Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Science (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



The concept of construction productivity began in the early 20th century with a series of time and motion studies to improve bricklaying operations. A substantial number of subsequent studies focused on repetitive tasks and automation of the manufacturing operations and subsequently benefited manufacturing more than the construction industry. There has been a lack of studies for productivity improvement in the construction industry. Building upon the available body of knowledge as it related to productivity of manufacturing and construction industries, this study focused on developing a project improvement system for effective management of construction projects. Development of the system included a review of literature, where an inventory of productivity related factors was found and interpolated into a primary productivity evaluation checklist. A survey of construction practitioners was conducted to rank and determine the degree of influence of various factors on construction productivity. A field study gathered information for the refinement of the primary productivity evaluation checklist. The review of literature, together with the findings of survey and field study, led to the development of the Project Improvement System (PIS). Finally, the PIS was tested and evaluated in a case study of a construction project to ensure its workability, suitability, and influence. Out of 36 productivity factors gathered from the literature, the survey identified 30 factors as high, 4 factors as moderate, and 2 factors as low with respect to their degree of influence on productivity. This information provided guidance for the field study to refine the primary productivity evaluation checklist. The survey revealed that executives, project managers, and superintendents of general contracting firms have similar perceptions of the degree of influence of productivity factors in construction and view productivity as a concept within their reach and control. Application of the system to a case study resulted in improvement of the rates of productivity of various construction tasks after application of PIS and a projected savings of 4.27% in the labor cost. The findings of this study imply that PIS is an effective tool for project managers to improve productivity and increase the bottom-line of construction projects.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Fereydoun Aghazadeh