Estimation Of Labor Productivity Impacts Construction Essay

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The calculation or estimation of labor productivity impacts is one of the most contentious topics in the construction industry. Disputes related to labor productivity often lead to dispute resolution forums such as mediation, arbitration, and/or litigation because labor productivity losses are often difficult to distinguish contemporaneously. Additionally, labor productivity rates and other related data are often not tracked on construction projects with any degree of precision. As a result, substantiating a cause-and-effect relationship between project disruption issues and resulting labor productivity losses and establishing entitlement to recovery for lost labor productivity often requires analysis by a qualified construction labor productivity expert.

Construction labor productivity is typically measured as labor hours per quantity of material installed. Labor productivity loss is experienced when a contractor, or a particular crew, is not accomplishing the anticipated or planned production rates. In other words, a loss of productivity is when it takes more labor and equipment to do the same amount of work, thereby increasing project costs. There are many common causes for labor productivity impacts on a construction project, stemming from owners, contractors, and construction managers. Common causes include, but are not limited to, mismanagement and misadministration, site access restrictions, differing site conditions, defective plans and/or specifications, changes in the work; labor availability, turnover, rework, testing/inspections, overtime and/or shift work, interferences, changes in construction means and methods, overcrowding, out-of-sequence work, and inclement weather.

Today s organizations have to face the task of handling the labor of diverse culture. Every effort should be taken to handle it effectively. Invention and innovations has affected labor productivity in a very positive way. Organizations should accept and adapt to technological changes in a cost effective way to foster labor productivity.

2. INTRODUCTION

Productivity in construction is often broadly defined as output per labor hour. Since labor constitutes a large part of the construction cost and the quantity of labor hours in performing a task in construction is more susceptible to the influence of management than are materials or capital, this productivity measure is often referred to as labor productivity. However, it is important to note that labor productivity is a measure of the overall effectiveness of an operating system in utilizing labor, equipment and capital to convert labor efforts into useful output, and is not a measure of the capabilities of labor alone. For example, by investing in a piece of new equipment to perform certain tasks in construction, output may be increased for the same number of labor hours, thus resulting in higher labor productivity.

Construction output may be expressed in terms of functional units or constant dollars. In the former case, labor productivity is associated with units of product per labor hour, such as cubic yards of concrete placed per hour or miles of highway paved per hour. In the latter case, labor productivity is identified with value of construction (in constant dollars) per labor hour. The value of construction in this regard is not measured by the benefit of constructed facilities, but by construction cost. Labor productivity measured in this way requires considerable care in interpretation. For example, wage rates in construction have been declining in the US during the period 1970 to 1990, and since wages are an important component in construction costs, the value of construction put in place per hour of work will decline as a result, suggesting lower productivity.

Interface Consulting experts have in-depth knowledge of labor productivity tracking and controls, impacts, industry studies, and quantification techniques. While each project has its own unique challenges and issues, Interface Consulting labor productivity analyses typically consider our experience in the field as project/construction management professionals, testimony and interviews of key project personnel, contemporaneous project documents (e.g., progress reports, daily reports, time sheets and labor records, etc.), our education and specialized training, as well as recognized industry labor productivity studies and reports. Our labor productivity experts specialize in labor productivity analysis and may utilize the following industry-recognized methodologies, where appropriate:

* Measured Mile Analysis

* Earned Value Analysis

* Work Sampling

* Comparable Work Study

* General and Specialty Industry Studies

* Total Cost Method

* Modified Total Cost Method

* Time and Motion Studies

It should be noted that the selection of a particular productivity analysis methodology depends on the project facts, the nature of the events being analyzed, the nature and extent of available labor data, and may vary from project to project. Each of the above-referenced productivity analysis methodologies has inherent advantages and disadvantages. Interface Consulting has extensive experience handling construction labor productivity claims and our construction claims consultants are skilled at tailoring our productivity analysis approach to suit a project s needs and constraints.

3. FACTORS AFFECTING CONSTRUCTION LABOUR PRODUCTIVITY

Stagnant productivity and the shortage workers are the two major challenges facing the construction industry. As the major player executing construction processes and activities, workers have an important impact on construction productivity. Workers are certainly in the ideal position to know where and how much of a site s productivity is lost or gained at the work face. However, Workers input and their perception of the factors that influence their ability to be productive have rarely been sought by either practitioners or researchers in the construction industry. Worker participation has been proven to be one of the most successful approaches to boost productivity. Therefore, it is important to engage workers in construction productivity improvement.

