Determining the Relationship between Direct Work and Construction Labor Productivity in North America: Four Decades of Insights

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Labor productivity in construction has fallen behind other industries in most of the world and has declined continuously for decades in the United States. To change this, the construction industry needs to know where to focus. This research aims to show how important craftsmen efficiency is for national construction labor productivity (CLP) development. Statistical analysis was used to compare craftsmen efficiency and CLP data from North America (NA) in the period 1972-2010. Craftsmen efficiency data were extracted from published work that measured direct work (DW) through work sampling, and CLP data were extracted from national databases. A statistically significant relationship between DW and CLP was established. This revealed that adding 36 s of DW to every work hour could yield a yearly return of 5.4 billion USD to the NA gross domestic product (GDP). Results show that more focus on activity and project level efficiency is crucial for changing the trends of national CLP. Industry leaders and policy makers now have a solid foundation for taking corrective actions for an industry plagued by low productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04020110
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Volume146
Issue9
ISSN0733-9364
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

    Research areas

  • Construction labor productivity, Direct work, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Work sampling

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