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Unformatted text preview: Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry Committee on Advancing the Competitiveness and Productivity of the U.S. Construction Industry, National Research Council ISBN: 0-309-14192-3, 122 pages, 6 x 9, (2009) This free PDF was downloaded from: Visit the National Academies Press online, the authoritative source for all books from the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council: • Download hundreds of free books in PDF • Read thousands of books online, free • Sign up to be notified when new books are published • Purchase printed books • Purchase PDFs • Explore with our innovative research tools Thank you for downloading this free PDF. 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Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry Committee on Advancing the Productivity and Competitiveness of the U.S. Industry Workshop Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report was supported by Sponsor Award No. SB134106Z0011 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-14191-8 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-14191-5 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, . Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry COMMITTEE ON ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND PRODUCTIVITY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY THEODORE C. KENNEDY, BE&K, Inc. (retired), Birmingham, Alabama, Chair PARVIZ DANESHGARI, MCA, Inc., Flint, Michigan PATRICIA D. GALLOWAY, Pegasus-Global Holdings, Inc., Cle Elum, Washington JAMES O. JIRSA, University of Texas, Austin BEHROKH KHOSHNEVIS, University of Southern California, Los Angeles FENIOSKY PEÑA-MORA, Columbia University, New York, New York BENEDICT SCHWEGLER, JR., Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development, Glendale, California DAVID A. SKIVEN, General Motors Corporation (retired), Brighton, Michigan JORGE A. VANEGAS, Texas A&M University, College Station NORBERT W. YOUNG, JR., McGraw-Hill Construction, New York, New York Staff LYNDA STANLEY, Study Director HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator iv Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry BOARD ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE CONSTRUCTED ENVIRONMENT DAVID J. NASH, Dave Nash and Associates, Birmingham, Alabama, Chair JESUS de la GARZA, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg BRIAN ESTES, U.S. Navy (retired), Williamsburg, Virginia LUCIA GARSYS, Hillsborough County, Florida THEODORE C. KENNEDY, BE&K, Inc. (retired), Birmingham, Alabama PETER MARSHALL, Dewberry Company (retired), Norfolk, Virginia JAMES PORTER, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (retired), Wilmington, Delaware E. SARAH SLAUGHTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge WILLIAM WALLACE, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York Staff GARY FISCHMAN, Director LYNDA STANLEY, Senior Program Officer KEVIN LEWIS, Senior Program Officer HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator LAURA TOTH, Program Assistant v Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry Acknowledgments The authoring committee acknowledges the significant contributions made by all of the workshop participants, who willingly and enthusiastically volunteered their time and ideas. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Jack Buffington, University of Arkansas, G. Edward Gibson, University of Alabama, Paul Gilbert, Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas, Inc. (retired), Fletcher “Bud” Griffis, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Alex Ivanikiw, Barton Malow Company, John Kunz, Stanford University, Egon Larsen, Air Products Inc., James Porter, E.I. DuPont de Nemours Company (retired), Michael Quinlan, Sandia National Laboratories, Miroslaw Skibniewski, University of Maryland, and Steve Thomas, Construction Industry Institute. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Lloyd Duscha, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (retired). Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. vi Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry Contents SUMMARY 1 1 BACKGROUND Characteristics of the Construction Industry, 10 Measuring Construction Productivity, 15 Statement of Task, 17 9 2 OBSTACLES TO IMPROVING CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTIVITY Limited Use of Automated Equipment and Information Technologies, 20 Attracting and Retaining Skilled Workers and Recent Graduates, 23 Lack of Effective Performance Measures, 24 Lack of Research, 25 19 3 OPPORTUNITIES FOR BREAKTHROUGH IMPROVEMENTS IN THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Identification of Activities That Could Lead to Breakthrough Improvements, 28 Widespread Deployment and Use of Interoperable Technology Applications, 29 Improved Job-Site Efficiency Through More Effective Interfacing of People, Processes, Materials, Equipment, and Information, 30 Greater Use of Prefabrication, Preassembly, Modularization, and Off-Site Fabrication Techniques and Processes, 32 Innovative, Widespread Use of Demonstration Installations, 33 Effective Performance Measurement to Drive Efficiency and Support Innovation, 34 27 4 IMPLEMENTING ACTIVITIES FOR BREAKTHROUGH IMPROVEMENTS: RECOMMENDED ACTIONS Driving Change Strategically Through Collaboration, 37 Recommendations for Moving Forward, 39 37 REFERENCES 41 APPENDIXES A Biosketches of Committee Members B Workshop Agenda and List of Participants C An International Perspective on Construction Competitiveness and Productivity, by Carl Haas, University of Waterloo D Technical Change and Its Impact on Construction Productivity, by Paul Goodrum, University of Kentucky E Creating and Cultivating the Next Generation of Construction Professionals, by Jeffrey Russell, University of Wisconsin-Madison vii Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. 