Article

Is Construction Labor Productivity Really Declining?

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Abstract

Macroeconomics data suggest that labor productivity declined significantly in the construction industry during the 1979-1998 period. However, microeconomic studies indicate the contrary. This paper critically examines the construction labor productivity macroeconomic data in the United States from 1979 to 1998 to determine their validity and reliability. Data collection, distribution, manipulation, analysis, and interpretation are reviewed and problems are identified. The paper also presents a comparison of construction and manufacturing labor productivity during this period. The main conclusion of the study is that the raw data used to calculate construction productivity values at the macroeconomic level and their further manipulation and interpretation present so many problems that the results should be deemed unreliable. The uncertainty generated in the process of computing these values is such that it cannot be determined if labor productivity has actually increased, decreased, or remained constant in the construction industry for the 1979-1998 period.

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... The study concluded that labor productivity declined during the 1970s, but increased between the 1980s and 1990s due to depressed real wages and technological advancements (Allmon et al. 2000). Rojas and Aramvareekul (2003) also examined the trend of the macroeconomic labor productivity in the United States from 1979 to 1998. Eq. (1) was used in the study ...
... The study uncovered reliability and validity issues involving the raw data from BLS and BEA, including deficiencies in data collection, data processing, and interpretation of results. The identified issues subsequently led to a conclusion that the trend of labor productivity for the period could not be determined (Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003). Table 1 presents a summary of key literature aimed at investigating labor productivity trends at the industrywide level. ...
... The factors investigated in the study include weather, skillfulness, project management efficiency, work hour rules, lack of materials, and so forth. Allen (1985) BLS 1968-1978 Labor productivity for the study period declined Allmon et al. (2000) Means cost data Labor productivity declined during the 1970s, but increased between the 1980s and 1990s Rojas and Aramvareekul (2003) BLS and BEA 1979and BEA -1998 Labor productivity trends of the study period could not be determined Sveikauskas et al. (2014) BLS 1987 No sign of any sustained decline in labor productivity was found Vereen et al. (2016) Means cost data 1990-2011 Labor productivity declines due to the economic recession ended in 2009 ...
Article
In spite of the strong influence of the construction industry on the national health of the United States' economy, very little research has specifically aimed at evaluating the key performance parameters and trends (KPPT) of the industry. Due to this knowledge gap, concerns have been constantly raised over lack of accurate measures of KPPT. To circumvent these challenges, this study investigates and models the macroeconomic KPPT of the industry through spatiotemporal clustering modeling. This study specifically aims to analyze the industry in 14 of its subsectors and subsequently, by 51 geographic spatial areas at a 15-year temporal scale. KPPT and their interdependence were firstly examined by utilizing the interpolated comprehensive U.S. economic census data. A hierarchical spatiotemporal clustering analysis was then performed to create predictive models that can reliably determine firm's profitability as a function of the key parameters. Lastly, the robustness of the predictive models was tested by a cross-validation technique called the predicted error sum of square. This study yields a notable conclusion that three key performance parameters—labor productivity, gross margin, and labor wages—have steadily improved over the study period from 1992 to 2007. This study also reveals that labor productivity is the most critical factor; the states and subsectors with the highest productivity are the most profitable. This study should be of value to decision-makers when plotting a roadmap for future growth and rendering a strategic business decisions.
... Moreover, worker productivity in construction is an issue of concern. Previous studies indicate that worker productivity in construction has been flat, if not declining, especially when compared with other industries(Allmon et al. 2000;Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003). The low level of productivity may be attributed to the lack of social sustainability in the built environment.Furthermore, construction is identified as an industry that struggles to attract and retain skilled and new workers. ...
... Lack of education attainment affects productivity in the industry adversely. This could be one reason why the level of productivity in construction is relatively lower than in other industries(Allmon et al. 2000;Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003) such as manufacturing (seeFigure 4.1). The aforementioned conditionsalong with other factors such as long working hourscan put the construction workforce at high risk of injury and illness. ...
Thesis
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Minimal research has focused on the social dimension of sustainability in the built environment especially as it relates to the construction workforce. As a result, there are few to no tools available to industry stakeholders to holistically assess and improve the social sustainability of the construction workforce. Given the high employee turnover rates and shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry, there is a paramount need to develop reliable and practical tools to assess and improve the social sustainability of the construction workforce. Being able to frequently assess and improve social sustainability at the workforce level will assist construction organizations, and ultimately the entire construction industry, develop, attract, and retain skilled workers. The overreaching goal of this research is to enable assessing and improving social sustainability in construction at the workforce level. To achieve the research goal, the attributes, indicators, and metrics influencing the social sustainability of the construction workforce were identified, categorized, and quantified. By integrating the identified attributes, indicators, and metrics into an evaluation procedure, a practical tool to assess and improve social sustainability of the construction workforce was developed. The developed tool is referred to as the workforce sustainability assessment tool (W-SAT). The present research contributes to the body of knowledge by fulfilling the industry need for an instrument to assess and improve the social attributes of the construction workforce.
... The construction sector is a labor and capital intensive industry. The high cost in the construction sector can be ascribed to many aspects, including the labor costs, material usage and equipment expense, whereas labor productivity is defined as the output generated per man-hour worked (Rojas and Aramvareekul, 2003) and affected by several factors, such as the skill level of workforce and availability of supervisors, etc (Abdul Kadir et al., 2005;Lim and Alum, 1995;Rojas and Aramvareekul, 2003). Many researchers have highlighted the low level of labor productivity in the construction industry and asserted that it lags behind other industries in terms of efficiency improvements (Bankvall et al., 2010). ...
... The construction sector is a labor and capital intensive industry. The high cost in the construction sector can be ascribed to many aspects, including the labor costs, material usage and equipment expense, whereas labor productivity is defined as the output generated per man-hour worked (Rojas and Aramvareekul, 2003) and affected by several factors, such as the skill level of workforce and availability of supervisors, etc (Abdul Kadir et al., 2005;Lim and Alum, 1995;Rojas and Aramvareekul, 2003). Many researchers have highlighted the low level of labor productivity in the construction industry and asserted that it lags behind other industries in terms of efficiency improvements (Bankvall et al., 2010). ...
Article
The purpose of this study is to perform a comparative study of economic cost, environmental impacts, and productivity associated with manufacturing a prefabricated bathroom unit (PBU, L: 1620 mm; W: 1500 mm; H: 2800 mm) via extrusion-based 3D concrete printing (3DCP) and a precast approach, respectively. The scope of this study includes material consumption, electricity expenditure, labor cost/ productivity, and installation cycle. The results reveal that a PBU fabricated by 3DCP achieves a reduction of 25.4% in overall cost, 85.9% in CO 2 emission, and 87.1% in energy consumption compared to the precast one. 3DCP also realizes a PBU with reduced self-weight (i.e., 26.2% lighter) and higher productivity (i.e., 48.1% improved) compared to the precast one. The above enhancements were found to be ascribed to the formwork-free fabrication in 3DCP. Finally, sensitivity analysis reveals the significance of formwork re-usage to the outcomes and demonstrates the potentials of 3DCP for small batches or customized manufacturing of PBUs.
... In previous studies of the labor-intensive construction industry, partial factor productivity through construction labor productivity was used more often to measure industry efficiency than total factor productivity (Rojas & Aramvareekul, 2003;Jarkas, 2010b;Robles et al., 2014). Construction labor productivity is generally used for measurement of industries' efficiency via relation analysis between the labor (input factor) and building components (output factor) (Vereen et al., 2016). ...
