US Construction Productivity vs. Global Construction Productivity Benchmarks

The US Construction industry ranks # 1 in the world for Construction Labor Productivity
out of the 200 + countries around the world.

Issues that accentuate US construction labor productivity include:

  • A skilled, educated & trained workforce
  • Utilizing latest work practices, such as Modularization & LEAN methods
  • Employing available & appropriate construction equipment & hand-held power tools
  • Using skilled site construction supervision
  • A need to work hard or be replaced

Issues that negatively impact global construction labor
productivity include:

  • Education limitations, resulting in poor reading & writing skills
  • Lack of qualified & skilled site supervision
  • Overseas freight delivery roadblocks (Major Equipment sitting on dockside waiting for
    6 weeks for translated import documents / notarized bill of lading)
  • Language issues
  • Local construction quality issue
  • Remote sites requiring pioneer camps
  • Cultural & religious differences
  • Worker attitude, ready to go home at 3 PM
  • Lack of skilled workers in a particular country (welder’s electricians, instrument
    fitters) – EXAMPLE: need to import 30 Romanian welders in a West African country for 9 months
  • Construction Equipment (unavailable or broken down)
  • Limited use hand power tools

Construction labor is a big component of any construction Capital Project, typically 25% to 30% of the Capital Project’s total construction cost. Serious consequences can result if a miscalculation is made related to estimating/forecasting productivity.

The following is a sampling of construction for 5 countries versus the USA. The example is related to construction activity, such as a piping system that took 1,000 man-hours to perform in the USA.

Remember… 63% or 6 out of 10 Capital Projects experience delays/overruns. Errors related to using the wrong construction productivity value are one of the main reasons for this continuing overrun problem that plagues our industry.