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Measuring and improving U.S. construction productivity



Robert E. Chapman, David T. Butry, Allison L. Huang


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 U.S. 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. We discuss 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 U.S. construction industry. We identify and prioritize activities that have the greatest potential for improving the productivity of the U.S. construction industry over the next 20 years. These activities include, but not limited to, interoperable technology applications via building information modelling (BIM) and effective performance movement to drive efficiency and support innovation. The paper concludes with a vision for the future built around a suite of standards for measuring tasks and project-level productivity, a database of task and project-level metrics, guidelines for efficient use of BIM and modularization techniques, and industry-level metrics. Leaders in the U.S. construction industry are aware of the successes and benefits that have accrued from the investments in measuring and monitoring construction safety and can envision the potential for similar improvements in construction productivity.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the 2010 CIB World Congress
Conference Dates
May 10-13, 2010
Conference Location
Salford Quays
Conference Title
2010 CIB World Congress


Building economics, construction, economic analysis, information technology, labor productivity, metrics, performance measurement, productivity


Chapman, R. , Butry, D. and Huang, A. (2010), Measuring and improving U.S. construction productivity, Proceedings of the 2010 CIB World Congress, Salford Quays, -1, [online], (Accessed April 21, 2024)
Created May 10, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017