The construction industry is one of the leaders in the world’s economy. In just the U.S. alone, the annual construction spending during January 2020 was recorded at $1,677 billion*1, which is 1.3% more than last month. Not only this, around 7% of the world’s population*2 is working in the construction industry.
Like all other businesses, the pandemic disrupted the construction industry, reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem. As a result, construction companies and contractors are looking for ways to maximize construction productivity and efficiency in construction in the most cost-effective ways possible without compromising quality.
This article outlines 15 strategic yet straightforward tips to improve construction productivity. After all, the ultimate goal is to embrace changes to achieve efficient construction productivity, lower costs and reduce waste without impacting the superior quality and profit.
Let’s dive into understanding the importance of efficiency in construction.
1. Improve Planning
It stands to reason that constructors must plan and prepare for various circumstances that might occur during the course of your project. Construction projects produce mountains of data that must be sorted, recorded, and analyzed adequately and competent workforce management, decisions, and processes.
2. Cost and Estimations
It’s no secret that all businesses, big or small, want to lower their operational costs. Research reveals that trimming costs directly impacts operational efficiency, as 30%*3 of cost-cutting strategies helped them achieve their goals.
To accurately gauge the cost of their construction project, builders must create detailed cost estimates, schedules, and construction plans. All of these can be easily be automated through cost estimation software.
3. Improve Documentation
Project data holds valuable data, which is vital to reach optimal levels of construction productivity. Accessing the project’s progress data helps builders make informed decisions, improve production, and reduce waste.
Plus, project management is simplified when documents are stored and shared in the cloud. Generally, a BIM (Building Information Modelling) software often offers a cloud document sharing feature enabling builders to optimize planning, designing, building, operating, and managing a construction project.
4. Centralize Team Management
There must be a centralized and efficient planning process to deliver resource management solutions, keep track of people, note project progress, record information, and allow efficient communication among all departments. Undoubtedly productive, resourceful, and streamlined planning helps construction managers to deliver high levels of construction productivity*4.
5. Improve Communication
Ensuring efficient and effective communication between all levels of the construction business is essential in ensuring operational efficiency.
Continuous communication help workers understand their role, minimize misunderstandings, and avoid operational errors. Enforcing a constant flow of information across architects, contractors, engineers, project managers, and construction workers helps businesses achieve optimal construction productivity.
6. Invest In Training
Even if your plan is immaculate and all your data is gathered in a centralized place, if you let unskilled employees handle it, the success of the entire construction project is at risk. Hence, it’s significant to invest in your workers with proper training.
Moreover, it helps the development of new skills, knowledge, and experience, ultimately impacting construction efficiency.
7. Establish Performance Measurements
Another essential thing in supporting laborers and employees from day one, regardless of their role, is teaching them data literacy. In other words, setting KPIs helps track performance, empower the workforce, enhance productivity, and realize construction goals.
Certainly, performance metrics maximize operational efficiency and strengthen employees’ morale by acknowledging their hard work and contribution. Not to forget set incentives such as bonuses that help employees reach their KPIs’ goals.
In a nutshell, KPIs boost growth, performance, and employee engagement.
8. Set Realistic Goals
Prominent players in the construction and materials industries have ambitious targets but, in the end, fail to accomplish them. Hence, it’s crucial to set realistic and attainable construction goals. The goal-setting process usually begins with recognizing the problem and evaluating construction project situations*5.
Evaluate the available resources and set realistic goals, especially when meeting project deadlines. Leverage field data into project management platform to accurately establish baselines.
Unrealistic goals put too much pressure on your employees, and then they start to make mistakes and increase stress. The ultimate goal of every project is to ensure client satisfaction by delivering superior customer service and quality.
9. Introduce Project Management Software
Construction companies can achieve operational efficiencies and productivity by integrating an all-in-one construction project and equipment management software. With project management software, your company stays ahead of its competitors, reaches high levels of efficiencies, and views the project’s status from its initial stages to completion. Moreover, it simplifies and digitalizes your construction operations, achieves efficient communication across all levels, and assists with project proficiency.
10. Take Advantage Of Digital Technologies
Alternatively, construction companies must adopt modern digital technologies to boost operation efficiency through a myriad of functionalities and platforms. Many of these programs, like BIM, Virtual Tour Software, etc., eliminate time-consuming tasks with a fully-integrated project management system.
RICOH360 Tours makes it possible to remotely manage your construction projects, with 360-degree view. With such a tool you can reduce your cost/time to travel to the actual sites.
11. Try Prefabrication And Modular Construction
Modular construction has become popular in the construction industry allowing companies to reduce costs. Prefabrication involves assembling structures on a location other than the actual construction site. It’s quicker to fit modular and prefabricated buildings when compared to on-site construction.
The time, wages, materials, and resources spent on modular buildings are a lot more cost-effective.
12. Maintain Equipment
Maintain and continuously service the construction equipment to maximize asset administration. Informed construction equipment management is one of the best ways to improve construction efficiency levels.
The construction machines are not only expensive but quite vital for carrying out major construction-related tasks such as digging, loading, transporting, and hauling. Hence, continuously monitor the equipment’s overall performance to optimize fleet management*6.
13. Enhance Safety
Another huge aspect of operational efficiency is safety, without which the project could experience delays, cost overruns, and lower construction productivity. Yes, the construction industry is dangerous, hence, one must pay special attention to make the worksite safer.
Remember, safety training is not a one-time thing; it’s an investment that pays off tenfold. So, raise awareness regarding safety and possible risks. Once they have this knowledge, accidents at the workplace will reduce significantly.
14. Organize The Site And Update Inventory
Take every effort to keep the construction site organized as it improves productivity. Every construction site is filled with debris, equipment, and other extra material where accidents are waiting to happen.
Keep it organized to reduce machinery damage, wasted time in searching, and lowered constructional operational efficiency.
By keeping an updated inventory, you achieve better inventory management forecast future purchases and investments.
15. Have Shorter Contracts
Construction contracts are usually quite long, filled with legal jargon, so consider shortening the length of your contracts to better communicate the main idea with your team. Clear and concise contracts are the key to improving operational efficiency in the construction industry.
It’s crucial for construction businesses, builders, contractors, and other relevant parties to commit to maximizing their construction efficiency if they want to keep their construction productivity levels high.
Certainly, the conditions, construction sites, and business processes are continuously unpredictable and constantly in flux; it’s time to maximize new strategic plans. The above 15 tips can help you improve operational construction efficiency.
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*1…U.S. Census Bureau, MONTHLY CONSTRUCTION SPENDING, JANUARY 2022 https://www.census.gov/construction/c30/pdf/release.pdf
*2…McKinsey Global Institute, REINVENTING CONSTRUCTION: A ROUTE TO HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY, February 2017 https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/business%20functions/operations/our%20insights/reinventing%20construction%20through%20a%20productivity%20revolution/mgi-reinventing-construction-executive-summary.pdf
*3…PwC, Increase operational efficiency https://www.pwc.co.uk/issues/data-analytics/issues/analytics-to-run-operations-more-efficiently.html
*4…Anastasios Koutsogiannis, How a large residential contractor reduced building time 5x by moving their schedule to the cloud https://www.letsbuild.com/blog/how-a-large-residential-contractor-reduced-building-time
*5…Dye, L. D. (2010). Goal setting and achievement thinking—the key to project and professional success. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2010—North America, Washington, DC. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/goal-setting-achievement-thinking-success-6535
*6…Valerie A. Peters, Dawn Manley, An examination of fuel consumption trends in construction projects https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257126334_An_examination_of_fuel_consumption_trends_in_construction_projects