Productivity is simply a measure of the effectiveness of an effort. The productivity rate is measured as the total output per unit of input. In construction, an example of an output might be something like the square footage of installed floor or cubic yards of earth excavated with inputs typically measured in hours worked. Increased productivity on the job site means working efficiently to control costs and stay on schedule. Projects that are completed on budget and ahead of schedule usually result in higher profit margins which is why construction companies are always looking to improve productivity. 1. Planning and Scheduling After you get the contract and before you receive the notice to proceed, it’s time to work on sketching out your building plan. This includes defining work tasks and defining a sequence to complete those tasks. Work tasks can be divided into individual tasks or activities. Once the tasks are identified, identify the resources that will be required such as labor, tools, equipment, and materials. Once the master plan is completed, the construction schedule can be created. Scheduling involves setting estimated start and end dates for various work tasks. Remember to take into account the time required to complete each task based on the resources available to allocate them to complete it. In order to maintain your construction schedule, it is important to work with suppliers and subcontractors and share the construction schedule. This will ensure that your materials are delivered on time and that subcontractors are brought in when they are needed. Ensure that the manpower and equipment needed for the project are not restricted to another job site. You cannot maintain your project schedule if you do not have the resources to complete your tasks on time. Reviewing completed projects that are similar in size and scope is a great way to better plan and schedule an upcoming project. Determining what worked and what didn’t can help identify areas where productivity could be improved in future projects. 2. Communication Good communication is the key to the successful completion of all construction projects. Establish clear lines of communication between all key stakeholders in the project. Indicate how often, and by what means, information on project progress should be communicated. Communicate with field workers and subcontractors to identify the root causes of lost productivity and identify areas where they can be improved. This will allow you to navigate around issues and resolve delays. Good communication can improve teamwork, lead to better project collaboration, and increase job site productivity. 3. Supervision It is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable site supervisor or supervisor to keep the project on schedule and oversee the day-to-day operations of the job site. The site supervisor can assist the project manager with planning and scheduling. They are responsible for monitoring the progress of construction work while tracking material and labor costs to ensure that the project is completed according to specifications, on time and within budget. A good site supervisor wears many hats, from being the main point of contact for communication between all stakeholders to supervising the performance of the subcontractor to enforcing strict adherence to safety procedures. The site supervisor must be able to effortlessly motivate employees and subcontractors to maintain a high level of productivity throughout the duration of the project. Two of the best skills a supervisor can bring to the table is the ability to identify potential problems and develop a plan to avoid or mitigate them to avoid construction delays. 4. Safety A safe construction site is a productive site. Accidents can result in lost work hours from workers lost time due to injuries. Injuries and worker deaths lead to business interruptions so that accident investigations can be conducted. Construction accidents can also damage worker morale which will negatively impact productivity. Develop a written site-specific safety plan and share it with everyone on the job site and ensure that everyone is expected to comply with all safety requirements. Provide all workers with appropriate safety equipment and personal protective equipment and make sure all workers keep the home safe every day. 5. Quality always wants to do a good job. Poor craftsmanship can result in a costly rework that will lose your budget and result in delays. Remember the old adage “Measure twice, cut once.” Encouraging workers to speed up tasks just to increase productivity is a losing gambit. Workers who take pride in their work and do things right the first time tend to be more productive. 6. Training Since recovering from the Great Recession, construction companies have struggled to fill skilled positions. During the downturn, more than two million construction workers were laid off, retired early, or left to pursue jobs in other industries. We’re seeing some of that again in construction related to the COVID-19 pandemic and what many are calling the Great Resignation as workers re-evaluate what they want out of their career and employer. As companies continue to bring in new workers, proper training is needed now more than ever. You want your employees to know how to do work properly and safely while at the same time being able to meet your expectations for quality and efficiency. If workers struggle to complete scheduled tasks on time, it may be an issue that requires additional training. Companies that commit to properly training their employees to follow best practices and invest in their success tend to be rewarded with increased productivity on the job site. 7. Equipment We have already talked about the importance of project scheduling. This also applies to heavy equipment and tools. Ensure that the required equipment is available from your fleet and delivered to the job site before construction begins. A machine that needs repairs or maintenance will not be as productive as a machine running at its peak performance. Make sure to take care of any upcoming scheduled maintenance well in advance to avoid losing productivity from being taken out of service. If your current fleet does not meet your needs, or if these resources are allocated elsewhere, be sure to schedule any rental equipment well in advance to avoid delays. 8. Technology Technology can improve workplace productivity in many ways from planning and scheduling to communication and record keeping. There is a growing number of software available and mobile applications geared towards the construction industry. Telematics and GPS technology help you monitor equipment productivity. Mobile time clock apps allow workers to easily log in and out every day. Drones can be used to monitor safety and document the progress of construction work. 4D Building Information Modeling combines 3D model and time to allow the project timeline to be visually depicted. Project management software allows you to easily document and share daily reports, information requests, schedules, submissions, daily costs and production rates and allows you to access and share real-time information with all project stakeholders. The trick with using technology to improve productivity is to identify the area for improvement and then find the solution that best meets your needs and is easy to use. 9. Worksite planning The layout of your worksite can be a major factor in workers’ productivity levels. If job site planning is an afterthought or poorly done, you are facilitating poor productivity. You don’t want workers to waste time tracking down tools or navigating around the job site to get extra materials and supplies throughout the day. Using the current site plan as your guide, start designing your business site in a way that makes the most logistical sense. Carefully consider where to prepare parking areas, store materials and equipment, restroom facilities, outfitting, worksite trailers, and cots. In addition to improving productivity, a well-designed work site makes way for a safer work environment. It is easier to monitor workers and monitor safety risks if you know that workers are confined to specific work areas at the job site. Do you need more leads in the project? ConstructConnect finds you the best construction projects to bid and win more business.