Construction Productivity Research Program

RT-252 Topic Summary
RT 252

Overview

Central to a program of construction productivity improvement is a focus on craft worker productivity and its relationship to best practice use. Direct work typically amounts to no more than 35-45 percent of a craft worker’s time on the job. Improving craft productivity requires improving direct work time by improving the availability of materials, information, and tools at the workplace.

To help the industry realize these improvements Research Team 252 (RT-252) was tasked with the objective of identifying and validating one or more initiatives, techniques, or methods that, if implemented, would result in a breakthrough improvement in construction productivity and ultimately increase it by 50 percent.

To accomplish this, RT-252 implemented a five-phase program over six years that annually introduces innovations through a research sequence comprised of innovation workshops, field trials, analysis, and implementation tool delivery. Each phase had three parts:

  1. Analyzing CII Benchmarking & Metrics (BM&M) data to identify potential productivity best practices
  2. Exploring opportunities for productivity improvement through craft information, technology support for labor, work packaging/organization, and human behavior
  3. Soliciting innovation input from workshop attendees and team members

RT-252’s strategy for improving craft performance focused on the following:

  1. Increasing the time spent by craft workers on direct work
  2. Reducing the number of work hours required to complete one unit of work
  3. Reducing the amount of rework occurring on projects 

Craft professionals are the industry’s most precious resource. The industry’s future success hinges on its ability to retain the current generation and attract the next generation of craft professionals. Providing the workforce with the skills and resources to be productive is a significant step toward achieving this goal.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Improvements using Best Practices

A number of CII Best Practices emerged from this research that can result in significant improvements in productivity such as improved cost, schedule, and safety performance. These best productivity practices were safety, materials management, systems integration and automation, team building, front end planning, and constructability. (RS252-1d, p. 23)
Reference: (RS252-1d)

2 : Best Productivity Practices Common Across Trades

Particular practices that improve productivity are identified separately for electrical, mechanical, concrete, and steel trades. With one or two exceptions, the most important practices for improving productivity are consistent across those trades. (RR252-11d, p. 7)
Reference: (RR252-11d)

3 : Innovations

Several innovations were found to have impacts on labor productivity of up to 50 percent, with equal or better overall cost impacts than conventional alternatives. These innovations include the following: quick-connect systems for piping, formwork, and structural steel; self-consolidating concrete; and advanced scaffolding and formwork systems. (RS252-1d, p. 23)
Reference: (RS252-1d)

4 : Increased Time on Tools

In the examination of direct work, it was found that wrench time could be increased on average by about 15 percent with the use of activity analysis processes and tools described in Implementation Resource (IR) 252-2a, Guide to Activity Analysis, and IR252-4d, The Construction Productivity Handbook. Moreover, the team concluded that rework could be reduced by similar amounts through processes described in IR252-2b, A Guide to Construction Rework Reduction. (RS252-1d, p. 24)
Reference: (RS252-1d)

5 : Planning

BPPII is a metric to measure how effectively the methods, tools, and strategies known to improve construction productivity are being implemented on a construction jobsite. Use of the BPPII tools can lead to meaningful productivity improvements because they identify potential construction practice gaps in the planning phase. Filling those gaps may cost time and money, but the payoff can be tremendous. (RS252-1d, p. 25)
Reference: (RS252-1d)

6 : Implementation

The practices and processes necessary to control and improve construction productivity are generally known but not consistently implemented across companies or even projects within the same company. If projects experienced consistent implementation of productivity improvement practices through the BPPII, future innovations would likely experience greater impacts on improving project performance as well. (RR252-11d, p. 137)
Reference: (RR252-11d)

7 : Implementation Tool #1

IR252-2, Innovations in Mechanical Construction Productivity, Version 1.1

Best productivity practices for mechanical trade identified and grouped into 5 main areas described in this resource. Projects that implement these practices have potential to improve productivity by 50%.

Reference: (IR252-2)

8 : Implementation Tool #2

IR252-2a, Guide to Activity Analysis

Activity analysis is a continuous process of measuring and improving the amount of time that craft workers spend on actual construction. This measured time is referred to as tool time, wrench time, or direct work time. This guide provides a 5-step process for conducting an activity analysis study.

Reference: (IR252-2a)

9 : Implementation Tool #3

IR252-2b, A Guide to Construction Rework Reduction

Outlines a model rework reduction program that manages a continuous improvement loop with four processes:

  1. Rework tracking and cause classification
  2. Evaluation of rework and its causes
  3. Corrective action planning
  4. Integration of changes into the total management system
Reference: (IR252-2b)

10 : Implementation Tool #4

IR252-2d, The Construction Productivity Handbook

Presents a compilation of research on means and methods for improving construction productivity. The handbook’s wide-ranging knowledge makes it useful for multiple audiences, specifically, productivity experts, industry practitioners, and university students and teachers.

