Construction productivity improvement by worker motivation and IT based communication
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AbstractFor decades, many researchers have reported the decline of construction productivity in North America. Much of this research has not been statistically validated and is over generalized. To apply the conclusions drawn from these studies to Alberta's commercial construction industry is not appropriate. Factors which distinguish Alberta's construction force include: geographical differences, constantly changing weather, the skill level of the labour force in Alberta, and the demand made on Albertan workers by the current economic situation. The research project described in this thesis is a collaborative work involving the six leading construction companies and three research organizations, which are all Canadian. Based on the recommendations of previous researchers and the suggestions of construction industry professionals, Phase A of the research focused on worker motivation, factors influencing worker skills and team spirit, and working efficiencies in the commercial construction industry of Calgary (Alberta). In Phase A of the research, 101 construction workers from the carpentry trade were observed, interviewed, and questionnaire surveyed. A theoretical model was developed in conjunction with the work of several experts in the field of motivation. A working efficiency chart has been developed as an outcome of observations of the participating construction workers. The factors which contribute to worker skills, training needs, and team spirit have been analyzed. The data analysis of Phase A of this research clearly revealed the inadequacy of communication on present construction projects; especially in the construction site environment. Hence, Phase B of the research was focused to improve on-site communication on construction projects. The researcher explored the possibility of adding an information technology (IT) based communication system for on-site operations. A thorough communication and IT needs analysis has been conducted by contacting all major stakeholders on IT based communication; construction managers, workers, and technology developers. Questionnaire surveys, interviews, workshops, and on-site observations were conducted. The research participants were receptive to the idea of establishing an Information Booth in actual site environment. The Information Booth was then pilot tested on construction sites for six weeks. Three rounds of questionnaire surveys, observations, and output measurements were conducted during this period.
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