5 Ways to Improve Construction Productivity

by | Jan 26, 2011

From time to time I have guest posts and today, since many of my readers are contractors, we’re going to hear from Emma Martin who writes for CB Structures, a family owned construction and engineering company. She is going to share her insights on ways to improve productivity. Enjoy.

5 Ways to Improve Construction Productivity

One of the major setbacks for any construction project is a loss of productivity that results in delays and loss of funds. And yet, this type of occurrence is largely considered par for the course on most build sites. While many would be quick to attribute holdups to lazy workers or inadequate supervision, it is far more common for bad planning or outright ignorance to muck up the works.

Here are five ways you can avoid delays, deal with problem areas, and get your construction project on track for timely completion.

  1. A dependable foreman. You can’t just leave a construction crew to police their own activities. Like any job, you need a manager on site to ensure that work is progressing on schedule, jump in if help is needed, report to higher-ups, and basically do whatever is necessary to promote an efficient work environment. You’ll need someone with experience (a background in skilled labor is just as useful as previous management) who is reliable and trustworthy. This is absolutely essential to the success of any construction project.
  2. Incentives. Employees who are paid well and have a stake in the completion of the structure may be more likely to give it their all. In short, you need to offer competitive wages for your crew (you could even consider benefits in addition to your site insurance since the risks of accident and injury in this profession are high). You may also want to consider giving a bonus upon completion or sale of the property as a way to get your workers in gear. Just be sure to keep an eye on quality.
  3. Training. In some cases, both quality of work and productivity can be gained by putting up the money to ensure that your crew (and supervisors) are properly trained. Let’s face it, construction is often a profession that is entered into without much formal education (anyone can swing a hammer, right?). By requiring your crew to sign up for instruction in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing (for example), you can ensure that they do the job right the first time, effectively cutting back on construction time and saving money down the road.
  4. Planning. The most common cause of stoppage in construction is waiting, and it is often due to improper planning. While there will be days when weather and other factors beyond your control compromise your crew’s ability to continue work.  However, there is also a portion of waiting time that is directly associated with poor planning. Whether necessary equipment is unavailable, materials are in transit, or there simply aren’t enough people working to ensure that a project is completed on schedule, poor planning is likely the root of the problem.
  5.  Security. Theft at construction sites is fairly common, especially when materials are left unguarded and out in the open. Instead of setting up a fence that anyone with four usable limbs can bypass, hire a security firm to provide a night-guard so that expensive copper pipes and lumber don’t simply get up and walk off the site, costing you both materials and labor.

Emma Martin writes for CB Structures, a family owned construction and engineering company that specializes in garage buildings and pole building design.


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