enables deep analyses of how time is used. The analysis revealed that the renovation projects had a baseline of value-adding-work (VAW) time on 29.5%. It further identified five system behaviours outlining how VAW and Non-Value-Adding work (NVAW) time behaves. The new knowledge of how both VAW and NVAW time behaves advances knowledge on how time is wasted in construction projects and opens new branches of future research. The findings are furthermore of potential use to industry professionals who work with process improvement in renovation projects because they provide, among others, answers to how targets can be defined for both VAW and NVAW.
Article
Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are intended to facilitate the tight coupling of the cyber and physical worlds. Their potential for enhancing the delivery and management of constructed facilities is now becoming understood. In these systems, it is vital to ensure bidirectional consistency between construction components and their digital replicas. This paper introduces the key features of CPS and describes why they are ideally suited for addressing a number of problems in the delivery of construction projects. It draws on examples of research prototypes developed using surveys, field experiments, and prototyping methodologies, to outline the key features and benefits of CPS for construction applications and the approach to their development. In addition, it outlines the lessons learned from developing various systems for the design, construction and management of constructed facilities, which include building component placement and tracking, temporary structures monitoring, and mobile crane safety. The paper concludes that the construction industry stands to reap numerous benefits from the adoption of CPS. It states that the future direction of CPS in construction will be driven by technological developments and the extent to which CPS is deployed in new application areas.
Article
Labor productivity in construction has fallen behind other industries in most of the world and has declined continuously for decades in the United States. To change this, the construction industry needs to know where to focus. This research aims to show how important craftsmen efficiency is for national construction labor productivity (CLP) development. Statistical analysis was used to compare craftsmen efficiency and CLP data from North America (NA) in the period 1972–2010. Craftsmen efficiency data were extracted from published work that measured direct work (DW) through work sampling, and CLP data were extracted from national databases. A statistically significant relationship between DW and CLP was established. This revealed that adding 36 s of DW to every work hour could yield a yearly return of 5.4 billion USD to the NA gross domestic product (GDP). Results show that more focus on activity and project level efficiency is crucial for changing the trends of national CLP. Industry leaders and policy makers now have a solid foundation for taking corrective actions for an industry plagued by low productivity.
Article
Inaccurate cost estimates have significant impacts on the final cost of power transmission projects and erode profits. Methods for cost estimation have been investigated thoroughly, but they are not used widely in practice. The purpose of this study is to leverage a big data architecture, to manage the large and diverse data required for predictive analytics. This paper presents a predictive analytics and modeling system (PAMS) that facilitates the use of different data-driven cost prediction methods. A 2.75-million-point dataset of power transmission projects has been used as a case study. The proposed big data architecture fits this purpose. It can handle the diverse datasets used in the construction sector. The three most prevalent cost estimation models were implemented (linear regression, support vector regression, and artificial neural networks). All models performed better than the estimated human-level performance. The primary contribution of this study to the body of knowledge is an empirical indication that data-driven methods analysed in this study are on average 13.5% better than manual methods for cost estimation of power transmission projects. Additionally, the paper presents a big data architecture that can manage and process large varied datasets and seamless scalability.
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We use an innovative survey tool to collect management practice data from 731 medium sized manufacturing firms in Europe and the US. We find these are strongly associated with better firm performance in terms of productivity, return on capital employed (profitability), Tobin’s Q and sales growth. We also find a surprisingly large dispersion of management practices across firms with a long ‘tail’ of poorly managed firms. This presents a dilemma - why do so many firms continue to exist while apparently deploying inferior management practices? Our analysis suggests that this is due, in part, to a combination of: (i) competition, with tougher product market competition fostering better management practices; (ii) firm age, with younger market entrants utilising better management techniques; and (iii) regulation, with stronger labour market regulation apparently inhibiting the deployment of best practice management.
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Previous research work concerning construction productivity has often been related to labour productivity. Although easy to measure and understand, labour productivity may be misleading in measuring the efficiency of utilization of resources. An alternative concept — total factor productivity — is preferred. However, this concept has seldom been used in empirical research of construction productivity due to problems of measurement and availability of data. This paper presents a method of indirectly measuring the total factor productivity of the construction industry using various construction cost and price indices and other statistics. Although special reference has been made to the construction industry of Hong Kong, the same approach should also be applicable to other countries.
