Many terms are used to describe productivity in the construction industry: performance factor, production rate, unit person-hour (p-h) rate and others. Traditionally, productivity has been defined as the ratio of input/output, i.e., the ratio of the input of an associated resource (usually, but not necessarily, expressed in p-hs) to real output (in creating economic value). To restate this definition for use in the construction industry: labour productivity is the physical progress achieved per unit person-hour, e.g., p-hs per linear meter of conduit laid or p-hs per cubic meter of concrete poured. The two most important measures of labour productivity are:
- the effectiveness with which labour is used in the construction process;
- the relative efficiency of labour doing what it is required to do at a given time and place.
To improve productivity, we must be able to measure it. And we must be able to measure the effect of changes adopted on methods, effort, and systems. The measured values of productivity can then be compared either to those used to compile the estimate or to some production standards. Although no formal industry standards exist, many sources of published productivity data, as well as the databases of various companies, can serve as production standards.
Advantages of Effective site man power
- Early Completion: One of the most important advantages of effective manpower is speedy completion of your project. When your site hands are diligent and adequately skilled it translates into accelerated results. Acceleration and early completion of a construction project, ahead of schedule, has many potential advantages, including economic as well as physical advantages, for both the Owner and the Contractor, it provides the Contractor with a reduction in project overhead costs, thereby increasing the ever-important bottom line. The Owner may also benefit by early occupancy and the revenue to be realised for the period gained.
- Zero rework: Efficient site works also leave little to no space for mistakes. Reducing the need for rework releases 15-20% of project time and effort for more productive work and faster, lower cost project delivery. This will prevent the Engineer from looking incompetent to his clients. When you reduce the level of rework you shorten the project’s duration and reduce its cost, which increases the net value—a triple benefit!
- Increases Profit: Efficient manpower plays a large role in the profitability of any business, including to contractors in the construction industry. Factors like early project completion, and with little or no rework as mentioned above due to efficiency of the site hands go a long way in saving the contractor top bucks. From not having to pay workers for a long period of time to not having to pay for repairs of damage caused by carelessness and even paying health bills caused by same carelessness.
- Satisfied Clients: Every client wants to see their money put to good use, they want value for their money and if this can be done without hassle in great time, even better! Here the efficiency involves everyone in the construction process but mostly the Contractor. When the project is kept transparent, open communication channels maintained with the client and all the processes going according the schedule, at the end of the project, you will have a happy customer and a high probability of referrals and future business.
Steps to Improve Employee Utilization and Productivity
- Track time effectively: At a minimum, billable employee should be monitoring and recording their activities throughout the day in the same way, with a full time resolution, before leaving the site or signing off. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”, by capturing timesheets you can understand your current utilization and productivity.
- Collect and analyze your data: The data you gather from your billing activities, time sheets, and projects will help establish clear benchmarks and goals for increasing the utilization of your teams and individual employees.
- Manage Customer Expectations: communicate to your entire team the importance of managing the customer’s expectation from initial enquiry all the way through to project delivery. In the long run you will have happier customers resulting in your employees having to perform less un-productive tasks.
- Incentivize: Making employees feel like they are a part of the entire company’s success is essential to increasing productivity, improving morale, and building team cohesion. When goals are reached by individuals and teams, provide bonuses or extra privileges to highlight their success.
- Set reasonable goals: Every project is different, but over time, you will have a stronger sense of the time commitment for various types of projects. Setting reasonable utilization goals provides a benchmark for individual workers and departments. It also supports better planning and distribution of corporate resources.
Construction productivity is a vital component of any building project, without it projects become delayed and budgets quickly become overwhelmed. This is why it is vital that you ensure all of your contract workers are singing from the same page in terms of your project vision and deadline. In a nutshell, major Construction Projects are completed by huge input of manpower and equipment resources, Successful completion of these projects depends on efficient utilization of these resources. The profitability and effectiveness of the project are the outcome of better management and control of the manpower and equipment resources. Lastly, construction companies that wish to benefit from better manpower efficiency on their projects MUST begin to collect manpower output related DATA and check the variances periodically against the initial projections, this way before long they would have established their own standards.