... Previous studies of construction labor productivity have analyzed specific construction types and work (Jarkas, 2010a;Han et al., Forsythe & Sepasgozar, 2018), as well as the factors that influence labor productivity (Enshassi et al., 2007;Alinaitwe et al., 2007;Shoar & Banaitis, 2019). Previous studies used the total work time as the input factor and gross production as the output factor for each country's construction industry (Allmon et al., 2000;Goodrum et al., 2002Goodrum et al., , 2009Rojas & Aramvareekul, 2003;Nasir et al., 2014). Labor productivity is difficult to compare internationally because each country uses data based on different criteria. ...
Article
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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
... Labour (man-hours, man-days or man-years) is frequently used as the denominator in this ratio ( Kamalova & Ukpere, 2016). Changes in productivity revealed by this ratio are often influenced by changes in machinery, equipment, plant, organization and raw materials, as well as by changes in the quantity and quality of labour ( Rojos, & Aramvareckul, 2003). Just as ILO (1959, cited in Eneh 2008), succinctly summit, (that) all such changes affect the final cost figures, thus, optimization in the productive system could cause the changes to become more positively inclined. ...
... Comparatively, advanced economies record higher optimal productivity as a result of honesty and integrity in the workplace in terms of man-hours and money spent ( Rojos, & Aramvareckul, 2003). Moreover, their legal structures are strong, with the rule of law highly respected. ...
... However, another study, which was mainly conducted based on data at the aggregate level, demonstrated that US construction productivity decreased over the same period (Teicholz et al., 2001). This controversial argument in relation to construction labor productivity trends was further explored by subsequent research that argued that one main difficulty with construction productivity research is the measurement of construction output, which does not exclude the inflation effects on the aggregate data (Goodrum and Haas, 2002;Rojas and Aramvareekul, 2003). Nevertheless, the majority of previous studies looked into national industry construction productivity as an aggregate, while the regional similarities or distinctions in the construction industry across the country have been ignored. ...
Article
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Purpose – Understanding and simulating construction activities is a vital issue from a macro-perspective, since construction is an important contributor in economic development. Although the construction labor productivity frontier has attracted much research effort, the temporal and regional characteristics have not yet been explored. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the long-run equilibrium and dynamics within construction development under a conditional frontier context. Design/methodology/approach – Analogous to the simplified production function, this research adopts the conditional frontier theory to investigate the convergence of construction labor productivity across regions and over time. Error correction models are implemented to identify the long-run equilibrium and dynamics of construction labor productivity against three types of convergence hypotheses, while a panel regression method is used to capture the regional heterogeneity. The developed models are applied to investigate and simulate the construction labor productivity in the Australian states and territories. Findings – The results suggest that construction labor productivity in Australia should converge to stable frontiers in a long-run perspective. The dynamics of the productivity are mainly caused by the technology utilization efficiency levels of the local construction industry, while the influences of changes in technology level and capital depending appear limited. Five regional clusters of the Australian construction labor productivity are suggested by the simulation results, including New South Wales; Australian Capital Territory; Northern Territory, Queensland, and Western Australia; South Australia; and Tasmania and Victoria. Originality/value – Three types of frontier of construction labor productivity is proposed. An econometric approach is developed to identify the convergence frontier of construction labor productivity across regions over time. The specified model can provides accurate predictions of the construction labor productivity.
... In the construction industry, where 33% to 50% of total project budget is allocated to the labor cost (Hanna et al. 2001), labor productivity has received increased attention due to its link to the success of a construction project (Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003). To evaluate and improve workers' performance, field data collection on workers' activities has been recognized as the first step of productivity analysis (Han et al. 2013). ...
Conference Paper
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Given that labor is one of the most important resources in a construction project, collecting field data on workers’ activities (i.e., work sampling) is critical to understanding and managing workers’ performance for a productivity analysis. Unlike manual observation used for work sampling, automated action recognition and analysis using sensors, such as motion and image sensors, enable continuous worker monitoring and corresponding task assessment. Among diverse sensors, an accelerometer has great potential for automated action recognition due to its data richness and mobility. In this paper, we propose wrist-worn accelerometer-based action recognition with selected features and classifiers and apply it to masonry work to demonstrate its feasibility. The novelty of this approach is the use of a single affordable wrist-worn sensor, which would not interfere with workers’ ongoing work. The result shows that Multilayer Perceptron classifier can achieve about 97% of accuracy in posture classification in masonry work. The proposed approach has an immense potential to be used for non-intrusive action recognition for construction workers, which can open a door for diverse productivity analyses.
... Estimating labor productivity in construction has always been difficult due to the nature of the work, the privacy of the workers, and the inherent difficulty involved in gathering data. Even defining productivity presents a challenge: productivity can be the ratio of total product output to total labor input (Hanna et al. 2005), the ratio of output to input (Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003), or the ratio of input to output (Dozzi and AbouRizk 1993;Park 2006). Without a consensus on which ratio (output:input or input:output) defines productivity, the term lacks a standard definition (Thomas and Mathews 1985;Haskell 2012), which further complicates the process of studying and measuring productivity. ...
Article
Optimal productivity is the highest sustainable productivity level achievable under good management and typical working conditions. Accordingly, optimal productivity provides the foundation for determining the absolute efficiency of construction operations because an accurate estimate of optimal productivity enables the comparison between actual versus optimal rather than actual versus historical productivity. This research contributes to the current body of knowledge by introducing a two-prong strategy for estimating optimal productivity in labor-intensive construction operations and by applying this strategy to a pilot study on the replacement of electrical lighting fixtures. The first prong, or top-down approach, estimates the upper limit of optimal productivity by introducing system inefficiencies into the productivity frontier - the productivity achieved under perfect conditions. This study uses a qualitative factor model to identify this upper limit. The second prong, or bottom-up approach, estimates the lower limit of optimal productivity by taking away operational inefficiencies from actual productivity - productivity recorded in the field. A discrete-event simulation model provides this lower-limit value. An average of the upper and lower limits yields the best estimate of optimal productivity. This paper reviews relevant literature, presents the details of both the top-down and bottom-up approaches, analyzes the data from a pilot project, evaluates the feasibility of this two-prong strategy, and finally provides a novel framework for project managers who want to accurately estimate the optimal productivity of their labor-intensive construction operations.
... Several studies have argued that among all industries, construction has seen a significant productivity decrease over the last several decades compared to other industries [1]. Construction has also been documented to have some of the highest rates of workspace injuries and fatalities [2]. ...
... In recent years, many observers [such as Rojas and Aramvareekul (2003) or Building Futures Council (2006)] have emphasized the need for improved measures of productivity growth in construction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also published new measures of output prices, within the Producer Price Index (PPI) program, which eliminated one of the main obstacles to more reliable estimates of productivity growth. ...
Article
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Measuring productivity growth in construction has been a classic challenge, largely because reliable output deflators are scarce. This paper reports first results from a Bureau of Labor Statistics research group convened to measure construction productivity better. Results show that labor productivity growth has been positive, and fairly substantial, in all four industries where reliable deflators now exist. Shifts of labor between construction industries reduce productivity growth by 0.4% a year. Regulation is a significant negative effect on productivity, but reduces productivity growth by only 0.1% a year. Undocumented immigrants are important in construction, and often work off the books, but reasonable allowance for their increased presence reduces productivity growth by only 0.1% a year. The influences examined are not sufficient to explain why productivity growth is so much lower in construction than elsewhere. Later work will measure productivity growth in a broader range of industries, including some industries representing contractors. However, this further work requires access to restricted Census microdata, and so will take several years more to complete.