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There is general agreement that the construction industry's uptake of innovations in Construction IT is disappointing, particularly when considered in relation to the huge research effort and expenditure being invested in this field. This is of growing concern to research funding agencies, Construction IT researchers, and some industry practitioners, albeit for very different reasons. This paper examines some of the reasons for this low uptake of Construction IT innovations, drawing on examples of specific technologies and research projects, where appropriate. It emphasizes the need for partnerships and closer working arrangements between the key actors and stakeholders -researchers, funding agencies, software developers, end-users and industry managers. The paper outlines the key elements of a framework within which technology transfer from research to practice will thrive, and highlights some initiatives that will help to address the low uptake of Construction IT innovations.
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EBS’s estimates of relative productivity in construction are as follows: 1. The US is about 25-35% ahead of the UK and Germany in terms of average labour productivity (ALP). 2. The UK is ahead of Germany in ALP on an output per worker basis, but not on an output per hour worked basis (this is due to Germans working fewer hours per week on average). These results are largely unchanged under various sensitivity tests, for example, using GDP PPP exchange rates instead of construction PPP exchange rates to convert national currencies to a common currency. The EBS estimate for the US-UK comparison is supported by UCL/DL (who estimate a US lead in ALP of 42% in 1999). UCL/DL’s estimates for the Germany-UK comparison are also similar to those of EBS, since they show Germany level with the UK in ALP on an output per worker basis, but ahead on an output per hour worked basis. Productivity comparisons of the UK with France are subject to difficulties. Depending on the exchange rates they use for conversion purposes, EBS find that France is well ahead of Britain on some measures of ALP (and indeed is close to the US) but on other measures French ALP is much the same as in Britain. UCL/DL argue strongly for using an exchange rate, which shows French construction ALP to be well ahead of the UK. They state that: ‘The French construction PPPs have been controversial for some time….[and tend to lead to] underestimates of French construction output’. There are difficulties in conducting this type of analysis that are hard to surmount, for example it is unlikely that labour inputs are well measured in any country because of illegal immigration, ‘ the hidden economy’, etc. However, unless there is reason to think that the proportion of uncounted construction workers is significantly higher or lower in Britain as compared to, say, the United States, then it seems reasonable to accept that ALP in the US construction industry is some way ahead of the UK. In many ways cross-country comparisons of productivity levels across the whole construction industry are not comparing like with like since the composition of construction output differs greatly from country to country. It is therefore hard to construct reliable national rankings based on aggregated data for construction given the present state of the data.
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The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has in recent years devoted considerable resources to the study of productivity trends in the OECD area. In this article, Dirk Pilat, a senior economist at the OECD provides an overview of the key results of this research effort. These include the finding that: the United States continues to have the highest level of GDP per capita in the OECD area; the gap between the aggregate productivity level in the United States and in other OECD countries increased in the 1990s after falling up to then, reflecting the rebound in U.S. productivity growth, a phenomenon not observed elsewhere; divergences in productivity growth performance are not due to different measurement techniques used in OECD countries; and difference in GDP per capita trends reflect differences in labour utilization, with the United States enjoying strong growth in both productivity and the employment rate while many European countries experiencing limited employment growth.
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This paper presents a new framework for measuring the benefits of IT in construction. The framework is based on the principle that benefits realisation must be managed by: planning for strategic alignment and business-driven exploitation, managing the process of predicting benefits, and by measuring resulting benefits after a system or innovation is implemented. Three distinct types of benefits are identified within the new framework associated with business efficiency, business effectiveness and business performance. A key barrier to the more effective exploitation and application of IT in the construction sector has been the lack of investment on a scale comparable with other sectors. A primary reason cited for the low level of investment is the low level of perceived benefits from IT investments amongst construction business managers. Many benefits evaluation methods exist and are widely applied in other sectors. Benefits evaluation methods in construction are under-utilised. One reason for this is the lack of fit between these methods, and their associated language, with the peculiarities of the construction sector. The new framework presented in this paper has been derived for specific application to the construction sector. The framework has been subjected to testing and application within UK construction organisations. The results of this testing suggest a number of improvements in the benefits realisation process
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To overcome data deficiencies in measuring trends in U.S. nonmanufacturing productivity, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Census Bureau have expanded and improved the measurement of service sector and other data; even with these changes, many nonmanufacturing industries continue to exhibit negative productivity trends.
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The paper provides an overview of methods used to measure productivity in the construction industry. The advantages and disadvantages of average labour productivity and total factor productivity measures are discussed in detail, and the relationship between these two measures is established both theoretically and in an application at the industry level. The usefulness of any productivity measurement framework for policy-makers and industry practitioners alike depends crucially on the extent to which it enables the identification of the underlying drivers of productivity. This requirement necessitates an approach that involves formally describing the production process and explaining as much as possible of construction output in terms of the quantity and quality of inputs that are used to generate it. Whilst it is accepted that data requirements are a major constraint to such an approach, it is suggested that by establishing a robust measurement framework, data deficiencies can be defined more easily. Guidance on areas where improvements are needed is provided and it is considered that the focus of future research should be in creating new and improving existing datasets.