Reference: (IR252-2d)

11 : Implementation Tool #5

IR252-3d, Best Productivity Practices Implementation Index for Industrial Projects, Version 1.1

Explains the use of the Best Productivity Practices Implementation Index (BPPII) for industrial projects and shows users how to measure the level of implementation of practices. The tool is designed to help project managers or superintendents plan productivity enhancing jobsite activities.

Reference: (IR252-3d)

12 : Implementation Tool #6

IR252-4d, Best Productivity Practices Implementation Index for Infrastructure Projects, Version 1.1

Explains the use of the Best Productivity Practices Implementation Index (BPPII) for infrastructure projects and shows users how to measure the level of implementation of practices. The tool is designed to help project managers or superintendents plan productivity enhancing jobsite activities.
Reference: (IR252-4d)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Reduced schedule, Increased productivity

Research Publications

The Construction Productivity Handbook - IR252-2d

Publication Date: 10/2013 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 148 Status: Tool

Best Productivity Practices Implementation Index for Industrial Projects, Version 1.1 - IR252-3d

Publication Date: 09/2013 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 81 Status: Tool

Best Productivity Practices Implementation Index for Infrastructure Projects, Version 1.1 - IR252-4d

Publication Date: 09/2013 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 91 Status: Tool

Construction Productivity Research Program -- Phase V - RS252-1d

Publication Date: 09/2013 Type: Research Summary Pages: 25 Status: Supporting Product

Construction Productivity Research Program -- Phase IV, Version 1.1 - RS252-1c

Publication Date: 10/2012 Type: Research Summary Pages: 54 Status: Supporting Product

Innovations in Mechanical Construction Productivity, Version 1.1 - IR252-2

Publication Date: 01/2012 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 71 Status: Tool

Construction Productivity Research Program -- Phase III - RS252-1b

Publication Date: 09/2011 Type: Research Summary Pages: 55 Status: Supporting Product

A Guide to Construction Rework Reduction - IR252-2b

Publication Date: 07/2011 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 41 Status: Tool

Construction Productivity Research Program -- Phase II - RS252-1a

Publication Date: 09/2010 Type: Research Summary Pages: 31 Status: Supporting Product

Guide to Activity Analysis - IR252-2a

Publication Date: 07/2010 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 64 Status: Tool

Construction Productivity Program -- Phase I, Version 1.1 - RS252-1

Publication Date: 11/2009 Type: Research Summary Pages: 45 Status: Supporting Product

Productivity Research Program -- Phase I - RR252-11

Publication Date: Type: Research Report Pages: Status:

Craft Productivity Research Program -- Phase II - RR252-11a

Publication Date: Type: Research Report Pages: Status:

Construction Productivity Research Program -- Phase III - RR252-11b

Publication Date: Type: Research Report Pages: Status:

Construction Productivity Research Program -- Phase IV - RR252-11c

Publication Date: Type: Research Report Pages: Status:

Construction Productivity Research Program -- Phase V - RR252-11d

Publication Date: Type: Research Report Pages: Status:


Supporting Resources

Presentations (CII Annual Conference & Workshops)

Plenary Session - Craft Productivity Research Program – Phase I

Publication Date: 06/2013 Presenter: Number of Slides: 17 Event Code: AC13

Implementation Session - Craft Productivity Research Program – Phase I

Publication Date: 06/2013 Presenter: Number of Slides: 37 Event Code: AC13

Plenary Session - Craft Productivity Research Program – Phase I

Publication Date: 06/2012 Presenter: Number of Slides: 12 Event Code: AC12

Implementation Session - Craft Productivity Research Program – Phase I

Publication Date: 06/2012 Presenter: Number of Slides: 52 Event Code: AC12

Plenary Session - Craft Productivity Research Program – Phase I

Publication Date: 06/2011 Presenter: Number of Slides: 19 Event Code: AC11

Implementation Session - Craft Productivity Research Program – Phase I

Publication Date: 06/2011 Presenter: Number of Slides: 52 Event Code: AC11

Plenary Session - Craft Productivity Research Program – Phase I

Publication Date: 07/2010 Presenter: Number of Slides: 17 Event Code: AC10

Implementation Session - Craft Productivity Research Program – Phase I

Publication Date: 07/2010 Presenter: Number of Slides: 52 Event Code: AC10

Plenary Session - Craft Productivity Research Program – Phase I

Publication Date: 06/2009 Presenter: Number of Slides: 16 Event Code: AC09

Implementation Session - Craft Productivity Research Program – Phase I

Publication Date: 06/2009 Presenter: Number of Slides: 44 Event Code: AC09

Session - Craft Productivity Enhancements Workshop

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 12 Event Code: PIW1008

Session - Driving Effective Use of Capital Through Rework Reduction

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 48 Event Code: PIW1011

Session - Improving Construction Productivity

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 62 Event Code: PIW414

Session - Enhancing Craft Productivity

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 42 Event Code: PIW1009


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