Construction Productivity: A Path Forward for the Development of Reliable Metrics for Selected Sectors and Tasks

  • Goodrum, Paul (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Justification: As a whole, the US has enjoyed almost continuous productivity growth for the last several decades, however several previous research efforts have indicated that the U.S. construction industry bucked this trend with declining productivity. However these research efforts have been based on non-governmental productivity indices for construction; the U.S. government does not maintain a productivity index for any construction sector or the industry as a whole. Although a reliable construction productivity index may not have a direct impact on a specific craft worker’s productivity or even a project’s productivity, it would provide significantly improved insights toward understanding the impact of governmental policies (e.g. project permitting requirements, research strategies and funding of construction related research), industry initiatives (e.g. new building code requirements and new contract types such as design build), and emerging market trends (e.g. work force availability and material prices) on the construction industry’s performance. In essence, robust industry productivity measures will fill a significant gap in controlling the industry’s performance. Objectives: The proposed research outlines a two-tiered strategy at the industry, project, and activity levels to improve productivity and its measurement in construction related sectors by achieving the following two objectives: 1) Pinpoint the challenges and opportunities for developing industry-level, sector based productivity metrics; and 2) Develop task level productivity metrics for the Intelligent and Automated Construction Job Site. Technical Merit: To effectively manage an industry, a project, or an activity, measurement tools are required. These tools are used to develop feedback in the management control loop. To a significant extent, the management control loops for the construction industry, its projects, and their activities are nested, and thus measurement tools used for feedback are most effective when harmonized with each other. Developing and implementing a harmonized set of feedback measurement tools is a significant technical challenge that is addressed in this proposal. To begin with, there is no governmental measure of productivity for any construction sector or for the U.S. construction industry as a whole. Such a measure has been difficult to achieve for a number of reasons. Through a sustained collaboration with key industry stakeholders, the described research effort will develop a roadmap towards developing reliable productivity measures for selected sectors of the construction industry. The Intelligent and Automated Construction Job Site (IACJS) will provide a unique opportunity to examine the potential impact that observed technologies may have on construction productivity in a controlled environment. The proposed research will develop task level productivity metrics to be used in the IACJS, which will help in both the assessment of new technologies and the potential development of a technology prediction index to help quantify the likelihood that a proposed technology would have a positive impact on construction productivity, if implemented on construction jobsites.
Effective start/end date12/1/1011/30/11


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