* Workers have a good understanding of construction productivity. not only confirmed the factors that have an impact on construction labor productivity but were also able to provide more information and greater insight to their root causes;

* The major factors affecting construction productivity are associated with construction equipment, engineering drawings, tools and consumables, and materials, which can be alleviated through efforts on the jobsite;

* Even though there is consistency throughout the work force about the major factors affecting construction productivity, the impact of individual factors varies by trade and project characteristics;

* Productivity needs to be examined from a behavioral aspect. There are many intangible productivity factors pertaining to communication, labor, supervision, and project management, although they are generally less severe in comparison to more tangible factors, such as construction equipment.

* This research also helps direct industry and academia to better understand the major factors affecting construction productivity. In particular, more efforts are needed to improve the onsite management of construction equipment, engineering drawing management, the availability of tools and consumables, and materials in order to improve construction productivity efficiently.

3.1 PROJECT UNIQUENESS Projects in construction are never designed or built exactly in the same manner as previous projects. Environmental factors such as the landscape, weather and physical location force every project to be unique from its predecessors. There are also aesthetic factors that create uniqueness from project to project. Such factors have a significant impact upon major project characteristics. While most construction personnel find this uniqueness to be an attractive element for a career in construction, it can have an adverse effect upon construction productivity. Project uniqueness requires modifications in the construction processes. These modifications require workers to go through a learning curve at the beginning stages of each project activity.

3.2 TECHNOLOGY

Technology has had a tremendous effect on overall productivity. All most basic of task on site have been changes due to advances in technology over recent years. Tools and machinery have increased both in power and complexity. These advances in technology can significantly modify skill requirement. These can create difficulties in separating the contributions of technology, management and labor to productivity.

Introducing new technology can be more difficult in the construction industry than in other industries. Innovation barriers such as diverse standards, industry fragmentation, business cycles, risk aversion, and other factors can create an inhospitable climate for innovations. In many regions of the country, labor costs for many skills are relatively low. There is less motivation to automate a task when the labor associated with the task is not expensive.

Due to such impediments, firms are naturally reluctant to try new technology, especially if it amounts to putting the entire company on the line. Should the new technology prove effective, the firms gain only a temporary strategic advantage? Once it is proven, other bidders can quickly begin to adopt the technology. Gestation periods can vary widely depending on the market force behind the innovation and other factors. This cycle is typical, and is one reason for the step change nature of construction productivity changes for individual activities or tasks when technology is the main factor.

3.3MANAGEMENT

Management, the direction of employees and other resources to achieve objectives, is essential to the smooth operation of organization. The manager is to create an environment in which people can use resources to reach the stated goals of the organization. Managing effectively requires planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Labor management, specifically, is the planning, organizing, leading and controlling of the operative functions of personnel. Good management is required for profitability and success.

3.4 CHANGE MANAGEMENT

Change like termination, resignations, death, etc are extremely disruptive to a project and lower its productivity by interrupting project momentum, costly reworks, delays and interference with efficient scheduling. A structured change should be employed within both engineering and construction phases. The change management should always be based up on the company and not on individual skill or talent.

3.5 LOCATIONS

Weather patterns like hot and cold climate affect the work. Contractors will be achieving different level of work in winter and summer. Employees working at different height will have different level of productive work. Inefficient transportation network delays transportation of things there by affecting productivity. Also access, availability of skills, logistical support, local economy, infrastructure, etc. are also some other factors affecting productivity.

3.6 PROJECT CHARACTERSTICS

No two projects are exactly the same. These differences influence the productivity potential. Like project Size, scheduled constrains, adequacy, of scope definition, exposure of hazards, form of contracts, quality of engineering, budget constraints.

3.7 HUMAN FACTOR

The ultimate determinates of projects performances are the human beings doing and managing. Productivity will be directly affected based on the management competence, Supervisor s competence, individual workers skills, workers rules, personal pride, stability of employment, overtime, experience, workers attitude, owner/contractor relationship, etc.

1. Human factors awareness training - provide human factors awareness training to construction staff (especially on-site inspectors) focusing on: human factors principles; work conducted to date and possible problems in construction.

