Cost Effectiveness of Innovative Crew Scheduling

RT-185 Topic Summary
RT 185

Overview

Several crew scheduling options are available to contractors and owners when they need to complete a project on time or compress or accelerate a schedule. Techniques such as overtime, shift work, rolling or straight four-ten hour days, and other innovative schedules each have their own set of unique benefits and requirements for proper application. The focus of this research project was to document the impacts and proper applications of various crew scheduling techniques as used in the construction industry.

The quantitative portion of this research focused on the five-eight hour days per week, four-ten hour days per week, five-ten hour days per week, and six ten-hour days per week scheduling techniques because of the availability of data as received in the distributed “macro” data collection form.   

The information presented in this research report was collected from two main sources. First, industry opinions regarding several crew scheduling techniques were obtained through the use of questionnaires delivered to a diverse group of nearly 1300 contractors, owners, and labor union representatives throughout the United States. The second source of information came in the form of actual project productivity data collected from over 100 projects completed with a variety of crew scheduling techniques.

A summary of the information collected through the course of this research is organized in a tabular format and presented in Chapter 6 of the research report. The table (Table 6.2) is intended to aid construction professionals in the selection of a crew scheduling technique that will meet the requirements of a specific project. It is expected that the compiled survey responses and rankings, the table and the developed predictive productivity model will assist individuals industry-wide in their understanding of the impacts of crew scheduling techniques and in their selection of crew schedules for specific projects.

Contractors and owners will be the main beneficiaries of this research. The report offers comments, ratings, and productivity data (provided by over 150 contractors, owners, and labor union representatives from a broad range of the construction industry) regarding several innovative crew scheduling techniques, their impacts, and their appropriate uses. The insight provided in this report will help contractors and owners in the following ways:

  1. When special needs arise on a project, the use of an innovative crew scheduling technique may be a solution. The key information learned through this research was summarized in sections 6.2 and 6.3 of the report.
  2. The quantitative portion of this research produced a model that can be used to estimate the labor productivity level of a project once the crew schedule is selected. If a project is initiated with knowledge that it must be completed on a compressed schedule basis, the final model presented in Chapter 5 of the report (Equation 5.5) can be used to estimate the productivity associated with a given crew schedule.
  3. Owner mandated conditions sometimes require the implementation of a schedule compression technique unexpectedly during a project. When an overtime schedule is used to reduce project duration, the contractor deserves proper compensation for the associated productivity losses. When extended duration overtime is used, the model presented in Chapter 5 of the report (Equation 5.4) can be used to accurately estimate the productivity loss associated with the overtime schedule used. The value arrived at can then be used to determine the cost of schedule acceleration to the contractor.

It is important to note that all information included in the “macro” study represents the cumulative productivity for the duration of the analyzed projects. The models are designed to aid in the estimation of the expected productivity levels for the entire project or, upon project completion, to determine the approximate percentage of productivity gain or loss associated with the crew schedule used. The developed models are not intended to be applied to small portions of a project such as in predicting the productivity loss associated with a short duration overtime schedule.                                  

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Qualitative Data

While insufficient quantitative data was obtained on innovative schedules, some excellent qualitative information was obtained from experienced contractors. The quantitative project data acquired from the second survey provided a wealth of information on productivity of schedule techniques. (RS185-1, p. 23, Table 8 and p. 28)
Reference: (RS185-1)

2 : Tool for Schedule Selection

Before committing to a specific schedule technique for a particular project, owners and contractors should refer to the project team’s Implementation Tool (on the CII website, IR185-2) which contains a “look up table” and comments summary. When a project is initiated, the final model presented in Chapter 5 of the report can be used to estimate the productivity associated with a given crew schedule. (RS185-1, p. 29)
Reference: (RS185-1)

3 : Qualitative Comparison Contractor vs. Union

Safety

  •  Both agree 5-8s only schedule with positive impact on safety.

Productivity

  • Both agree 5-8s best for productivity.
  • Unions rate 4-10s very high positive impact.

Cost

  • General agreement 5-8s and 4-10s have positive impact.
  • Contractors rate 5-8s most positive impact.
  • Unions rate 4-10s slightly higher positive impact.

Duration

  • General agreement all schedules have positive impact except 3rd shift.
  • Both stated overtime had most positive impact.

Absenteeism

  • Both felt 4-10 had most positive impact.
  • Contractors had 5-8 slightly positive impact; all others negative impact.
  • Union had 5-8 slightly positive impact; all others almost no impact.
(RS185-1, p. 8)
Reference: (RS185-1)

4 : 4-10’s Schedule Benefits

The 4-10s schedule ranked first with statistical significance for effectiveness in minimizing worker absenteeism. Respondents indicated absenteeism on a 4-10s schedule to be generally lower compared to a 5-8s schedule because it allows employees one regular business day each week to conduct their personal business without missing work. (RS185-1, p. 13)
Reference: (RS185-1)

5 : Implementation Tool #1

IR185-2, Look-Up Table for Crew Scheduling

Includes the Excel® spreadsheets that help in selecting crew schedules based on project factors. The table compares each crew scheduling technique, the project characteristics, and the issues that may be impacted by the use of different crew schedules. The tool is intended to aid construction professionals in the selection of a crew scheduling technique that will meet the requirements of a specific project. 
 
Reference: (IR185-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Improved engineering productivity, Improved safety

Research Publications

Effectiveness of Innovative Crew Scheduling - RS185-1

Publication Date: 09/2003 Type: Research Summary Pages: 30 Status: Supporting Product

Look-Up Table for Crew Scheduling - IR185-2

Publication Date: 09/2003 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 0 Status: Tool

The Effectiveness of Innovative Crew Scheduling Techniques - RR185-11

Publication Date: 02/2003 Type: Research Report Pages: 191 Status: Reference


Presentations from CII Events

Implementation Session - Effectiveness of Innovative Crew Scheduling

Publication Date: 06/2003 Presenter: Number of Slides: 31 Event Code: AC03

Plenary Session - Effectiveness of Innovative Crew Scheduling

Publication Date: 06/2003 Presenter: Number of Slides: 27 Event Code: AC03


Tags