47 51 55 76 95 Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry Summary In 2008, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requested that the National Research Council (NRC) appoint an ad hoc committee of experts to provide advice for advancing the competitiveness and productivity of the U.S. construction industry. The committee’s specific task was to plan and conduct a workshop to identify and prioritize technologies, processes, and deployment activities that have the greatest potential to advance significantly the productivity and competitiveness of the capital facilities sector of the U.S. construction industry in the next 20 years.1 Because the concept of productivity can be difficult to define, measure, and communicate, the committee determined that it would focus on ways to improve the efficiency of the capital facilities sector of the construction industry. It defines efficiency improvements as ways to cut waste in time, costs, materials, energy, skills, and labor. The committee believes that improving efficiency will also improve overall productivity and help individual construction firms produce more environmentally sustainable projects and become more competitive. To gather data for this task, the Committee on Advancing the Competitiveness and Productivity of the U.S. Construction Industry Workshop commissioned three white papers by industry analysts and held a 2-day workshop in November 2008 to which 50 additional experts were invited. A range of activities that could improve construction productivity were identified in the papers, at the workshop, and by the committee itself. From among these, the committee identified five interrelated activities that could lead to breakthrough improvements in construction efficiency and productivity in 2 to 10 years, in contrast to 20 years. If implemented throughout the capital facilities sector, these activities could significantly advance construction efficiency and improve the quality, timeliness, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of construction projects. Following are the five activities, which are discussed in the section below entitled “Opportunities for Breakthrough Improvements.” 1. Widespread deployment and use of interoperable technology applications,2 also called Building Information Modeling (BIM); 2. Improved job-site efficiency through more effective interfacing of people, processes, materials, equipment, and information; 3. Greater use of prefabrication, preassembly, modularization, and off-site fabrication techniques and processes; 4. Innovative, widespread use of demonstration installations; and 5. Effective performance measurement to drive efficiency and support innovation. The five activities are interrelated, and the implementation of each will enable that of the others. Deploying these activities so that they become standard operating procedures in the capital facilities sector will require a strategic, collaborative approach led by those project owners who will most directly benefit from lower-cost, higher-quality sustainable projects, namely, the large corporations and government agencies that regularly invest hundreds of millions of dollars in buildings and infrastructure 1 The capital facilities sector includes commercial (including high-rise and multifamily residential), industrial, and infrastructure projects. It does not include single-family and low-rise residential projects. 2 Interoperability is the ability to manage and communicate electronic data among owners, clients, contractors, and suppliers, and across a project’s design, engineering, operations, project management, construction, financial, and legal units. 1 Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry 2 ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY in order to conduct their operations. However, these owners cannot effect widespread change without the collaboration and support of large contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers, and researchers. The committee suggests a path forward for implementing the changes required to advance the competitiveness and efficiency of the U.S. construction industry significantly in the 21st century. BACKGROUND The quality of life of every American relies in part on the products of the U.S. construction industry—houses, office buildings, factories, shopping centers, hospitals, airports, universities, refineries, roads, bridges, power plants, water and sewer lines, and other infrastructure. Construction products— buildings and infrastructure—provide shelter, water, and power, and they support commerce, education, recreation, mobility, and connectivity. They also have significant environmental impacts, annually accounting for 40 percent of primary energy use in the United States and 40 percent of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions linked to global climate change. Each year, new construction projects in this country account for 30 percent of the raw materials and 25 percent of the water used, and for 30 percent of the materials placed in landfills (NSTC, 1995). The construction industry itself is a major generator of jobs and contributes an important component of the gross domestic product (GDP). In 2007, almost 11 million people, about 8 percent of the total U.S. workforce, worked in construction. The value of the buildings and infrastructure that they constructed was estimated to be $1.16 trillion (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008a). The construction industry accounted for $611 billion, or 4.4 percent of the GDP, more than many other industries, including information, arts and entertainment, utilities, agriculture, and mining (BEA, 2009). Construction’s portion of the GDP would increase to 10 percent if the equipment, furnishings, and energy required to complete buildings were included (NSTC, 2008). Construction productivity—how well, how quickly, and at what cost buildings and infrastructure can be constructed—directly affects prices for homes and consumer goods and the robustness of the national economy. Construction productivity will also affect the outcomes of national efforts to renew existing infrastructure systems; to build new infrastructure for power from renewable resources; to develop high-performance “green” buildings; and to remain competitive in the global market. Changes in building design, construction, and renovation, and in building materials and materials recycling, will be essential to the success of national efforts to minimize environmental impacts, reduce overall energy use, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (NSTC, 2008). However, industry analysts differ on whether construction industry productivity is improving or declining. Some analyses for the industry as a whole indicate that productivity has been declining for 30 years or more. Other studies document improved productivity for construction projects and construction tasks (e.g., the laying of pipe or concrete). One note of agreement is that there is significant room for improvement. Studies focusing on construction efficiency, in contrast to productivity, have documented 25 to 50 percent waste in coordinating labor and in managing, moving, and installing materials (Tulacz and Armistead, 2007); losses of $15.6 billion per year due to the lack of interoperability (NIST, 2004); and transactional costs of $4 billion to $12 billion per year to resolve disputes and claims associated with construction projects (FFC, 2007). A key message of the present report is that advances in available and emerging technologies offer significant opportunities to improve construction efficiency substantially in the 21st century and to help meet other national challenges, such as environmental sustainability. Copyright ...
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  • Fall '19
  • National Academy of Sciences, U.S. Construction Industry, Competitiveness and Efficiency

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