Metrics and Tools for Measuring Construction Productivity: Technical and Empirical Considerations
Allison L. Huang, Robert E. Chapman, David T. Butry
Although the construction industry is a major component of the U.S. economy, it has experienced a perceived 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. The measurement problem is exacerbated by the fact that the construction industry is composed of four sectors that differ significantly in the outputs produced, firm size, and use of technology. The four sectors, which taken together define the construction industry, are residential, commercial/institutional, industrial, and infrastructure. This report describes efforts underway that focus on the measurement of construction productivity at three levels task, project, and industry and how such measurements can be developed. This report analyzes the measurement challenges associated with the development of meaningful measures of construction productivity at the task, project, and industry levels and establishes a framework for addressing those challenges. Specifically, this report identifies the metrics, tools, and data needed to move forward in collaboration with key construction industry stakeholders. Once produced, these metrics, tools, and data will help construction industry stakeholders make more cost-effective investments in productivity enhancing technologies and improved life-cycle construction processes; they will also provide stakeholders with new measurement and evaluation capabilities. Finally, this report lays the foundation for future research and for establishing key industry collaborations that will enable more meaningful measures of construction productivity to be produced at the task, project, and industry levels.