Improving Productivity In Construction Workers

Submitted by: Matt Carpenter

Advisor: Dr. Tulio Sulbaran —  (601) 266 6419

Date: 11/03/03


2.   Project Objective

The objective of this project is to implement a set of procedures derived from research of total quality management programs, kaizen, ISO 9000 techniques and similar ideas and apply them to a the concrete division of Yates Construction.  The same practices that have been found to improve productivity in other industries will be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the construction industry.  Implementing total quality management programs and similar ideas are not new concepts, as these methods have been around since Deming first introduced them in the 1950s in Japan (Chase 1993).  Even though that these approaches have been successful, in improving productivity in manufacturing companies, (Cheser 1998) construction companies from around the world have only recently begun limited use of these principles (Henry 2000, Jaafari 1996, Dissanayak & Kumaraswamy 2000, Fong & Pheng 2002, Al-Atiq & Bubshait 1999, Bray 1996).  “However, there still exist significant barriers to implementing TQM in the construction industry (Lahndt 1999).”  These barriers are areas that need to be overcome in order for TQM procedures to have a significant impact on productivity in the construction industry.  This project will research ideas that will overcome the barriers and have been proven to increase productivity in other industries. 


Research of these different topics will be conducted and ideas from them will be integrated to form a set of procedures.  One area that will be further researched is teamwork, which is the basis of the Japanese method of quality management called kaizen, and has “resulted in dramatic gains in productivity (Cheser1998).”  Another area to be investigated for future procedures in construction will be ISO 9000 techniques.  In construction companies from other countries that have implemented a form of ISO reported improvements in productivity (Dissanayaka & Kumaraswamy 2000).  These are two examples of how total quality management techniques have proven to improve productivity, once these techniques are tailored to the construction industry, they will be implemented in a real construction setting.