... The hazardous nature of construction work limits interest in employment in the industry. The relatively low level of productivity in construction compared with other industries (e.g., manufacturing) reported in literature (Allmon et al. 2000;Rojas and Aramvareekul, 2003) is another example of the extreme workplace conditions in construction. Figure 1 illustrates the discrepancy between worker productivity in construction relative to other US industries. ...
Technical Report
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Relative to other sectors, the construction workforce has experienced high turnover rates and poor safety performance over the last few decades. The industry has also struggled to retain existing workers and recruit new ones to construction careers. Using the Delphi method, the authors interviewed industry professionals and academics to identify the characteristics of a sustainable construction workforce, and to create an instrument construction employers could use to assess workforce sustainability.
... Research suggests that the construction industry has been lagging in productivity measurement and improvements [3]. While macroeconomic viewpoints point to an increase in construction productivity over the past few decades [4], microeconomic perspectives argue the opposite, suggesting negative productivity trends over the past halfcentury [5][6][7]. ...
Article
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Building Information Modeling (BIM) techniques have enabled the construction industry to realize various benefits. However, most projects still rely on 2D drawings to communicate the 3D BIM content to construction personnel. While Mixed Reality (MR) could theoretically be the primary means of communicating BIM content to onsite personnel in 3D, there is not currently a thorough understanding of how this might impact the construction performance of industry practitioners. This paper explores this topic by examining the field of electrical construction. It addresses research questions related to: MR's influence on the productivity and quality of electrical conduit construction; and the effects of an industry practitioner's background on his or her performance using MR. To address these topics, a quasi-experiment was conducted that compares the performance of eighteen electrical construction personnel who were tasked with building similar conduit assemblies using traditional paper and MR. Participants completed pre- and post-activity questionnaires to provide their perceptions of the experience. The results suggest that MR enabled: a significantly higher productivity rate; reduced the time required to understand the design; led to fewer errors during the assembly process; and increased the number of accurately constructed conduits as compared to the conduits constructed using traditional paper. Additionally, nearly all participants agreed that MR is easy to use, but most still felt that they would prefer to use paper plans for design communication. The findings of this work were noteworthy because many of the participants had substantial prior experience constructing conduit using paper plans, yet they still performed the task better and faster using MR. While the small sample size limits the extent to which these findings can be generalized, the contribution of this work is in demonstrating, as a proof-of-concept, that MR can be a viable option for communicating existing BIM content to current industry practitioners and that it can offer advantages that are not currently observed through the use of a paper-based communication methods.
... According to OECD (2001), LP is only a partial reflection of the personal capacities of workers, but it reflects the efficiency with which labour is combined with other factors of production. However, productivity comparisons have a long history of questionable validity and reliability, both from practitioners and the academic community (Teicholz et al. 2001;Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003). In the context of construction LP, statistical discrepancies may depend upon the method of measurement, classification system, input data and output data. ...
Article
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Construction is one of the largest sectors that drive the global economy, yet it has failed to receive the necessary attention from the policymakers and investors. The existing construction statistics report the declining state of labour productivity. However, existing statistics often fail to reflect the true scope and economic impact of construction. They mainly account for on-site construction activities, but overlook the manufacturing of construction products and services in construction labour productivity statistics. The aim of this research is to investigate macro-economic labour productivity and identify the methodological problems inhibiting the effective measurement of construction labour productivity. The paper opted for academic literature review and a case study strategy for data collection. The findings reveal that many productive construction activities related to construction products and services are excluded from the construction labour productivity statistics. The results suggest that Norwegian construction labour productivity is not declining and is actually a productive industry in terms of value added per working hour. Although special reference has been made to the Norwegian construction industry, the same approach holds validity at the international arena of construction statistics. The study offers insights and lessons to construction industries of other countries facing similar productivity related issues.
... Calculating productivity values for an industry requires three variables: the industry's output, the industry's employment data, and the average number of hours worked, so mathematically the productivity is calculated as [32]: ...
... Estimating labor productivity in construction has always been difficult due to the nature of the work, the privacy of the workers, and the inherent difficulty involved in gathering data. Even defining productivity presents a challenge: productivity can be the ratio of total product output to total labor input (Hanna et al. 2005), the ratio of output to input (Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003), or the ratio of input to output (Dozzi and AbouRizk 1993;Park 2006). Without a consensus on which ratio (output:input or input:output) defines productivity, the term lacks a standard definition (Thomas and Mathews 1985;Haskell 2012), which further complicates the process of studying and measuring productivity. ...
Article
Full-text available
The traditional practice of comparing actual productivity versus historical productivity only provides relative efficiency data rather than absolute efficiency data. Innovatively, a two-prong strategy for estimating optimal labor productivity by quantifying systematic and operational inefficiencies allows project managers to estimate the absolute efficiency of their labor-intensive operations and compare actual productivity against an objective benchmark. Although this two-prong strategy was previously validated for a simple task with a single worker performing sequential actions, no study has confirmed the feasibility of applying this approach to complex operations involving multiple workers or sequential and/or parallel tasks and actions. Because adding more workers increases not only the complexity of the construction operation but also the complexity of calculating optimal productivity, this study expands the current body of knowledge by augmenting the two-prong strategy's methodology to apply the approach to a complex, multiworker operation necessitating both sequential and parallel tasks and actions. The feasibility of the expanded methodology is tested using a case study involving the fabrication of sheet metal ducts that includes 8 workers performing 8 tasks and 45 actions. This paper reviews relevant literature; tests the feasibility of the two-prong strategy on a complex, labor-intensive operation; analyzes the data; evaluates the strategy; and confirms the framework as a tool for accurately estimating optimal productivity in complex construction activities. The success of this framework better enables project managers to measure and manage the productivity of their labor-intensive construction operations.
... Schedule performance of a construction project is dependent upon proper utilization of certain inputs such as labor, materials, equipment, tools, capital, designs (Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003). On the other hand, time, cost and quality are the three important outputs that determine the success or failure of a construction project (Hoffman et al. 2007). ...
Article
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Traditionally, critical path method (CPM) is widely used with manual resource assignment for planning and scheduling of the construction projects. This is predominant in the construction industry of Bangladesh. Therefore, the industry often faces challenges to complete construction projects in minimum possible time with optimum use of resources. Although, concurrency-based scheduling is an efficient tool to reduce construction completion time, manual formulation of plans for construction operations using the technique is cumbersome (because of complex nature of real-life construction operations, for instance a real-life construction work involves complex interaction between activities, limited number of resources and resource-sharing among activities, etc.) With this viewpoint, the present study aims to introduce computer-aided simulation modelling-based approach to reduce the completion time of a resource-constrained construction operation utilizing the features of concurrency-based scheduling. The study also proposes a method to optimize the resource use of construction operation. A real-life construction work has been considered as the case construction operation for this study. Results indicate that the simulation model developed for the case project can efficiently generate work-flow plans with reduced construction durations compared to the work-flow plan of the actual schedule. The model can also help to optimize the use of resources. Furthermore, the model developed for the case project can easily be reshaped, expanded and applied to other construction operations.
