Why Work Packaging? The Productivity Challenge
Productivity in the construction industry has been declining in the last four decades especially in comparison to non-farm industries productivity . A considerable number of researchers focused on finding the reasons for the construction industry low productivity. Possible reasons ranged from slow adoption of new technologies and practices to short term nature of contractual agreements (Eastman, 2008). Productivity in the construction industry is influenced not only by labour, but also by other factors such as equipment, materials, construction methods, and site management (Arditi and Mochtar, 1999).
Despite the complexity of the issue and the considerable number of factors that are known to affect productivity, people in the industry and researchers agree that when projects are properly planned, utilizing manageable work packages, and execution roadblocks planned early enough, productivity losses can be recovered for the benefit of the project.
Nasra (1979), Arditi (1983 and 1993) conducted a survey of the top 400 U.S. construction contractors to identify the potential areas of productivity improvement in the US construction industry. The results indicate that cost control, scheduling, design practices, labour training, and quality control are the functions that consistently over the years are perceived as having considerable room for productivity improvement (arditi and Mochtar, 1999). Thus, work packaging, by affecting the schedule consistency and reliability, and by incorporating cost and quality control as essential features of the work planning has been identified a good candidate for productivity and predictability improvement.