2. Human factors inspections human factors specialist should visit construction sites to check implementation of human factors requirements.

3. Field run or field installed equipment as above, human factors specialist to ensure human factors principles are followed during equipment installation.

3.8 FIELD ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT FACTORS

Site layout for construction, support equipment availability, projects control, quality management program, technology and methodology used, subcontractor performance, Degree of communication, crew balance, materials availability and quality, tools availability and quality, safety program, adequacy of support facilities, degree of planning, vendor performance, control of interruptions, etc.

4. HOW TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY

Productivity can be defined as how efficiently and effectively we use our resources at lowest possible cost. Labor plays a very important role and consider as a basic unit for the productivity of any organization.

4.1 COMMUNICATIONS

In order to empower learners within basic skills for construction workers with relevant social and communication skills, Group work (role plays, imitation of job situations etc.) shall concentrate on both Speaking skills (how to express oneself, respond properly, give relevant information to colleagues and others.) and listening comprehension (understanding simple explanations and instruction in order to be able to carry out duties.)

Major elements of social skills training for construction workers shall, in addition, be the following:

Team building

Team awareness

Team spirit

Social responsibility of the individual within a group of working colleagues

Cooperation among colleagues

Improvement of mutual assistance

Consider the following:

1. Providing for an overall positive atmosphere of openness and trust and make sure each individual labor feels comfortable and free to work on reflection and communication

2. No pressure, providing enough time for labor to communicate

3. Making labors aware of the fact that effective spoken communication is essential in construction work and that passing on information clearly is essential to everyone's safety and successful work outputs in our team.

4. Therefore focus on conveying the following principles:

A. always speak clearly

B. report things quickly but also carefully and always in an understandable way

C. keeps to the facts

D. remember to report all necessary facts

E. keeps facts in order

5. Always refer to practical relevance and closeness to actual experience of all learning materials used and all examples given:

6. To make learning contents relevant for labor and demonstrate their actual employability: focus on workplace related contents

7. In order to demonstrate relevance of learning contents: Use authentic materials dealing with contents learners will actually come across in their everyday job life

8. Ask and motivate your learners to bring their own materials and examples

4.2 GOAL SETTING

The best way to set goals is for management to agree on attainable targets, based on the best historical performance for both quality and productivity. Unfortunately, few studies have been published about construction firms that have used this technique. But the following two examples suggest some advantages of goal setting in construction projects: Sixty 17- to 23-year-olds were hired to work individually on a two-hour construction task. They were assigned to one of two pay conditions (piece-rate or hourly) and one of three goal setting conditions (no goal, quantity or quality). As expected, the method of payment was found to affect quantity performance and effort; goal setting affected quantity and quality performance and direction of behavior Individual goals may be meshed with organizational goals through such rewards as money, promotion, work environment, praise or recognition. The philosophy was: "What's good for our customer is good for us". New construction jobs secured

4.3 INCENTIVES

Incentives are common contractual tools to influence the Behavior of contracting parties. The type of incentive differs according to the objectives involved. A contract may involve general objectives, performance, and time/completion on schedule. In regard to the latter types of incentive, a range of different types of incentive may be used, e.g. monetary incentives such as fixed - price contracts, cost plus - incentive fees, more frequent payments, letters of appreciation etc. There is little information available about how they are used and whether they are effective. Questions to be answered in this connection concern the scalability of performance, the choice of the appropriate kind of incentive, the frequency of their use, the percolation of incentives through supply chains and methods of incentive management.

4.4 MOTIVATION

The key to motivating construction labors appears to be organizing the project and its resources to let individuals be productive. More than anything else, this promotes job Satisfaction and provides an incentive for individuals to increase their productivity. One of the most important perceptions for management in devising ways to hitch worker Motivation to improved productivity is to understand that a lot of items if mishandled can produce the opposite result from that intended. Consider safety and project planning, for example, both generally regarded as motivating forces. Handled poorly, however, they can turn into demotivators. Safety and project planning could be either a plus or a minus, Depending on how well they were carried out. Some projects had a poor safety program and in some the job was not well planned, so these potential motivators turned into demotivators.

