Document Detail

Title: RS252-1c - Construction Productivity Research Program -- Phase IV, Version 1.1
Publication Date: 10/1/2012
Product Type: Research Summary
Status: Supporting Product
Pages: 54
Describes the activities and results of the fourth phase of the five-phase Construction Productivity Program, discussing the research team's focus on innovations and best practices for the steel trades, its investigation of an innovative workforce development process, and its validation of the CII Best Practices Productivity Improvement Index (BPPII). Presents the team's independent analysis of the productivity data from several producers of quick- connection steel systems, the results of its survey of prospective users of the Contractors' Workforce Development Index (CWDA), its identification of CII Best Practices that are correlated to steel productivity, and its continuing validation of the BPPII. The results of these research activities showed significant productivity benefits from the quick-connection systems, affirmed the value of the CWDA, identified a set of best practices for steel productivity consistent with the sets of productivity-enhancing practices for the mechanical, electrical, and concrete trades, and further validated the BPPII.
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Abstract

In the fourth phase of the five-phase Construction Productivity Research Program, CII Research Team 252 focused on innovations and best practices for the steel trades, investigated an innovative workforce development process, and continued to develop the CII Best Practices Productivity Improvement Index (BPPII). Specifically, the team 1) independently analyzed the productivity data from several producers of quick-connection steel systems, 2) surveyed prospective users of the Contractors’ Workforce Development Index (CWDA), 3) used CII Benchmarking and Metrics (BM&M) data to identify the CII Best Practices that correlate to steel productivity, and 4) conducted the second phase of its validation of the BPPII. The results of these research activities showed significant productivity benefits from the quick-connection systems, affirmed the value of the CWDA, identified a set of best practices for steel productivity that is remarkably consistent with the sets of productivity-enhancing practices found in previous program phases for the mechanical, electrical, and concrete trades, and further validated the BPPII.

Having found several mechanical quick-coupling and modular support systems for mechanical piping in the first phase of the program, the research team showed in its Phase IV investigation of quick-connection steel systems that joining techniques have recently emerged as high-impact productivity innovations. In Phase III, the team examined the impact of modular formwork systems on concrete productivity. By acquiring independent field unit rate data on the steel quick-connection systems in this phase, the researchers compared the manufacturers’ reported productivity gains to conventional steel connection systems (e.g., bolting and welding). The overall unit rate improvement among those projects was approximately 40 percent, while the costs of the projects were similar.

Recognizing that up to the fourth phase, the program lacked an examination of innovations in workforce development, the research team partnered with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) to independently analyze the effectiveness of the CWDA tool, an initiative of the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT). The CWDA is a process that owners can use to pre-qualify contractors on the basis of their workforce development efforts. General contractors can also use the CWDA to pre-qualify subcontractors. RT 252 found that construction firms that score higher on the CWDA also had better safety records and experienced less absenteeism on their projects. Although these metrics are not direct measures of construction productivity, safety and worker absenteeism have direct influences on jobsite productivity.

Finally, while the team’s initial validation results for the BPPII are included in this research summary, the complete presentation of the index is on-schedule for Phase V.