Contestable Concepts of Construction Productivity

The University of New South Wales
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Australasian Universities Building Educators Association (AUBEA), 37th Annual International Conference: Proceedings, 2012, pp. 706 - 715
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The objective of this paper is to categorise the explanations for the low rate of productivity growth found in previous research and thus improve our understanding of the analysis of construction productivity. Despite the efforts made by governments, industry organisations and firms in many countries, the rate of growth in construction productivity as measured by national statistical agencies has consistently been low compared to many other industries. Research into explanations for low construction productivity growth has found a wide range of factors and possible causes that may be at work, and there is no agreement on the most important of these. Explanations include: the methodology of productivity analysis and measurement; regional and sectoral effects on industry productivity; the project-based nature of the industry and the role of project management; procurement and delivery systems; the effectiveness of construction industry policy and intervention; and the contribution of research and development and innovation to construction industry productivity growth. By categorising this research the differences, commonalities and linking factors can be identified and the various analytical paradigms evaluated. The competing explanations of the causes of low construction productivity growth are then assessed in terms of their completeness (whole of industry or part), applicability (time, place and circumstance) and generality (a data artefact or not).
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