Optimizing Jobsite Organization

RT-261 Topic Summary
RT 261


The primary purpose of this research was to identify and describe industry norms pertaining to jobsite organizational functional and staffing levels for owners and contractors. The team focused on finding norms that provided the best value for different type of project under different circumstance. The objectives were to collect field data to understand why some jobsite organization approaches are more effective to project needs and objectives; understand how project jobsite organizations vary in size and makeup; seek insights into how they vary with respect to project type, contract type, and other parameters; examine associations between jobsite organizations and project performance measures; acquire lessons-learned regarding the structuring and optimal staffing of jobsite organizations; and identify ways in which owner/contractor jobsite organizations can work together with better synergy. The scope included sizing and design of owner and contractor jobsite organizations for capital projects with targeted construction costs between $50-800 million. The research team collected and analyzed data on organization size in terms of staff full-time equivalent (FTE) and craft-to-staff ratio (CSR).

The research will help teams answer the following questions: 

  • When you plan your jobsite team to help ensure success, do you keep team size and constituent roles within industry norms?
  • Are you deficient in one or more core roles?
  • Is your project underperforming, is your team size and/or composition a contributing factor?
  • If you have a lean jobsite organization, are your team skills adequate? Are you pursuing industry best practices to leverage your efforts?

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Jobsite Organization FTE & CSR Norms and Variability

Of the projects analyzed, the FTE range for both owners and contractors is notably large while the range of normalized CSR values is comparably narrow. To some degree, this difference supports the intended applicability of the CSR metric. (RS261-1, p. 7)

From an FTE perspective, of the projects analyzed, petrochemical projects have the largest owner teams, while construction-only projects have the smallest owner teams. EPC/design-build projects have the largest contractor teams, while construction-only projects have the smallest contractor teams.

Additional observations on the variability of owner and contractor teams, based on FTE count and according to project characteristic are summarized in Table 3 and support the conventional wisdom with regard to the relative size of owner and contractor teams, based on a non-normalized FTE count. The exception is that owner teams for public projects are smaller than those for private projects.

Power utility and construction-only projects have the largest owner CSR values, while cost reimbursable and EPC/design-build projects have the smallest owner CSR values. Lump sum projects have the largest contractor CSR values, while petrochemical, power utility, and EPC/design-build projects have the smallest contractor CSR values. Lower CSR values indicate a larger staff size. CSR variability is quite large for owners, but much less so for contractors. Refer to Table 5 for CSR norms for subsets.

Reference: (RS261-1)

2 : Owner and Contractor Core Roles

Six owner and 16 contractor roles dominate jobsite staffs (RS261-1, p. 14):

Owner core functions
  • Project Manager
  • Coordinator/Supervisor
  • Field Engineering Support
  • HSE Management
  • QA/QC Management
  • Startup Management
Contractor core functions
  • Project Manager
  • Field Engineering
  • QA/QC Management
  • Refer to the publication for the others
Reference: (RS261-1)

3 : Jobsite Organization and Project Performance

Association trends have been analyzed for projects that perform better than average with smaller-than-average jobsite teams. Enabling factors appear to be the growth of trust between owner and contractor, higher quality of technical documents, and thoroughness of team role definition, change management, startup planning, constructability planning, and front end planning. (RS261-11, p. 24)
Reference: (RS261-1)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Improved craft productivity

Research Publications

Owner and Contractor Jobsite Organization, Version 1.2 - RS261-1

Publication Date: 04/2014 Type: Research Summary Pages: 37 Status: Supporting Product

Owner and Contractor Job Site Organizations - RR261-11

Publication Date: 02/2012 Type: Research Report Pages: 126 Status: Reference

Presentations from CII Events

Plenary Session - Owner & Contractor Jobsite Organization

Publication Date: 06/2011 Presenter: Number of Slides: 15 Event Code: AC11

Implementation Session - Owner & Contractor Jobsite Organization

Publication Date: 06/2011 Presenter: Number of Slides: 51 Event Code: AC11