Five Tips to Improve Construction Productivity

General Contractors
Subcontractors
March 9, 2022

The construction industry’s productivity “increase” is -0.32 percent per year, according to McKinsey, and project schedules and budgets are paying the price. 98% of all megaprojects slip by over 30%, and over 75% of big projects suffer cost overruns by 40% and more. With labor statistics showing many companies still feeling the effects of the pandemic, a labor shortage, and material delays and shortages, productivity is more important than ever to keep the construction sector alive and well.

We’ve put together five quick tips to help construction companies increase labor productivity, both in the field and the office.

1. Adopt technology

Construction is one of the least digitized industries. Part of that is due to the hands-on nature of construction project work, but even some of the most intensive tasks can be made easier through the use of technology. From robots that help install windows to software solutions, automation and construction technology can lead to productivity improvement in the field and the office. Construction bidding websites and general contractor software are a great way to automate and streamline internal processes. 

There’s a wide variety of construction management solutions available to contractors and construction workers looking to implement technology into their workflows to increase their productivity rate. Today, software solutions are available to help with:

  • Design Collaboration
  • Preconstruction/Bidding
  • Trade Coordination
  • Field Productivity
  • Project Management
2. Collaborate

The current contract structure for most construction projects and construction work leads to an adversarial relationship among project team members. Contractors see themselves as opposing forces with the design team and ownership. Contract language forces blame and responsibility down the chain to subcontractors and sub-subcontractors and suppliers. This often leads to finger-pointing and unnecessary claims.

Many project teams have found greater success in a collaborative approach where team members work together to complete construction projects. When members are assembled early in the project process, they have a greater chance of working together and coming up with creative solutions to project problems.

3. Improve training

With the current labor shortage in the industry and lack of young skilled workers able to work on a construction site, companies need to look to improve training programs to backfill their labor needs. Training can be provided within the company or through external partners, like unions and private construction schools, where students can learn construction safety tips and best practices for the industry. Proper training can also reduce construction site hazards and accidents.

Offering training to workers and potential employees helps with employee retention and improves the efficiency and quality of the work being provided.

4. Prefabricate

In a recent report, it was found that 70% of trade contractors recognized that prefabrication helped increase production, but only 14% used it to provide more than 50% of their work. A construction team needs to work together early in the project to identify potential prefabricated components that can be used to increase project efficiency.

Prefabrication can reduce the scheduled time for a project by up to half compared to traditional on-site construction methods, ultimately reducing inefficiency. This helps contractors take on more projects and earn more profits.

5. Communicate

In the Autodesk and Dodge report, 62% of general contractors said that lack of coordination and communication was a factor in reduced productivity. Maintaining communication on a job site among several project team members can be difficult, especially when companies struggle with their own internal communication. The need-to-know communication style used on most projects often leads to an overall lack of communication and increases adversarial relationships.

In construction, internal communications between the office, the field, and the job site are necessary to help prevent mistakes and meet critical deadlines. The more open communication a company has at all levels, the more successful the team will be in meeting their productivity goals.

Looking for a technology solution to help you find more projects to bid or more subcontractors? PlanHub is designed to meet the bidding needs of general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers. Contact us for a free demonstration.

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