Productivity, Quality and saftey

Productivity, Quality and saftey - By George Berg and...

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By George Berg and Richard Dutmer PRODUCTIVITY, QUALITY AND SAFETY A Relationship for Success Construction productivity can be improved and projects made more profitable if the installation quality is increased and jobsites are safer. At first glance, the relationship between pro- ductivity, quality and safety may seem incidental and remote, but they are more interrelated than one might think. PRODUCTIVITY Construction labor in the field is a large part of the profitability equation and a major resource to many construction companies. Direct field labor is one of the largest components of the cost of construction. However, the managers of that resource, field supervisors, are often undertrained. Key areas for improvement of field supervisors include crew motivation—daily plan- ning, training of subordinates, manag- ing contract changes and communica- tion with owners, designers and other trade contractors. In addition, the studies performed by the Construction Industry Institute and FMI indicate that roughly one third (30 percent to 35 percent) of all field labor falls into the category of recoverable lost time—time that could have been productive if there had been better training, task instruction, under- standing of the quality standards and some system to observe and measure if the desired results are being achieved. Simply put, better management is needed. Again, training (how) and task instruc- tion (what) given in a clear unambigu- ous manner are essential. Procedures for putting the work in place must be discussed and detailed in daily plan- ning sessions. Then observation must be made to ensure the task is being car- ried out correctly. Measurement and reinforcement of the appropriate behaviors must also occur. Task instruc- 96 Construction Dimensions r April 1998
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tion, developing task procedures and making observations to reinforce work being accomplished according to plan is essential to productivity. QUALITY The quality of the initial installation of construction materials can be a key fac- tor in the profitability of many pro- jects. Making crafts people aware that they should accomplish their tasks according to a standard (e.g., the con- tract specifications) is an important aspect of getting the job done right. Pre-task planning, coordination of the materials, tools and equipment, proper instructions and trade or technical skills are critical to proper installation and, ultimately, the project’s success.
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