In most cases, it is not easy to quantify productivity in the realm of construction. The construction sector is one of those fields that experience an ever fluctuating environment. Whether it be weather, employee related issues or countless other unforeseen points of concern, managing productivity is an arduous and ever challenging endeavour.
There was a study done by Intergraph that illustrated EPCs suffer billions of dollars nationally as a by product of construction claims involving labor related issues alone. That is huge, to say the least. Even though there are many organizations collecting data on construction productivity (US Department of Labor, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Contractors Associations, independent contractors, universities, to name a few), this data is various and lacks consistency. Yet, one aspect that remains a constant through most research is the consequential impact of labor productivity.
So, what are some things that can be done to improve overall productivity, improve your bottomline, reduce workplace incidents and decrease the negative impact on the environment? Let us take a look at three simple hacks that can boost productivity.
1. Improve Project Planning
Planning is integral to anything we do. The lack thereof can prove disastrous and a nuisance at the very least. In the world of construction, we all know that planning is a very important ingredient in the mixture of project completion on schedule and within budget.
In order to become better at planning, data should be collected on previous construction projects in order to establish where the bulk of the issues reside. Is it poor timing in ordering materials? On who does this responsibility lie? Were there equipment failures or work related injuries that held things back? How can these issues be addressed? Collecting this data enables any of these issues to be addressed before the next project and find ways to formulate preemptive solutions.
2. Introduce Productivity Training
It should be a known fact that your supervisors can make or break any project. Are they knowledgeable enough to face the growing concerns of a modern EPC world? Do they have sufficient training to keep them up to date with new technologies and environmental regulations? Are they up to speed with local and federal regulations? All three of these aspects are ever evolving. What may have been the case last month could very well not be the case next month.
Most contractors see training employees only as far as making sure they know how to operate new pieces of equipment, as one example. How many implement training in productivity? And it is supervisors who are in the greatest need of this type of training. They need to start seeing outside the box and quit looking at things from a day-to-day view, always looking into the foreseeable future and trying to increase the likelihood that the project remains on schedule and within budget.
Furthermore, the construction industry as a whole should consider the merits of inviting design students to complete their internships on site. This will decrease conflicts between the designers and the contractors, not to mention bring a fresh mind to the design process.
3. Keep On Top of New Construction Technologies
There is a reason for technological development: to make our lives easier. Usually, technological advances come from a direct need from an industry. One of the biggest disruptions being caused by technology as a whole is the construction sector. Whether it is renewable energy disruption, better, longer lasting materials or innovative methods in the construction process, staying abreast of new technology is vital to sustainability.
One technology is 3D printing, which is changing the landscape, so to speak, on many fronts. From facial reconstruction to manmade coral reefs, 3D printing is paving the way for many new cool advances in technology. No other sector is being influenced greater by this disruptive technology than the EPC industry. In an article by Forbes entitled Printing The Future: The Last Bastion Of Blue Collar Labor Is About To Fall, it accounts for $9 trillion in revenues and six percent of the global GDP. Not only this, but 3D printing is making the entire construction process more time and cost efficient by reducing everything down to precise measurements. This means designers can create structures not thought possible before.
With fast evolving technology in the construction industry changing the way we design, plan, manage and build, becoming a more productive company is even easier than before. The three hacks above are not the complete picture by far, but they are a great place to start.
We at Sustainable pride ourselves helping our customers improve their bottom line, reduce workplace injury and environmental impact.