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Enhancing Construction Team Productivity

Cynthia Cline
May 3, 2024

Addressing roadblocks to productivity in construction is a vital element of optimizing a team’s efficiency and performance. Sometimes, however, despite all efforts, obstacles crop up and prevent construction teams from working to their full potential. The following productivity roadblocks and tips can illuminate potential causes for suboptimal team performance and offer viable solutions.

Before reviewing strategies for improvement, briefly examine some common pitfalls that undermine productivity on the worksite. By identifying and resolving these issues that negatively impact project progress and outcomes, management can look forward to a more cohesive team and enhanced project productivity.

Common Productivity Roadblocks

To boost construction team productivity, it is useful to look for typical issues that cause bottlenecks and other problems that impact the team’s productivity. In some cases, identifying and resolving these issues can increase productivity without any additional steps. Common issues include:

  1. Poor planning: This can cause various delays and inefficiencies in the work process
  2. Lack of communication: Poor communication or unavailability of effective communication channels can lead to errors and confusion
  3. Unexpected delays: Bad weather conditions, supply chain disruptions, and other unforeseen events can disrupt schedules and slow down progress
  4. Equipment malfunctions: Construction work can come to a temporary, unexpected halt when key equipment breaks down or machinery malfunctions
  5. Creep in project scope: While this could mean more revenue in some cases, changes or additions to a project scope can increase costs and lead to delays
  6. Under-staffing: A team that is short on workers will suffer from strained resources and prolonged timelines for completing projects
  7. Quality control issues: Poor materials or workmanship can trigger costly reworking and project delays
  8. Safety incidents: Safety violations and accidents on the construction site can damage the team’s morale and bring work to a halt
  9. Conflicts in priorities: Competing projects or disagreement on work priorities can stretch a team’s resources and slow down productivity
  10. Disengagement: Low morale and lack of motivation among construction team members can have significant negative impacts on productivity

Tips to Enhance Construction Project Productivity

Construction firms can resolve these issues by consistently applying various effective strategies to enhance project outcomes. These strategies can also maintain or improve team motivation and morale, and the following 10 tips provide a starting point for action.

1. Clear Communication

Communication goes a long way toward clearing up issues and misunderstandings when it takes place regularly. To increase regular communication, review existing communication channels and look for ways to increase communication quality. Some sources say that poor or miscommunications are the root cause of 52% of rework projects in the construction industry. Consider providing training to staff on how to listen effectively and communicate clearly. Establish a clear project chain of command, standardize communication channels, and eliminate confusion and inefficiency.

For ongoing communication improvement, implement regular meetings, such as before work each morning, to brief the team and discuss project updates, goals, and expectations.

2. Goal Setting and KPIs

Setting clear goals and achievable project milestones will keep the team motivated and focused on outcomes. Combine this step with improved communication, and expect to boost construction team productivity. Take things a step further by establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance and project success and discussing them at team and stakeholder meetings. Set target completion dates for each milestone and celebrate with the team as each milestone is achieved.

3. Training and Development

Training programs can enhance the team’s skill level and knowledge and convey that they are a valued asset. Invest in team members by setting up or arranging seminars and workshops to educate them on the latest construction techniques and safety protocols. Make training an ongoing process for team members and managers to refresh old knowledge while keeping up with new developments.

4. Optimize Resources

Focus on effectively allocating resources such as manpower, materials, and equipment to minimize delays and unnecessary costs. To avoid idle time, use a scheduling system such as software to optimize the process. Say that a construction team is working on a project that involves building a new structure and pool renovation at a vacation resort.

By strategically scheduling tasks and coordinating the timelines with all team members, the project manager ensures the pool resurfacing crew is efficiently utilized elsewhere while concrete pouring, landscaping, and other activities occur. This approach minimizes idle time and maximizes resources, boosting construction team productivity and overall project performance.

5. Embrace New Technology

Implement software for construction job management and consider other tech-driven tools to make work more efficient and consistent. Consider implementing Building Information Modeling (BIM) software to make coordination easier and more successful and to reduce design and construction errors. Consider using other tech such as drones for surveying, wearable devices for worker safety and monitoring, and augmented-reality software to better visualize spaces and project development.

6. Regular Feedback

Provide team members constructive feedback on what they have been doing well and areas for improvement or growth. Give specifics so individuals clearly understand expectations rather than ambiguous, constantly changing expectations that are hard to meet. Schedule short reviews once per month to review performance and course-correct as needed. Performance issues that build up or go unaddressed for months can create resentment among team members and dampen morale and motivation.

7. Safety Measures

Prioritize and train the team on safety protocols and measures to prevent worksite accidents and potential downtime. Conduct regular inspections and consider appointing a team member to oversee safety compliance at each job site.

8. Delegate Tasks

Know each team member’s expertise and strengths and delegate tasks accordingly. For specific job tasks, assign a lead foreman for oversight so the project manager can focus on overall project coordination.

9. Plan Effectively

Build details into project plans and schedules, allowing the team to plan for the future, avoid or minimize delays, and maximize productivity. Solicit input from all stakeholders and highlight the activities that make up the project’s critical path to completion.

10. Build a Collaborative Team

Build a work environment that encourages team members to work together effectively and efficiently. Some firms organize events, such as a “Construction Olympics,” where teams compete against each other for fun on various construction-type challenges. This strategy can help boost construction team productivity and morale and encourage teamwork. Additionally, studies have shown that when team members are allowed short coffee-type breaks to recharge, they come back refocused and re-energized, which improves teamwork and productivity.

We Can Help Optimize Your Projects

Enhanced productivity can take place when roadblocks are addressed and strategies are put in place to maximize the team’s efforts. Every step to increase productivity, regardless of the project type, can contribute to improved outcomes and bring the team closer to achieving project success and client satisfaction. The experts at West Coast Deck can help optimize your project by providing expert waterproofing and other deck-related services. Contact us today to see how we can help!