Contractors are constantly looking for new ways to increase productivity on the project site. There’s a fine balancing act between keeping your workers safe and ensuring that your finished project meets all the terms of your contract, but it’s imperative that contractors identify the best practices for doing so. An important aspect of increasing project site productivity is identifying the various factors that affect it. In fact, productivity is a valuable metric that contractors can utilize to their advantage once they know how to quantify and measure it.
In this editorial, the Wichita contractor attorneys at Cotney Construction Law will discuss project site productivity and propose solutions for contractors looking to increase efficiency and maximize profitability. With a full suite of construction-related legal services related to roofing law, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), contract review and drafting, license defense, bond law, OSHA defense, lien law, bid protest, and more, a Wichita construction attorney can be a powerful ally both inside and outside of the courtroom. Whether it’s providing you with guidance during a trying time, alerting you of new legislation that could affect your business, or informing you about preferred practices for maintaining a productive project site, our extensive knowledge and experience of the construction industry is here to serve you.
The Characteristics of Work and the Workforce
The first step to developing a comprehensive understanding of project site productivity starts with identification of the characteristics of both work and worker. Project productivity will largely be affected by the size and complexity of the job, accessibility of the project site, availability of workers, utilization of the proper equipment, strength of the contract, local climate, and characteristics of the locality. The success of your workers will be largely predicated on these factors, as well as their age, skill level, and experience. Additionally, your ability to lead and motivate will play a significant role in the overall productivity of your project site. An absent leader can hardly inspire his or her team to take their efforts to the next level.
Non-Productive Project Site Activities
There are many non-productive activities that take up potential work time. These activities don’t contribute to the completion of the project in any meaningful way, and limit productivity by limiting your labor resources. This includes any indirect labor for the purpose of preserving project progress, redoing subpar work, work stoppage from inclement weather or unavailability of materials, time off for union activities, absentee time, non-working holidays, and strikes. Managing non-productive activities can be difficult to control, but many of these activities will fall outside of your control. For assistance determining which non-productive activities you can limit, consult a Wichita contractor lawyer.
Breaking Down the Characteristics of Labor
Various factors affect the overall productivity of your workforce. It’s important to identify these factors and their characteristics that could have a significant effect on your ability to meet the terms of your contract. When analyzing the performance of your workers, consider the following evaluation criteria:
- Quality of Work
- Quantity of Work
- Job Knowledge
- Related Work Knowledge
- Resource Utilization
- Analytical Ability
- Communicative Ability
- Interpersonal Skills
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Safety Consciousness
- Profit and Cost Sensitivity
- Planning Proficiency
- Ability to Delegate Tasks
- Worker Development
When evaluating your workers based on the above criteria, you want to identify whether they have a recognizable strength in that area of performance, meet expectations, or need improvement. You can build out a detailed profile mapping your team’s various strengths and weaknesses to see which performance areas need to be addressed to ensure success on the project site.
Productivity by Worker Classification and Construction Type
Project site labor productivity can be measured in a number of ways, but the more data you have, the more precise your evaluation will be. You can measure worker productivity by craft (i.e., roofer, carpenter, plumber, bricklayer, etc.) or by type of construction (i.e., residential housing, commercial plaza, processing plant, etc.) by establishing a set of work conditions. After you select a classification type and define a set of work conditions, you can create a “base labor productivity” metric against which to measure your workforce’s productivity. By observing workers under these specific conditions, you can determine whether or not you’re meeting your baseline.
In Project Management for Construction – Fundamental Concepts for Owners, Engineers, Architects and Builders, a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, an additional metric, referred to as a “labor productivity index,” can be used to define “the ratio of the job-site labor productivity under a different set of work conditions to the base labor productivity…relative [to] labor efficiency of a project under [a] new set of work conditions.”
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider for contractors like yourself who are trying to improve project site productivity, but inaction isn’t going to help you boost profits or increase the quality of your finished projects. A lack of productivity can lead to contractor-owner conflicts, violated contractual terms, and even litigation. Avoiding poor productivity can help your business in so many ways, as can a Wichita contractor lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.