... Thus, managing the well-being of employees under a proficient leadership style and controlling work exercises from design to construction are fundamental in accomplishing high productivity and performance (Ailabouni, Gidado, & Painting, 2007). According to Rojas and Aramvareekul (2003), the two identified areas that have the best potential to influence the performance of employees are the workforce and management skills. Leadership and managerial styles can be viewed as the main factors that influence the construction industry. ...
Article
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For any organization to accomplish its key goals and survive in the aggressive market, employees’ job performance plays a fundamental role (Falola, Osibanjo, & Ojo, 2014). The type of leadership style affects the level of employees’ commitment. Besides, employee commitment is extremely important for leaders to keep their workers driven and satisfied (Riaz et al., 2017). This study intends to examine the significance of employee commitment as a mediator in the relationship between transactional leadership style and employee performance among Malaysian construction sector employees. Using the simple random sampling technique, this target population completed a self-administered questionnaire which was assessed using structural equation modelling (SEM) through IBM-SPSS-AMOS 24.0. Resultantly, transactional leadership style proved insignificant in forecasting employee performance while employee commitment substantially affected employee performance. Meanwhile, transactional leadership significantly impacted employee commitment while employee commitment fully mediated the relationship between transactional leadership and employee performance. The research’s implications are furthermore reviewed.
... Some studies suggest that productivity may be a qualified indicator of the construction industry. However, according to Harrison 12 and Rojas and Aramvareekul, 13 productivity is an inaccurate indicator of the construction industry since errors exist in the measurements and calculations. Also, Sui 14 used quality to measure the construction industry; however, quality is a qualitative indicator that needs other quantified factors to measure it. ...
Article
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Construction cost index has been widely used to prepare cost estimates, budgets, and bids for construction projects. It can also be regarded as an indicator of cost level, which makes it valuable to public authorities for understanding the conditions in the construction industry. Accurate forecasting of future construction cost index is essential for construction industry at both micro- and macro-level. To improve the accuracy of the cost forecasting, time series modeling techniques are adopted in this study. The performance of the exponential smoothing models and seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models for forecasting the building cost of five categories of residential building (one-story house, two-story house, town house, apartment, and retirement village building) in New Zealand is compared. Exponential smoothing models can produce more accurate forecasts for cost series of the one-story house and two-story house in New Zealand, while seasonal ARIMA models outperform exponential smoothing models across the cost series for town house, apartment, and retirement village building. This study contributes toward the development of the current state of knowledge in the area of cost index forecasting for New Zealand and provides insights that should be valuable from the practitioner perspectives.
... Several studies have argued that among all industries, construction has seen a significant productivity decrease over the last several decades compared to other industries (Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003). Construction has also been documented to have some of the highest rates of workspace injuries and fatalities (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013). ...
Article
The construction industry faces challenges that include high workplace injuries and fatalities, stagnant productivity, and skill shortage. Automation and Robotics in Construction (ARC) has been proposed in the literature as a potential solution that makes machinery easier to collaborate with, facilitates better decision-making, or enables autonomous behavior. However, there are two primary technical challenges in ARC: 1) unstructured and featureless environments; and 2) differences between the as-designed and the as-built. It is therefore impossible to directly replicate conventional automation methods adopted in industries such as manufacturing on construction sites. In particular, two fundamental problems, pose estimation and scene understanding, must be addressed to realize the full potential of ARC. This dissertation proposes a pose estimation and scene understanding framework that addresses the identified research gaps by exploiting cameras, markers, and planar structures to mitigate the identified technical challenges. A fast plane extraction algorithm is developed for efficient modeling and understanding of built environments. A marker registration algorithm is designed for robust, accurate, cost-efficient, and rapidly reconfigurable pose estimation in unstructured and featureless environments. Camera marker networks are then established for unified and systematic design, estimation, and uncertainty analysis in larger scale applications. The proposed algorithms' efficiency has been validated through comprehensive experiments. Specifically, the speed, accuracy and robustness of the fast plane extraction and the marker registration have been demonstrated to be superior to existing state-of-the-art algorithms. These algorithms have also been implemented in two groups of ARC applications to demonstrate the proposed framework's effectiveness, wherein the applications themselves have significant social and economic value. The first group is related to in-situ robotic machinery, including an autonomous manipulator for assembling digital architecture designs on construction sites to help improve productivity and quality; and an intelligent guidance and monitoring system for articulated machinery such as excavators to help improve safety. The second group emphasizes human-machine interaction to make ARC more effective, including a mobile Building Information Modeling and way-finding platform with discrete location recognition to increase indoor facility management efficiency; and a 3D scanning and modeling solution for rapid and cost-efficient dimension checking and concise as-built modeling.
... Many articles have described, in general terms, the variation in labor productivity and the evidence of complex variability in construction labor productivity (Radosavljević and Horner, 2002), the decline in construction labor productivity (Rojas and Aramvareekul, 2003), trends in construction lost productivity claims (Klanac and Nelson, 2004), benchmarking of construction productivity (Park et al., 2005) and explaining labor productivity differentials (DiGiacinto and Nuzzo, 2006). However, few articles discussed quantitative issues relating the loss of productivity. ...
... Ministry of Infrastructure of Development in United Arab Emirates always strive to utilize the latest technology to enhance its service related to roads and infrastructure. Many scholars reviewed the use of technology to enhance construction modes and experience, construction has seen a significant increase in its productivity since using automation to analyze best practices [1]. The application of virtual reality in construction was described by Sampaio and Matins [2] to provide better understanding of how roads construction are being belt such as bridges with considering related to safety and level of service. ...
... Furthermore, education attainment in the construction industry is lower than that in all other US industries except for agriculture (CPWR 2018). A lack of education attainment affects productivity in the industry adversely, which could be one reason why the level of productivity in construction is relatively lower than in other industries such as manufacturing (Allmon et al. 2000;Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003). The aforementioned conditions-along with other factors such as long working hours-can put the construction workforce at high risk of injury and illness. ...
Article
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The work environment in construction is physically and mentally demanding. This demanding environment can place adverse risk on the construction workforce including emotional, physical, and financial challenges. To minimize such challenges, continued development and cultivation of the construction workforce is required. Continued development and cultivation can sustain the workforce and lead to both personal and business growth. The process of developing and cultivating the workforce enhances construction workforce sustainability, a measure of the social sustainability of the construction workforce. The aim of the present study is to develop a practical tool for assessing workforce sustainability in construction. A mixed-methods research approach that relied on a review of literature, semistructured interviews, and a multiround expert survey was utilized to achieve the aim of the study. The developed workforce sustainability tool includes three levels of components (attributes, indicators, and metrics) organized in a hierarchy to characterize a workforce. The use of the assessment tool yields a final aggregated score that reveals the level of sustainability of a workforce. The present study contributes to the body of knowledge by providing a means to assess and ultimately improve workforce sustainability in construction. Widespread use of the tool is expected to help the construction industry develop and nurture its workers to produce a healthy, productive, and resilient workforce.
... A wealth of literature focuses on pricing and acquisition measures. But performance assessment appears to concentrate on financial aspects of projects within an industry that by some sources experiences a steady decline in productivity [4,5]. In light of this, schedule performance is of primary importance, because construction is such a labor-intensive industry [6] and it typically encompasses more than half of the entire cost; even more for individual labor-intensive trades. ...
