Is Productivity Declining Across the Construction Industry?

It’s easy to look at your staff and determine if work is getting done, but when it comes to the construction industry as a whole, that can be more complex. But Science Daily recently reported that a research team from Aarhus University has connected 40 years of productivity data from the industry with the work getting done.

Unfortunately, the results prove that productivity in construction has declined since the 1970s. “Since 1972, we’ve continuously gotten less and less out of every hour of work,” commented Hasse Neve, carpenter and researcher in construction industry productivity at the Department of Engineering at the university.

“Construction sites have simply become less and less efficient because more time is spent on non-value adding work,” Neve told Science Daily. “Ultimately, this means that we spend more and more working hours on a single construction job. Therefore, our contractors do not earn as much money on construction as they could.”

Neve placed the responsibility for this largely on construction management, as opposed to builders who can influence how a site operates and how efficiently work is completed. But to improve rates, “The construction management team will need to use the right tools and competences and dedicate themselves to the task,” he commented.

These tools include lean construction methods, which “are basically all about eliminating waste,” Neve told Science Daily. “It is therefore crucial that the construction management [is] trained in lean construction and that extra resources are added to both implementation and support throughout the project.”

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