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  • Deep Parikh

Top reasons for Poor Construction Labour Productivity

Objectives of the Blog

  • Understanding the reasons for poor labour productivity

  • Learning the factors that affect construction labour efficiency

  • Importance of work activity planning

  • Reporting systems for labour cost productivity analysis

Construction, civil engineering, project sites, software tools, project management, planning, scheduling, cost control, project controls, labour productivity, daily planning, event records, building & construction, infrastructure, craft, bar benders, carpenters, unskilled, masons The term labour is used for any kind of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled person on a construction project. These workforces are paid wages, fringes such as Provident Funds (PF), insurance (ESIC) and workman’s compensation. The contractor has to provide supervision to manage these workforces. This topic discusses the management of :

  • Labour Productivity Labour productivity is the rate at which a construction task/activity is executed. It means the output of work executed per unit of labour. Various factors that affect productivity rates are:

  • Proper supervision Proper supervision helps in effective and efficient task execution. Without improper project supervision, a lot of activities will go unnoticed, unchecked, un-approved and will not be performed per specification or standards. This will lead to bad quality jobs and cause rework and unnecessary waste of labour time and material wastages.

  • Housekeeping A clean construction site helps motivate people in performing tasks efficiently. It also helps keep material in good conditions, helping improve quality, reducing rework. The cost of keeping a site clean is much less than the loss of time hours associated with accidents and safety-related issues.

  • Lack of material availability Lack of material at project sites stops activities at one location and starting at another. In some cases, there is a re-handling of material involved. This reduces productivity, increases material wastages, and time is wasted in re-planning. Careful planning should be done to provide material promptly, in required amounts, and at a proper activity location.

  • Poor Jobsite layout Having a store, material layout, labour resting sheds and /or toilets at proper locations helps the easy movement of the labour force. Improper laying yards leads to movement of material long distance. This wastes equipment usage times and labour working hours are wasted.

  • Poorly trained workforce As technology changes, new types of equipment, tools, shuttering material, scaffolding material is available. Proper training ensures the efficient use of these materials and proper handling. Trained labour uses better techniques in performing work activities, follows proper safety procedures, and uses efficient planning methods that overall improves productivity.

  1. Inadequate weather conditions – lighting, heat, ventilation Weather affects some construction material such as concrete and mortar. Heat, cold, poor lighting effects slow down the speed of work performance. Anticipating bad weather, such as in monsoon season, and planning work activities accordingly helps reduce impacts. Flexibility in working times, such as longer lunch breaks in summers, can drastically improve labour output. Execution of work in a cooler time of the day, such as concreting early morning, should be encouraged. Temporary roads with gravel roads and adequate drainage, sheds for activities such as reinforcement cutting and bending, should be planned.

  • Accidents and unsafe conditions (https://youtu.be/loQ9Dbsy2ag) Unsafe conditions make labour slow and caution while performing tasks, reducing productivity. The work is put on hold, and a lot of inspections post a safety accident takes place, all affecting productivity and labour motivation.

  • Untimely Design Decisions and Changes: The momentum of work gets disrupted due to design hold, changes, and late decisions. Changes stop work mid-way, producing confusion. This demoralizes labour and reduces output. The drawings should be properly studied before being issued for construction execution.


  • Poor drawings and lack of communication: Poor drawings lead to hold off-work activities and/or rework. This will slow down productivity. Proper drawings help prevent shortages of material and improve the planning of usages of proper tools and equipment. To improve productivity, the above-listed issues should be communicated and discussed.

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