4.5 TRAINING

A firm's greatest asset is its people. Training is one key to superior performance Training can increase productivity, morale, reduce the load on supervisors, improve safety, increase organizational stability and flexibility In developing highly qualified people, it helps to offer vocational and supervisory training facilities, especially when free tuition or greater promotional opportunities are offered to workers and foremen who enroll.

Foreman Delay Survey

PROJECT:

NAME OF FOREMAN: GENERAL FOREMAN:

(DATE) DAILY EVALUATION: NUMBER IN CREW:

PROBLEMS CAUSING DELAY

SL. NO

OF MEN

or not ordered)

(prefabrication errors)

4.6 SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Social activities can help overcome demotivation because of the lack of identification on projects. Involving families on a project tour is a useful motivational tool which increases the pride of work. A dinner for selected awardees is a very effective way to give recognition to the work force, Sports teams, project manager luncheons, or fishing trips can be good techniques to develop more harmonious relationships between management, supervisors, and the work force.

4.7 EXTENDED WORK HOURS

When engineering is not progressing fast enough to let construction proceed on schedule, many demotivators are apt to plague on-site work. Engineering drives the schedule and is the key to materials procurement. So any delays can cause lost time for much of the work force. Improving the flow of engineering to a project can have a very positive effect on worker motivation. Where overtime me is required for engineering work in the office, the most productive plan is ten hour days, if they are limited to no more than eight days In construction, three alternatives to five regular 8-hour days per week could be considered for improving motivation and productivity. One is a work week of four 10-hour days without overtime Contractors, said four work days of 10 hours each would lower daily start up costs, reduce equipment down-time, speed project completion, help level out peak manpower loads, reduce absenteeism and tardiness, cut the number of days lost due to bad weather, and reduce the amount of energy workers consume in commuting to work. Many open shop companies perform virtually all their projects schedule. They have found four-tens "extremely effective and successful" with improved moral, increased productivity, and reduced absenteeism and turnover

A second alternative is flexible working hours. For example, if the work force completes a major portion of the work ahead of schedule, they would receive time off in recognition of their extra effort. Allowing time off leaves them free to pursue other activities during their bonus time

4.8 SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS

If top level management expresses strong concern for project safety, this can be a motivator for workmen. Potential savings on insurance rates should reinforce a moral obligation by management to provide a safe work environment. Well-kept, safe areas and a display of management concern for the well being of their employees may move craftsmen and foremen to perform more productively. Conversely, unsafe conditions and unnecessary injuries can result in decreased worker morale and high absenteeism

Safety incentive programs in which foremen are rewarded for the safety record of their crews have proved to be very helpful in improving the morale of both supervisory and non-supervisory men on the job. Other significant motivators include proper orientation of new workers, job safety meetings, and a show of awareness by the superintendent of potential problems that may result in an accident Safety instruction and safety equipment such as steel-toed boots, gloves, or safety glasses reduce the likelihood of injuries. All of these, too, can be motivators.

4.9 QUALITY CONTROL A quality control program should be oriented on Doing it right the first time saves on costly rework and it that way contributes to overall higher productivity.

4.10 EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL HANDLINGS

Equipment and material handling plays a very important role in increasing productivity. Manual work should always be avoided where equipment can be use. Companies should also implement proper and efficient system to order, expedite, track, store and deliver materials on site, in order to avoid waste of time, there by affecting productivity.

4.11 HEALTH, SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENT

Every measure should be taken to make the work place a hygienic one. Like proper drinking water facility, proper sanitary, good housekeeping, proper dining and recreations room, etc. Organization should also conduct tool box meetings, strict compliance of procedures, walk through in the yard for comments and improve the existing work procedure, proper sign boards and barricades, right PPE, use right tool or equipment for a particular job, proper lighting, proper ventilation, etc. storing, handling, segregation and disposal of hazardous waste should be done in a most appropriate and environment friendly way.

5 CONCLUSIONS

The method of examining construction productivity, which was presented here, provides a starting point for more focused and stistically robust future studies. It suggest many avenues of future investigations such as the impact of technology on construction productivity. A few perliminary observations may also be made.

Productivity has increased substantially in construction in the last two decades. The two biggest reasons for the increase are depressed real wages and technological advances. Based on the data used in this study, management practices were not a leading contributor to construction productivity changes over time. More thorough statistics are required to confirm this point.

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