Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32451
A Framework for Improving Trade Contractors’ Productivity Tracking Methods

Authors: Sophia Hayes, Kenny L. Liang, Sahil Sharma, Austin Shema, Mahmoud Bader, Mohamed Elbarkouky


Despite being one of the most significant economic contributors of the country, Canada’s construction industry is lagging behind other sectors when it comes to labor productivity improvements. The construction industry is very collaborative as a general contractor, will hire trade contractors to perform most of a project’s work; meaning low productivity from one contractor can have a domino effect on the shared success of a project. To address this issue and encourage trade contractors to improve their productivity tracking methods, an investigative study was done on the productivity views and tracking methods of various trade contractors. Additionally, an in-depth review was done on four standard tracking methods used in the construction industry: cost codes, benchmarking, the job productivity measurement (JPM) standard, and WorkFace Planning (WFP). The four tracking methods were used as a baseline in comparing the trade contractors’ responses, determining gaps within their current tracking methods, and for making improvement recommendations. 15 interviews were conducted with different trades to analyze how contractors value productivity. The results of these analyses indicated that there seem to be gaps within the construction industry when it comes to an understanding of the purpose and value in productivity tracking. The trade contractors also shared their current productivity tracking systems; which were then compared to the four standard tracking methods used in the construction industry. Gaps were identified in their various tracking methods and using a framework; recommendations were made based on the type of trade on how to improve how they track productivity.

Keywords: Trade contractors’ productivity, productivity tracking, cost codes, benchmarking, job productivity measurement, JPM, workface planning WFP.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 748


[1] Bauld, S. (2018). Construction industry an economic thread for Canada. Daily Commercial News, 91(170), 1–2. Retrieved from
[2] Rankin, J., Fayek, A., Meade, G., Haas, C., & Manseau, A. (2008). Initial metrics and pilot program results for measuring the performance of the Canadian construction industry. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 35(9), 894–907.
[3] Hanna, A., Chang, C., & Sullivan, K. (2008). Impact of shift work on labor productivity for labor intensive contractor. Journal of Construction Engineering & Management, 134(3), 197–205.
[4] Manu, E., Ankrah, N., Chinyio, E., & Proverbs, D. (2015). Trust influencing factors in main contractor and subcontractor relationships during projects. International Journal of Project Management, 33(7), 1495–1508.
[5] Rad, K., & Kim, S. (2018). Factors affecting construction labor productivity: Iran case study. Iranian Journal of Science and Technology. Transactions of Civil Engineering, 42(2), 165–180.
[6] Nasir, H., Haas, C., Rankin, J., Fayek, A., Forgues, D., & Ruwanpura, J. (2012). Development and implementation of a benchmarking and metrics program for construction performance and productivity improvement. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 39(9), 957–967.
[7] Mani, N. (2015). A framework for estimating labor productivity frontiers. Construction Systems -- Dissertations & Theses. 18. Retrieved from
[8] Rojas, E.M. (2008). Construction productivity: a practical guide for building and electrical contractors. United States: J. Ross publishing
[9] Fayek, A. R. (2001). Activity-based job costing for integrating estimating, scheduling, and cost control. Cost Engineering, 43(8), 23–32. Retrieved from
[10] Clavero, J. (2018). How to manage construction cost codes as an electrical or mechanical subcontractor. Retrieved from
[11] Zecheru, V., & Olaru, B. (2016). Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in Project Management. Revista de Management Comparat International, 17(1), 61–69. Retrieved from
[12] Mechanical Contractors Association of America (2016). Change orders, productivity, overtime: a primer for the construction industry
[PDF]. Retrieved from
[13] Construction Specifications Institute, Constructions Specifications Canada (2016 ed.). Masterformat: numbers & titles. 2016 ed
[PDF]. Retrieved from
[14] Zhang, D., Nasir, H., & Haas, C. (2017). Development of an internal benchmarking and metrics model for industrial construction enterprises for productivity improvement. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering/Revue Canadienne de Genie Civil, 44(7), 518–529.
[15] Huang, A., Chapman, R., & Butry, D. (2009). Metrics and tools for measuring construction productivity: technical and empirical considerations (PDF). Retrieved from
[16] Jarkas, A., & Horner, R. (2015). Creating a baseline for labour productivity of reinforced concrete building construction in Kuwait. Construction Management and Economics, 33(8), 625–639.
[17] Manoliadis, O., & Hatzigeorgiou, A. (2017). Improving performance of building construction projects: a new approach of labor productivity benchmarks (PDF). Retrieved from
[18] Abdel-Razek, R., Abd Elshakour M, H., & Abdel-Hamid, M. (2007). Labor productivity: Benchmarking and variability in Egyptian projects. International Journal of Project Management, 25(2), 189–197.
[19] Daneshgari, P., & Moore, H. (2012). Construction productivity has historically lagged other industries, as shown below: until it is correctly measured, it cannot be improved (PDF). Retrieved from Daneshgari Moore Eprint 72.pdf
[20] ASTM International (2019). Standard practice for job productivity measurement. West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM International.
[21] Taylor, M. (n.d.). Contractors toolbox- use jpm to track productivity during jobs. Retrieved from
[22] Fayek, A. R., & Peng, J. (2013). Adaptation of workFace planning for construction contexts. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 40(10), 980–987.
[23] Construction Owners Association of Alberta (2013). Construction work packages best practice. Document Number: COP-WFP-SPD-16-2013-v1. Retrieved from
[24] Hanna, A., Russell, J., & Thomack, D. (1998). Quantifying the effect of change orders on electrical construction labor efficiency. Cost Engineering, 40(2), 36–41. Retrieved from
[25] Thomas, H., & Ellis, R. (2017). Construction site management and labor productivity improvement. Reston, Virginia: ASCE Press.
[26] Drucker, P. (1993). Management: tasks, responsibilities, practices. New York, NY: HarperBusiness
[27] White, H., & Marasini, R. (2014). Management of interface between main contractor and subcontractors for successful project outcomes. Journal of Engineering, Project, and Production Management, 4(1), 36–50. Retrieved from
[28] Bryde, D., Unterhitzenberger, C., & Joby, R. (2018). Conditions of success for earned value analysis in projects. International Journal of Project Management, 36(3), 474–484.
[29] Altuwaim, A., & El-Rayes, K. (2018). Minimizing duration and crew work interruptions of repetitive construction projects. Automation in Construction, 88, 59–72.
[30] Engineered Economics, Inc. (n.d.). How material handling solutions can improve productivity. Retrieved from
[31] Smith, C. (2018). Using technology to turn the tide on construction productivity. Retrieved from