Article
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A fundamental precept of management is that projects must be measured to be controllable. But existing approaches to capture project performance suffer from various problems – being proprietary, measuring time performance in dollar terms, reaching zero (work left) or one (work done) upon completion, and erasing any notion of progression. Therefore the concept for a unified, generalizable, and scalable performance metric is presented. It can function at levels from individual activities to entire industry sectors. Its inspiration is gleaned from modern portfolio theory, which has long been tracking and successfully comparing highly different companies. An analogy-based methodology will adapt and adopt the financial index beta and related concepts and test their functioning on a hypothetical schedule with known progress deviations. Such indicator has the potential to become a vital tool to measure and identify production efficiency, competitiveness, and ultimately the propensity to complete work on time.
... Construction productivity is widely measured in the form of unit rate which is the number of actual work hours required to perform the appropriate units of work (OECD, 2001;Jang et al., 2011). However, units of measurement change with the construction activity depending upon the types of input and output (Rojas and Aramvareekul, 2003;Kaming et al., 1998;Makulsawatudom et al., 2004;Kadir et al., 2005;Lim and Alum, 1995;Hughes and Thorpe, 2014;Hasan et al., 2018;Teicholz et al., 2001). In the context of BIM ROI, productivity improvement is often measured in percentage. ...
Article
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Purpose-The purpose of this study is to identify and analyse the key measurable returning factors, value drivers and strategic benefits associated with building information modelling (BIM) return on investment (ROI). The findings of this study provide researchers and practitioners with up-to-date information in formulating appropriate strategies to quantify the monetary value of BIM. The suggested research agenda provided would also advance what is presently a limited body of knowledge relating to the evaluation of BIM ROI. Design/methodology/approach-To fill the identified gap, this study develops a comprehensive systematic review of mainstream studies on factors affecting BIM ROI published from 2000 to 2020. A total of 23 academic records from different sources such as journals, conference proceedings, dissertation and PhD theses were identified and thoroughly reviewed. Findings-The reported BIM ROI ranged greatly from À83.3% to 39,900%. A total of 5 returning factors, namely, schedule reduction and compliance, productivity improvement, request for information reduction, rework reduction and change orders reduction were identified as the most commonly reported factors that influence BIM ROI. Four quantification techniques including general assumptions-based theoretical model, perceived BIM ROI based on survey, factors affecting BIM ROI with no reported ROI and quantified BIM ROI based on a case study were observed and pointed out in the review, together with their limitations. Finally, three major gaps were raised as the lack of consideration on the likelihood of BIM assisting in a construction project, intangible returning factors influencing BIM-based projects and industry standards in benchmarking BIM ROI. Practical implications-The outcomes of this study would assist practitioners by providing the current evaluation techniques that address the limitations with BIM investment and present issues relating to the economic evaluation of BIM in the construction industry. It is also expected that presenting a deeper and wider perspective of the research work performed until now will direct a more focussed approach on productivity improvement efforts in the construction industry. Originality/value-This study identifies and analyses the key measurable returning factors, value drivers and strategic benefits associated with BIM ROI on an industry scale rather than a particular organisation or a project scale.
... With the rapid development of society, urbanisation and industrialisation processes have advanced. However, problems in the construction industry, such as labour shortages, resource depletion and safety, still exist, severely restricting the development of the construction industry [1][2][3]. The 3D-printing (3DP) technique is a new approach for researchers and engineers in the construction industry. Based on the sampling principle of a 2D printer, a 3D design model is established by stacking the printed plane layer by layer. ...
Article
In this study, a novel 3D-printing ultra-high performance fibre-reinforced concrete (3DP-UHPFRC) was developed. The effect of fibre content, fibre type and printing direction on the mechanical properties of 3DP-UHPFRC was evaluated through compressive, flexural, splitting tensile and uniaxial tensile tests, and the anisotropic properties of 3DP-UHPFRC were investigated. The experiment results indicated that 3DP-UHPFRC prepared with 1 vol.% 6 mm steel fibre was more suitable for construction than 3DP-UHPFRC prepared with 1 vol.% 10 mm steel fibre under the printing conditions in this test. The maximum flexural strength of 3DP-UHPFRC with 1 vol.% 6 mm steel fibre reached 45.21 MPa in the Z-direction (printing direction), which was substantially higher than those obtained in previous studies. The flexural and splitting tensile failures of 3DP-UHPFRC could be either ductile or brittle in different directions; thus, the printing mode could be flexibly adjusted according to different engineering requirements. The latest test results indicated that the compressive elastic modulus was anisotropic, but there was little difference in the tensile elastic modulus in each direction.
... 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. ...
Article
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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
... Construction productivity is, typically, not only below that of the manufacturing sector, but is also below the national average in most countries. The US (Rojas and Aramvareekul, 2003), Canada (Harrison, 2007), Europe and Japan (Abdel-Wahab and Vogl, 2011), New Zealand (Jaffe et al., 2016) all have construction sectors with below average national productivity. ...
... Over time, it was argued, housing production has become relatively less efficient and more costly because the prices of factors of production are decided by other most productive sectors. Other studies for the US, Canada, Europe and Japan, New Zealand all report relatively low productivity in the construction sector 48 . Similar studies conclude that Australian construction industry productivity has grown slowly and remained relatively stagnant between 1985 and 2010 49 . ...
Technical Report
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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.
... Denison's factors are related to the variables of economic level, resource transformation level, and knowledge improvement [18]. Rojas and Aramvareekul have measured and compared the CLP of the US construction industry from 1979 to 1998 [19]. In recent years, CLP in construction sector has attracted more attention than before. ...
Article
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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.
... Labor productivity (LH required per unit of work) provides the best indicator of the production efficiency and represents the key factor for estimating labor cost in construction (Dozzi and AbouRizk 1993;Rojas and Aramvareekul 2003). In fabricating and installing made-to-order components in industrial construction, every activity in a project has its unique parameters for describing work complexity and defining work content. ...
Article
Industrial construction employs various trades in large-scale prefabrication operations to produce modules and structural components at an offsite facility that will be shipped to the field for rapid installation. Developing an analytical methodology for characterizing the effect of variability in productivity on labor cost budgeting is vital to this particular construction type. Integrating current practices of estimating, scheduling, and budgeting in industrial construction, this paper describes an error propagation model for calculating the standard deviation of the cumulative labor hours at particular time points of the project duration and establishing a confidence interval around the average value. Analogous to plotting an S-curve, the lower bound and upper bound of the interval for cumulative labor hours budgeted at control points along the project duration can be articulated to form the S-stripe, which visually portrays the risk of labor cost budget due to risks inherent in labor productivity. The application and verification of the proposed analytical methodology are illustrated with a steel fabrication project case. Monte Carlo simulation is applied to the same project data in the case study, resulting in a near-perfect correlation between the two sets of results. In the simulation experiment design, determining the minimum number of simulation runs that are deemed sufficient to obtain reliable sampling results entails trial and error, and the obtained result is case-specific. In contrast, the proposed analytical method circumvents this barrier by analytically deriving the project labor cost budget in the form of an S-stripe.
... The low level of efficiency is attributed to features such as cost, time-out, poor quality, customer dissatisfaction, and low profitability. Several researchers state that the productivity of the construction industry has declined over the last few decades compared to other economic sectors (Arditi, 1985;Rojas & Aramvareekul, 2003). ...
