Improving Motivation and Productivity on Large Projects

by John D. Borcherding, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Architectural and Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Texas, Austin, Tex.,
Nancy Morse Samelson, Research Assoc.; Civ. Engrg. Dept., Stanford Univ., Stanford, Calif.,
Scott Morse Sebastian, Grad. Research Asst.; Dept. of Architectural and Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Texas, Austin, Tex.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 1, Pg. 73-89

Document Type: Journal Paper


Preliminary findings of a Department of Energy sponsored study employing questionnaires and interviews with over 600 craftsmen and foremen from five nuclear power plant construction projects indicated 20 to 25 lost manhours per week per man due to delays resulting from material and tool availability, overcrowded work areas, crew interfacing, inspection, and instructions. Questionnaire and interview information is compared with project characteristics like union versus open shop labor, geographical distribution, percent completion, and type of contract. Furthermore, survey data are compared to published work sampling figures and absenteeism and turnover percentages. If large projects are experiencing only one or a combination of the problems identified, management could consider the following recommendations to improve motivation and productivity: (1)Providing adequate design lead time; (2)improving planning and scheduling at the workface; and (3)improving project communications with an owner-contractor-labor committee.

Subject Headings: Power plants | Motivation | Productivity | Nuclear power | Construction materials | Project delay | Construction equipment | Inspection

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