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The paper traces how the meaning of `skill’ has broadened considerably since the 1950s through an examination of the relevant policy literature. It stresses the central role of both the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) and Further Education Unit (FEU) in re-defining `skill’ in the late 1970s and 1980s. Core (or key) skills, which have come to dominate contemporary education and training debates, are seen as an extension of this agenda. Recent usage of the term, skill, is found to be more applicable to a vision of a low skill economy than that of a high skill one, presenting policy makers with range of difficult problems with regard to vocational education and training (VET) policy.
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While information technology (IT) is credited with the recent acceleration in productivity in the United States, many other industrial countries have not experienced a pickup in productivity growth. To explain this productivity divergence, we use panel data from 1992 to 1999 for 13 industrial countries and find that this divergence is driven in part by differences in both the production and adoption of information technologies. Based on this finding, we proceed to investigate what factors might play a role in explaining differences in IT adoption. Our results support the view that burdensome regulatory environments and, in particular, regulations affecting labour market practices have impeded the adoption of information technologies and have slowed productivity growth in a number of industrial countries.
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According to unpublished data compiled by BLS, productivity in the construction industry reached a peak in 1968 and, except for a brief and small upturn between 1974 and 1976, has been falling ever since. This paper examines the sources of this productivity decline between 1968 and 1978 by estimating a production function to assign weights to various factors responsible for productivity change and deriving a new price deflator for construction which does not rely on labor or material cost indexes, thus eliminating a systematic bias toward overstating the rate of growth of prices.The production function analysis indicates that productivity should have declined by 8.8 percent between 1968 and 1978,representing 41 percent of the observed decline. The biggest factor in this decline was the reduction in skilled labor intensity resulting from a shift in the mix of output from largescale commercial, industrial, and institutional projects to single-family houses. Other important factors include declines in the average number of employees per establishment, capital-labor ratio, percent union, and the average age of workers. The difference between the official deflator and the new deflator proposed here accounts for an additional 51 percent of the reported productivity decline, leaving only 8 percent of the decline unexplained.
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Discrepancies exist between aggregate and activity productivity measurements in the US construction industry. Multiple studies using aggregate industry measures suggest that construction productivity has declined over the long term. A longstanding problem with the aggregate measures concerns the difficulty of controlling for inflation so as to accurately measure real output. As an alternative, average activity productivity, measured by individual work activities, indicates that construction productivity has increased over the same time period. Activity measurement data have been collected for 200 construction activities over a 22-year time period from commercial estimation manuals used by contractors and owners to estimate the cost and time requirements for construction. This paper examines the discrepancies between aggregate and activity measurements and suggests possible reasons for their existence.
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Surveys of the top 400 US contractors were conducted in 1979, 1983 and 1993 to identify the areas with potential for productivity improvement in the construction industry. The trends in the findings of these surveys are observed and interpreted. The results indicate that cost control, scheduling, design practices, labour training, and quality control are the functions that consistently over the years are perceived as having considerable room for productivity improvement, whereas materials packaging and foreign developments in construction technologies are perceived consistently as functions that do not have much effect on improving construction productivity. The functions that were identified as needing more improvement in 1993 compared with the previous surveys were prefabrication, new materials, value engineering, specifications, labour availability, labour training, and quality control, whereas those that were identified as needing less improvement than in the previous surveys were field inspection and labour contract agreements. Also, respondents indicated consistently over the years that they are willing to participate in activities related to improving construction productivity but are not interested in funding any such activities.
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Recent investigations concerning the productivity of the UK construction industry and its performance compared with other European and world-wide nations have reported conflicting findings. These investigations have utilized various methodologies in attempting to measure and compare productivity levels. The present investigation uses a customized method to gauge the productivity at site level of three European national construction industries, namely Germany, France and the UK. Analysis of variance is employed to compare the productivity rates used by contractors' planning engineers for a specific concreting operation. The performance of UK contractors is found to be more disparate than those of contractors in either France or Germany. Although leading UK contractors can compete with the best on the continent, there are a number of companies whose performance is far worse than any in France and Germany, due mainly to the construction methods used by UK contractors. It is concluded therefore, that a best practice recommenda9 tion for UK contractors would be for them to avoid using traditional timber formwork methods to beams, and instead adopt more productive approaches afforded using either proprietary or prefabricated systems.
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