... Construction robots refer to robotic systems designed for construction operations, which typically take place in dynamic environments [1,2]. Construction automation and robotics have been generating much interest in the construction community for the last decades as a way to improve productivity and reduce injuries or fatalities [3,4]. Repetitive and labor-intense tasks, such as bricklaying, painting, loading, and bulldozing, are good candidates for automation, and the use of robots can assist in reducing labor force, and create safer work environments. ...
Conference Paper
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The use of robotic systems on construction sites can efficiently reduce construction time and increase safety by replacing construction workers in monotonous or dangerous operations. Robots for on-site construction applications are challenging and difficult to implement because of the evolving and unstructured nature of construction sites, the inherent complexity of construction tasks, the uniqueness of products, and labor-intensive modeling and commanding, which require significant human effort and expertise. With the development of data-driven techniques such as machine learning and computer vision, more advanced frameworks and algorithms can be developed to increase the level of adoption in the automation of construction robots. To better understand existing challenges and figure out the best strategies to implement high-level autonomous robotic systems for on-site construction, this study (1) summarizes technologies and algorithms used in construction robots and robotic applications in other industries, (2) discusses potential best usage and development of computer vision and machine learning techniques used in related areas to implement higher-level autonomous construction robotic systems, and (3) suggests a preliminary framework that integrates different technologies, such as vision-based data sensing to collect information, advanced algorithm to detect objects and reconstruct models of the built environment, and reinforcement learning to train robots to self-generate execution plans. This will allow construction robots to navigate and localize on construction sites, recognize and fetch materials, and assemble structures per a simulated plan. The proposed conceptual framework could help with the definition of future research areas utilizing complex robotic systems.
... Job openings refers to the total number of open job vacancies that need to be filled by a construction worker. Rojas and Aramvareekul (2003) considered construction employment to investigate whether construction labor productivity is declining and compared it with manufacturing labor productivity. Construction employment refers to the total number of construction workers in the construction industry. ...
Article
Construction productivity is the industry's predominant determinant of performance. Although the construction industry periodically provides large amount of data, existing studies have not fully exploited such data sets, especially relating to the overall productivity of the construction industry rather than labor productivity. This paper addresses this critical knowledge gap by statistically examining and modeling the causalities between different dynamic workforce and workplace variables and the productivity of the entire construction industry. Multivariate time-series data between 2006 and 2019 were collected for the productivity of the construction industry and 11 dynamic workforce and workplace variables: job openings, job hires, turnover or job separations, total compensation, gross job gains, gross job losses, average hourly earnings, fatalities, occupational injuries and illnesses, gross domestic product, and unemployment rate. Statistically significant relationships and causalities were examined between the response variable-productivity of the construction industry-and these 11 variables. A vector autoregression (VAR) framework was developed to model the temporal variations in the productivity of the construction industry. The developed VAR model was validated by predicting the construction productivity for the 2016-2019 period an acceptable mean average percentage error of 5.13%. Based on the findings, the paper concludes that (1) all considered dynamic workforce and workplace variables, except job openings, statistically cause fluctuations in the construction productivity; (2) the new concept of gross construction productivity is justified statistically and should be implemented in the construction industry; (3) the gross construction productivity is an additional valuable information that construction companies should consider to make different insightful and well-educated industry-related decisions; (4) the health of the construction industry needs to be studied based on the productivity of the industry as a whole rather than based on labor productivity alone; and (5) the construction industry should move toward the development of a notion of gross construction productivity indicator used to measure, evaluate, and predict the performance of the entire industry. Ultimately, this paper proposes a new indicator or index for gross construction productivity. The outcomes of this paper add to the body of knowledge by providing a better understanding of the impact of different dynamic workforce and workplace variables on the construction productivity and by offering a new concept called gross construction productivity.
Article
The development construction assumes a critical part in any developing nation. Now a days time, cost and productivity of project had become primary concern of all the construction projects so in order to tackle the time, work and resource productivity in the scheduling works. There is most likely that development is a key movement inside any economy; it impacts, and is affected by, the country's (GDP).The objective to investigation and find out the RII to identify rank of factor to influence multiple crew based productivity scheduling for construction projects on Chennai. To achieve this objective, 30 productivity scheduling factors of multiple crew which are grouped as seven groups: a)design and planning engineer crew, b).engineering crew, a) construction supervisor crew, d) labour crew, e) fabrication crew, f) safety crew, g)quality crew and this are done by the questionnaire survey and representative by the statistical approach. The factors which effects on multiple crew based productivity scheduling are investigated and top 10 are the most critical factors which are given as follows: (1) Shortage of labours, (2) Shifting methods, (3)Financial issues, (4)Workmanship, (5) Insufficient lighting, (6)Distribution of skill labour, (7) Skill of labour, (8) Weather conditions, (9) Preparing and assigning the resources, (10) Length of working day. Despite the fact that the results of this investigation in factors affecting on multiple crew in the construction companies in Chennai to fill a gap of knowledge used by construction industry members to construct up a more deeper and wider viewpoint of the issues affecting the productivity of crew, and give direction to engineers, managers, experience persons of multiple crew force for effective utilization, consequently help with accomplishing a realistic level of effectiveness and financially effective activity.
Purpose – Productivity is a worldwide problem and efforts have been made over the last three decades or so to explore ways to increase the rate of productivity on construction sites. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the state of the art in productivity research and to present the findings of a survey into the factors that can impair productivity on site. Design/methodology/approach – A literature review is structured under five general headings: pre-construction activities; activities during construction; managerial and leadership issues; motivational factors; and organizational factors. In total, 46 determinants were extracted from the above headings and were assessed by 36 main contractors. Findings – The literature review revealed that while there has been an advancement in developing techniques and tools to improving productivity on site, more need to be done to invest in technology and innovation. The interview survey indicated that factors associated with pre-construction activities, namely, the “experience of the selected site and project managers,” “design errors,” “buildability of the design,” “project planning,” “communication,” “ leadership style” and “procurement method” as the most critical factors influencing site productivity. Other highly ranked factors are “mismanagement of material” and “the work environment.” Research limitations/implications – The survey is based on main contractors and thus not generalized to cover other sectors of the building team such as designers and engineers. Practical implications – Outcome of this research can be used to provide professionals and contractors guidance for focussing, acting upon and controlling the most significant factors perceived to influence the construction labor productivity (CLP) on site. Originality/value – First, reviewed the state of the art and trends in construction productivity research. Second, primary survey with industry experts to rank the relative importance of factors that can influence CLP on site.
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.
Article
Proper management of human and non-human resources in construction and manufacturing projects can give-in considerable savings in time and cost. Construction and Manufacturing industry faces issues in connection with problems related with productivity and the problems are usually connected with performance of employees. The performance of employees is affected by many factors. In this paper a survey was made on respondents who are employed various projects of Saudi Arabia. The researcher developed a theoretical framework from the existing research which was used as a Model to collect and analyze the field data to test the hypothesis. In this research activity three predictors (commitment, job satisfaction and job performance) for determining the change in productivity. The results highlight that commitment and job performance (respectively) are the two predictors which are explaining 37% of variation in the productivity of the companies. The results also show that Job Satisfaction has no role in the prediction of productivity.
