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Measuring and Improving the Productivity of the U.S. Construction Industry: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities



Robert E. Chapman, David T. Butry


Although the construction industry is a major component of the U.S. economy, it has experienced a prolonged period of decline in productivity. Due to the critical lack of measurement methods, however, the magnitude of the productivity problem in the construction industry is largely unknown. To address these deficiencies, efforts are underway that focus on the measurement of construction productivity at three levels: task, project, and industry. This white paper discusses how such measures can be developed, how they are related to the use of information and automation technologies and construction processes over the life of the project, and how to build on several ongoing collaborative efforts aimed at improving the efficiency, competitiveness, and innovation of the construction industry. The paper concludes with a discussion of the role that the summer 2008 National Academies Workshop can play in bringing together key construction industry stakeholders to identify and prioritize activities that have the greatest potential for improving the productivity of the U.S. construction industry over the next 20 years.


building economics, construction industry performance, measurement science, productivity


Chapman, R. and Butry, D. (2008), Measuring and Improving the Productivity of the U.S. Construction Industry: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities, Other, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed May 28, 2024)


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Created July 17, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017