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Demonstrating Construction Productivity

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Best Zone Paper Competition

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.444.1 - 12.444.12



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Paper Authors

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Kris Mattila Michigan Technological University

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Ke Li Michican Technological University

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James Pocock U.S. Air Force Academy

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Demonstrating Construction Productivity

Kris G. Mattilaa, Ke Lia, and James Pocockb

a Michigan Technological University/bUnited States Air Force Academy


For many construction estimating and scheduling activities, it is generally accepted that two workers can perform a given task twice as fast as one worker. Similarly, four workers can perform the same task in a quarter of the time. While using ratios to modify labor productivity is generally accepted, it is also recognized that for certain tasks it will take longer than one-half as long for two workers to perform the task than it would take one worker. Likewise, it will take four workers longer than one-quarter of the time required for one worker. This loss of productivity can be illustrated using a simple card game that can be useful to explain the concepts. This paper discusses the card game, its similarities with construction and the results of its use in a classroom situation.


Predicting construction productivity is important but difficult. Sutermeister1 enumerated many factors that would affect worker productivity. He indicates that work is a social experience and most workers’ social needs can be fulfilled in a small work group. In small groups, workers can be influenced by several organization issues, such as the size of the group, the cohesiveness of the group and the goals of the group. In regards to the size factor, there is an ancient sociological generalization that, other factors being equal, the size of immediate work group is negatively correlated with productivity, job satisfaction, regular attendance, or industrial peace. Sutermeister states “This is due in part to the greater likelihood that primary relations (relations that are intimate, personal, inclusive, and experienced as spontaneous) are more likely to develop in small groups than in large groups. It is due in part also to the fact that the worker in the smaller group is likely to have more knowledge of the relations between effort and earnings, and this seems to increase his incentive to work.”1

Sanders and Thomas2 in their research on masonry crews developed curves of crew size and productivity. This research showed that for some construction activities, the productivity would not linearly increase when crew size increased even in a labor-intensive activity. These studies may not be easy for students to understand, especially those with limited work experience. An illustrative technique is needed to demonstrate the impact on productivity when crew size increases and to explain this change.

This paper uses the, Construction Productivity Card Game (CPCG) to illustrate the concept that productivity dose not increase in a linear manner with increased number of workers. The

Mattila, K., & Li, K., & Pocock, J. (2007, June), Demonstrating Construction Productivity Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3080

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