Purpose Due to its key role in the successful delivery of construction projects, construction productivity is one of the most researched topics in construction domain. While the majority of previous research is focused on the productivity of labor-intensive activities, there is a lack of research on the productivity of equipment-intensive activities. The purpose of this paper is to address this research gap by developing a comprehensive list of factors influencing the productivity of equipment-intensive activities and determining the most influential factors through interview surveys. Design/methodology/approach A list of 201 factors influencing the productivity of equipment-intensive activities was developed through the review of 287 articles, selected from the ten top-ranked construction journals, by searching for construction productivity in the articles’ titles, abstracts or keywords. Next, the most influential factors were determined by conducting interview surveys with 35 construction experts. To ensure that the interviewees were aware of the research objectives and the distinction between labor- and equipment-intensive activities, an information session was held prior to conducting the surveys, and the surveys were conducted in interview format to allow for clarification and discussion throughout the process. Findings Project management respondents identified foreman-, safety- and crew-related factors as the categories with the most influence on productivity; tradespeople respondents identified foreman-, equipment- and crew-related factors as the most influential categories. In total, 14 factors were identified, for which there was a significant difference between the perspectives of project management and tradespeople regarding the factors’ influence on productivity. Originality/value This paper provides a comprehensive list of factors influencing the productivity of equipment-intensive activities. It identifies the most influential factors through an interview survey of 35 construction experts, who are familiar with the challenges of equipment-intensive activities based on their experience with such activities in the industrial construction sector of Alberta, Canada. Additionally, the differences between the factors that influence the productivity of labor- and equipment-intensive activities are discussed by comparing the findings of this paper with previous research focused on labor intensive activities.
Conference Paper
Uncertainty is an increasingly a central topic in management theories, and notably in project management, thus it is essential to understand the different sources of uncertainty that may pose a challenge or threat to projects. Hence, the aim of this paper is reviewing the literature on the sources of uncertainty present in the projects. To do so, we conducted a comprehensive review of existing literature published over the last five decades in peer-reviewed academic journals. From the 190 articles identified from various journal outlets, our review identified various sources and grouped them into individual, relational, group, organizational, project-oriented, and managerial specificities. Furthermore, through this paper, we also open new avenues for future research.
Chapter
Idealization, “a very high level view,” is defined here as looking at the possibilities of integrating Green socially responsible requirements with Lean principles of construction practices with well-developed Unifying Models, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM, Lean, and Green (BLG) will allow a rapid prototyping of design and construction, the integration of drawings, specifications, and manufacturing in a Green best practice ambient that employs benchmarked Lean principles. This chapter explains our propositions on Green as a concept that gives direction on what to do right (effectiveness), on Lean that captures how to do it right (efficiently), and on BIM as an enabling platform that will facilitate the implementation of this effort. The integration of this concept addresses the quest for economically viable construction projects with the purpose of finding the best optimum performance. We consider the design as a theory, the project as an experiment, and the resulting products as a test that validates the theory. BLG allows for multiple executions of a theory to find the best option, and then test it against the final product. This chapter contributes to the body of knowledge but does not cover all aspects of the subject.
Article
Although video surveillance systems have shown potential for analyzing jobsite contexts, the necessity of a complex multi-camera surveillance system or workers' privacy issues remain as substantive hurdles to adopt such systems in practice. To address such issues, this study presents a non-intrusive earthmoving productivity analysis method using imaging and simulation. The site access log of dump trucks is used to infer earthmoving contexts, which is produced by analyzing videos recorded at the entrance and the exit of a construction site. An algorithm for license plate detection and recognition in an uncontrolled environment is developed to automatically produce the site access log, by leveraging video deinterlacing, a deep convolutional network, and rule-based post-processing. The experimental results show the effectiveness of the proposed method for producing the site access log. Based on the site access log, simulation-based productivity analysis is conducted to produce a daily productivity report, which can provide the basis for earthmoving resource planning. It is expected that the resulting daily productivity report promotes data-driven decision-making for earthmoving resource allocation, thereby improving potential for saving cost and time for earthworks with an updated resource allocation plan.
Article
Existing practice compares actual productivity with historical data to gauge construction operation efficiency. However, this practice is accurate only if historical data reflect optimal values - generally, such comparisons manifest only relative rather than absolute efficiency. Therefore, in order to determine absolute efficiency, one must compare actual versus optimal productivity. Optimal productivity is the highest sustainable productivity level achievable under "good management" and "typical field conditions." Perfect conditions, though unattainable in the field, conceptually yield the theoretical maximum level of productivity, known as the "productivity frontier." The productivity frontier is a construct that enables the estimation of the optimal productivity of construction operations. This research contributes to the body of knowledge by introducing a novel framework for estimating the labor productivity frontier and applying this framework to a pilot study that tests the feasibility of this framework against a single-worker, labor-intensive, sequential construction task. This paper first reviews relevant literature, then presents the theoretical underpinnings of the framework for estimating the productivity frontier in the construction domain, examines the data from the pilot study, and evaluates the feasibility of the proposed framework. By following two approaches - observed durations and statistically estimated durations - this study demonstrates the functionality of this framework by computing that the productivity frontier of the pilot study is 22.32 stations per hour.
Thesis
The construction industry is a relatively busy one due to rapid urbanization in Bangladesh. Productivity is the common measure of performance in the construction industry. The aim of any construction organization must be to attain higher productivity since it can translate directly into cost savings and ultimately into profits (Hancher and AbdElkhalek, 1998). Bangladesh is one of the most susceptible nations due to climate change in the world. Its relatively insufficient land space for the large population have put tremendous pressures on the ecosystem, as it is the ninth most populous and twelfth most densely populated country in the world. In order to catch up the increased rate of urbanisation, the capital, Dhaka, underwent stark and rapid transformations in a short span of years. An influx in the real estate, construction and housing industry in the country acted as a response to this change. Dhaka tops the list of the most polluted cities in the world in the reports presented by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Green buildings are necessary particularly environments like that of Dhaka. A number of architects, builders and clients emphasize that smart, sustainable buildings are becoming inevitable. Construction works account for almost half of the material and energy consumption, one-sixth of fresh water consumption and a quarter of all wood garnered in the world, according to assessments by experts in this field. In project management, the success rate is presumed by efficiency involved in project completion and quality (Serrador and Turner, 2015). Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has several infrastructural projects on-going as per Kazi Nasir, chief architect of Bangladesh. Project managers involved in these thrive to deploy green-construction, which is eco-conscious and environment friendly. While the drawings, safety, regulations and even weather conditions accomplished in desirable manner, there is undeniable gap in productivity. Projects are stalled due to incomplete planning and uncertain issues in management. Project delays, added expenses, sub-standard quality and even overall project failures can be directly linked to low productivity in projects (Nwagbogwu, 2011). This research will attempt to identify the gap and submit the findings.
Article
Full-text available
This article proposes a methodology to measure the productivity of a construction site through the analysis of tower crane data. These data were obtained from a data logger that records a time series of spatial and load data from the lifting machine during the structural phase of a construction project. The first step was data collection, followed by preparation, which consisted of formatting and cleaning the dataset. Then, a visualization step identified which data was the most meaningful for the practitioners. From that, the activity of the tower crane was measured by extracting effective lifting operations using the load signal essentially. Having used such a sampling technique allows statistical analysis on the duration, load, and curvilinear distance of every extracted lifting operation. The build statistical distribution and indicators were finally used to compare construction site productivity.
