Construction Industry Productivity on the Rise, but There’s Room for Improvement

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff October 25, 2006

The results of FMI’s latest survey on contractor productivity indicate that 54% of respondents think that productivity has improved in the past few years, while only 47% had claimed improved productivity when this question was asked two years ago. The survey examines contractor practices that affect productivity and makes recommendations for improvement in productivity management.

According to Scott Kimpland, FMI director and author of the survey, “When we look at the potential impact that a 5%-10% labor cost savings could have on profitability and the fact that that less than 30% of contractors have a formal plan or strategy to improve productivity, it is surprising that more contractors have not made productivity a higher priority in their business.” Key findings of FMI’s 2006-2007 Contractor Productivity Survey indicate that:

  • 80% of respondents believed they could save a minimum of 5% of their annual field labor costs through better management.

  • Aging field management continues to be a concern in the construction industry.

  • 78% of the field managers surveyed are over the age of 35, and more than half are over 45.

  • 45% of respondents had between 1% and 24% Spanish-speaking workers.

  • Daily goal setting was being used only about 26% of the time.

The survey results indicated that the greatest external challenges to productivity improvement were:

  • Poor quality of plans and specs

  • Poor coordination by owners general contractors, and/or construction managers

  • Unrealistic schedule demands

  • Slow responses from other members of the team (designers, customers, general contractors, and/or construction managers)

  • Lack of available and qualified crafts people

To obtain a copy of FMI’s 2006-2007 Contractor Productivity Survey Results , contact Phil Warner, FMI marketing coordinator, at 919-785-9357 or by e-mail at .