American Society of Civil Engineers

Relationship between Automation and Integration of Construction Information Systems and Labor Productivity

by Dong Zhai, (Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0281.), Paul M. Goodrum, (corresponding author), (Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, 151C Raymond Bldg., Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0281 E-mail:, Carl T. Haas, (Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ. of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.), and Carlos H. Caldas, (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil, Architectural and Environmental, Austin, TX.)

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 135, No. 8, August 2009, pp. 746-753, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Section Heading: Labor and Personnel Issues
Abstract: Information technology (IT) has been used to increase automation and integration of information systems on construction projects for over two decades. However, evidence that overall costs have been reduced or project performance has been improved with IT in construction is limited and mostly focused on application specific studies. A comprehensive understanding of the relationship between IT and project performance helps industry practitioners better understand the likely outcomes of implementation of IT application and likewise benefits researchers in improving the effectiveness in their IT development efforts. An opportunity to examine new evidence exists with the emergence of the Construction Industry Institute’s Benchmarking and Metrics database on construction productivity and practices. This article presents an analysis of that data to determine if there is a relationship between labor productivity and level of IT implementation and integration. Data from industrial construction projects are used to measure the relationships between the automation and integration of construction information systems with productivity. Using the independent sample t-test, the relationship was examined between jobsite productivity across four trades (concrete, structural steel, electrical, and piping) and the automation and integration of various work functions on the sampled projects. The results showed that construction labor productivity was positively related to the use of automation and integration on the sampled projects.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Construction management
Information technology (IT)