2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference
Traditional approach of evaluating the efficiency of labor-intensive construction operations compares actual with historical productivity, which provides only relative efficiency. As every project is unique in nature, it may not be a reliable and accurate practice because productivity cannot be easily judged by the data that was documented a decade or more ago. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the absolute efficiency. The study of the productivity frontier and optimal productivity presents an innovative frontier approach for measuring efficiency of construction operations by comparing actual versus optimal productivity. The productivity frontier is defined as a theoretical maximum production level per unit of time that could be achieved under perfect conditions, whereas optimal productivity is the sustainable highest level of productivity that may be achieved in the field under good management and typical field conditions. Such a new approach determines absolute efficiency by avoiding accumulation of the relative errors that exists in the traditional practice. The productivity frontier is a construct that acts as a benchmark to estimate optimal productivity. This research contributes to the body of knowledge by introducing a dual approach framework to estimate the labor productivity frontier and applying it in a case study on the “sheet metal duct sealing” task. The theoretical highest labor productivity for this task was 6.88 ducts per crew-hours. This research presents a decision-making framework for project managers that will help to improve the productivity level of labor-intensive operations by avoiding or minimizing the impact due to operational inefficiency factors.