Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry

Committee on Advancing the Productivity and Competitiveness of the U.S. Industry Workshop

Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences



Washington, D.C.

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Committee on Advancing the Productivity and Competitiveness of the U.S. Industry Workshop Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C.

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report was supported by Sponsor Award No. SB134106Z0011 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-14191-8 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-14191-5 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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COMMITTEE ON ADVANCING THE COMPETITIVENESS AND PRODUCTIVITY OF THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY THEODORE C. KENNEDY, BE&K, Inc. (retired), Birmingham, Alabama, Chair PARVIZ DANESHGARI, MCA, Inc., Flint, Michigan PATRICIA D. GALLOWAY, Pegasus-Global Holdings, Inc., Cle Elum, Washington JAMES O. JIRSA, University of Texas, Austin BEHROKH KHOSHNEVIS, University of Southern California, Los Angeles FENIOSKY PEÑA-MORA, Columbia University, New York, New York BENEDICT SCHWEGLER, JR., Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development, Glendale, California DAVID A. SKIVEN, General Motors Corporation (retired), Brighton, Michigan JORGE A. VANEGAS, Texas A&M University, College Station NORBERT W. YOUNG, JR., McGraw-Hill Construction, New York, New York Staff LYNDA STANLEY, Study Director HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator iv

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BOARD ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE CONSTRUCTED ENVIRONMENT DAVID J. NASH, Dave Nash and Associates, Birmingham, Alabama, Chair JESUS de la GARZA, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg BRIAN ESTES, U.S. Navy (retired), Williamsburg, Virginia LUCIA GARSYS, Hillsborough County, Florida THEODORE C. KENNEDY, BE&K, Inc. (retired), Birmingham, Alabama PETER MARSHALL, Dewberry Company (retired), Norfolk, Virginia JAMES PORTER, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (retired), Wilmington, Delaware E. SARAH SLAUGHTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge WILLIAM WALLACE, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York Staff GARY FISCHMAN, Director LYNDA STANLEY, Senior Program Officer KEVIN LEWIS, Senior Program Officer HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator LAURA TOTH, Program Assistant v

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Acknowledgments The authoring committee acknowledges the significant contributions made by all of the workshop participants, who willingly and enthusiastically volunteered their time and ideas. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Jack Buffington, University of Arkansas, G. Edward Gibson, University of Alabama, Paul Gilbert, Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas, Inc. (retired), Fletcher “Bud” Griffis, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Alex Ivanikiw, Barton Malow Company, John Kunz, Stanford University, Egon Larsen, Air Products Inc., James Porter, E.I. DuPont de Nemours Company (retired), Michael Quinlan, Sandia National Laboratories, Miroslaw Skibniewski, University of Maryland, and Steve Thomas, Construction Industry Institute. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Lloyd Duscha, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (retired). Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. vi

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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 BACKGROUND 9 Characteristics of the Construction Industry, 10 Measuring Construction Productivity, 15 Statement of Task, 17 2 OBSTACLES TO IMPROVING CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTIVITY 19 Limited Use of Automated Equipment and Information Technologies, 20 Attracting and Retaining Skilled Workers and Recent Graduates, 23 Lack of Effective Performance Measures, 24 Lack of Research, 25 3 OPPORTUNITIES FOR BREAKTHROUGH IMPROVEMENTS IN 27 THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Identification of Activities That Could Lead to Breakthrough Improvements, 28 Widespread Deployment and Use of Interoperable Technology Applications, 29 Improved Job-Site Efficiency Through More Effective Interfacing of People, Processes, Materials, Equipment, and Information, 30 Greater Use of Prefabrication, Preassembly, Modularization, and Off-Site Fabrication Techniques and Processes, 32 Innovative, Widespread Use of Demonstration Installations, 33 Effective Performance Measurement to Drive Efficiency and Support Innovation, 34 4 IMPLEMENTING ACTIVITIES FOR BREAKTHROUGH 37 IMPROVEMENTS: RECOMMENDED ACTIONS Driving Change Strategically Through Collaboration, 37 Recommendations for Moving Forward, 39 REFERENCES 41 APPENDIXES A Biosketches of Committee Members 47 B Workshop Agenda and List of Participants 51 C An International Perspective on Construction Competitiveness 55 and Productivity, by Carl Haas, University of Waterloo D Technical Change and Its Impact on Construction 76 Productivity, by Paul Goodrum, University of Kentucky E Creating and Cultivating the Next Generation of Construction 95 Professionals, by Jeffrey Russell, University of Wisconsin-Madison vii

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