Chapter
Pull planning is an approach where the schedule is worked in reverse order. In pull planning, the final decisions are taken by the Project Manager. This decision making involves a chain of correspondence from Construction Manager to Project Engineer to Site Engineer and finally to the Foreman. Transfer of workers from one site to another is also one among the decisions that are taken by a Project Manager. To select a worker, a manager shall desire certain attributes depending on the requirement for the transfer. However, the cascading chain of correspondence results in a biased decision. Thus, selection of a suitable worker to transfer is an issue. In this paper, a set of construction labour selection attributes are identified based on expert interviews. The attributes identified are Skill, Regular attendance, Responsibility, Health, Safety at work, Discipline, Technical Soundness, Daily wage rate, Language and Previous accident history. These identified attributes are then quantitatively analysed using questionnaire survey and literature reviews. They are then given weightage based on the study. Selection attributes can be collectively called a Worker Profile. This worker profile can be introduced to reduce the gap between the Manager and a foreman. However, the benefits of this worker profile in the pull planning process need to be evaluated in real-life cases.
Article
Decision-support tools for infrastructure planning assume that the real cost of construction (i.e., the cost of construction when adjusting for inflation) will remain constant over the life cycle of a facility. This paper is the first of its kind to evaluate the validity of this assumption by assessing the long-run (i.e., multidecade) nature of construction costs. This study begins by testing for the possibility that Baumol's cost disease, a phenomenon found in some industries in which labor compensation growth outpaces productivity gains, thus giving way to real cost growth, afflicts the construction sector. To do so, a series of regression models are developed using historical macroeconomic data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis on construction costs, compensation, productivity, and the price of intermediate and capital goods. Because construction cost growth is also closely tied to price changes for inputs, this research extracts long-run real price trends of important intermediate goods used in construction through time-series methods applied to publicly available data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the US Geological Survey. The results of this study provide strong empirical evidence that Baumol's cost disease is present within the construction sector, whereas the real price of most construction commodities has not exhibited a negative nor positive secular trend over the last century. These two findings suggest that, contrary to the conventional assumption found in current analytical frameworks, the real cost of construction will rise in the long run. This study's contribution should motivate decision-makers to re-examine their existing decision-support tools, because the value of policies that reduce project completion times and increase the service life of facilities is potentially much higher than currently anticipated.
Article
Construction industry labor productivity is an important metric that provides feedback about industry level trends and improvements. However, labor productivity for the construction industry has historically been elusive to define and determine both qualitatively and quantitatively. Existing research studies have provided different methods to calculate productivity at a variety of levels (activity, project, industry), but none proved universally satisfying. This paper presents a new metric for quantifying productivity that was developed using RSMeans Building Construction Cost Data, which is a source that is reliable, repeatable, and developed from consistent and accurate data sources. The metric was developed using labor and cost information from a sample of typical construction activities. The study results showed a slightly sporadic, but consistent productivity decline in both output per labor hour and per dollar cost from 1990 through 2008. Other metrics were selected from existing research studies and sources for a comparative analysis against the new metric, which revealed varying trends across metrics on the basis of varying input data and sources. The paper presents the new metric, which has value in that it allows construction professionals to analyze industry level productivity by means of a generally used and consistently published reference manual.
Article
Full-text available
Construction productivity trends carry immense consequences for the economy as a whole. However, there is little scholarly consensus concerning even the direction of such trends. The main objectives of this paper are to (1) present an approach to studying long-term productivity trends in the U.S. construction industry; and (2) provide a preliminary indication of such trends over the past 25-30 years. Subsequent, extended statistical studies are suggested that may be based on the approach of the selected work presented here. Labor cost and output productivity trends are tracked for tasks that represent different trades and differing levels of technological intensity within the building construction sector. Specific tasks dealt with a range from a zero technology impact task, such as hand trenching, to compaction with a sheepsfoot roller. Means's cost manuals were used to trace the benchmark values for these tasks. These values reflect productivity trends. Unit labor costs in constant dollars and daily output factors were compared over decades for each task. Direct work rate data from 72 projects in Austin, Tex., over the last 25 years were also examined. Increasing the direct work rate usually increases construction productivity. The combined data indicate that productivity has increased in the 1980s and 1990s. Depressed real wages and technological advances appear to be the two biggest reasons for this increase. The data also indicate that management practices were not a leading contributor to construction productivity changes over time. Subsequent studies are required to add weight to these observations and can be based on the approach presented here.
Article
Productivity in the construction industry has been on the decline for over a decade. Because of its influence, overall productivity is best equated with labor productivity. The effective utilization of labor must be increased if productivity is to be improved. On some projects, as few as 20% of the theoretical work hours are used in actually putting work in place. Other problem factors include organized labor and the sophisticated bargaining requests now being used, the increase in size and complexity of present-day projects, legal restrictions, the competency of the project participants, the overlapping of the design and construction phases, company procedures, increased paperwork, and the educational system. To improve productivity, management must improve. Opportunities can be found in project orientation, planning, client involvement, communications, design, constructability, technology, and many other areas.
Article
Factors that can be fairly easily identified and modified and can lead to significant improvements in production rates for activities in construction are considered in this paper. These factors are divided into four work categories. Two of the four work categories in which each construction activity was subdivided were idle and waiting times. Productivity measurements generally do not distinguish between the idle and waiting times. Conclusions can therefore be misleading. and more importantly, the attention of management is only vaguely and imprecisely directed to the cause of the inefficiencies. The breakdown of nonproductive time into two factors is therefore very important in directing the attention of management to the root causes of inefficient time. The variation in production rates used by contractors' estimators are given and compared with actual on-site production rates. The frequency of different sources of information used by contractors when estimating production rates, and the percentage use of production monitoring methods. are also given. A prototype expert system. using the Personal Consultant Plus shell program of 1987. was developed to assist in the acquisition and management of knowledge and data for the estimation of production rates.
Article
Construction productivity has been on the decline in the last decade. The results are presented on a survey of the Engineering News-Record 400 largest contractors to obtain their views on where productivity improvements would most help and to compare the trends with a similar survey carried out in 1979. Data were collected on the general company characteristics of the responding contractors, and on the contractors' opinions on potential areas for productivity improvement in the office and in the field. Findings indicate that immediate research should concentrate on improving marketing practices, planning and scheduling, labor-management relations, site supervision, industrialized building systems, equipment policy and engineering design; and that governmental regulations have lost the immediate urgency attached to them in 1979. It is also recommended that similar surveys be conducted every 3 to 4 years to identify new trends and to steer research in the appropriate direction.
Article
Overall productivity growth may be somewhat underestimated; despite continued progress, measurement and conceptual barriers remain.
Article
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.
Productivity in civil engineering and construction
''Productivity in civil engineering and construction.'' 1983. Civ. Eng., 532, 60– 63.
Value of construction put in place
  • U S Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau. 2000. Value of construction put in place, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
CICE: The next five years and beyond
CICE: The next five years and beyond. 1988. Business Round Table, New York.
  • E Allmon
  • C T Hass
  • J D Borcherding
  • P M Goodrum
Allmon, E., Hass, C. T., Borcherding, J. D., and Goodrum, P. M. 2000. ''U.S. construction labor productivity trends, 1970–1998.'' J. Constr. Eng. Manage., 1262, 97–104.