Analysis of the impact of craft labour availability on North American construction project productivity and schedule performance

Hossein Karimi, Timothy R.B. Taylor, Paul M. Goodrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


The North American construction industry has experienced periods of craft shortages for decades. While this problem has received significant attention from researchers, less attention has been given to quantifying the impact of availability of craft labour on project performance. The primary contribution of the current work to the body of knowledge is the quantification of the relationship between craft labour availability and project performance, as measured by project productivity and schedule. Data from 97 construction projects completed in the U.S. and Canada between 2001 and 2014 were collected from two industry databases. The primary analysis shows that projects that experienced craft shortages underwent substantial and statistically lower productivity compared to projects that did not. The analysis also shows a significant growth in schedule overrun due to the craft labour shortages among the same population of projects. Further exploration by means of several regression analyses shows a statistically significant correlation between increased craft recruiting difficulty and lower project productivity and also higher schedule overruns in both project databases. The results are confirmed across both databases and serve as informative models that provide valuable insight for project management teams to perceive the risk that lack of skills poses on project productivity and time performance. Understanding the level of impact that craft shortages are having through robust statistical analyses is a first step in developing the motivation for industry leaders, communities and construction stakeholders to address this challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-380
Number of pages13
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 3 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Craft skills
  • productivity
  • risk identification
  • time
  • workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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