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When managing a construction project, sticking to the agreed upon timeline is directly related to the overall success of the project. When construction projects stop and start for any reason, the cost of labor increases, which inherently increases the total cost of the overall project. This phenomenon of increased labor costs is referred to by a few different names, but is more commonly referred to as “lost productivity”. While the construction management will not be able to prepare for every single possible scenario, there are a few things that you can do to avoid lost productivity (or labor inefficiency).

Keep Pertinent Materials On-Hand

Construction managers on a project should work to ensure that all of the necessary materials for the project are readily available. Review every step of the project, and make sure that the crew has access to the exact materials that will be needed for each step. When budgeting and ordering for a particular project make sure to allow room to order extra materials. Damages and mishaps with materials are inevitable, and running out of materials is a costly logistical nightmare,  that causes lapses in the project timeline.

Properly Schedule Equipment Availability

This is a similar line of thinking to having the correct materials on hand. Every project will require specific construction equipment at particular portions of the project’s timeline. Make sure to schedule the equipment availability on the site properly. You don’t want to have it arrive to the site too early or too late, for obvious reasons. Be sure to track usage of the equipment as well, to ensure that you’re prepared in the event of an injury or need for a repair.

Train Your Crew

If you are directly in charge of the crew performing the labor, you’ll want to invest in proper training for your employees. Cover safety training, equipment training, and any project-specific training that you deem necessary. Employees who are well trained will be able to perform tasks more effectively and efficiently. Additionally, thorough training will reduce the likelihood of injury, damages, and delays. Training should be offered to all employees, but is especially necessary if you are aware of new / inexperienced members on your team. Sixty percent of construction workplace injuries occur within the employee’s first year of employment. 

Incentivize Good Work

If you encounter exceptional workers on your team, it’s beneficial to you to acknowledge their great work. You want to keep those workers in your circle for future projects, as good construction work means great news for your bottom line. It may make sense to draw up an official incentive program, so that you can be sure to have a strategic plan in place to reward the correct things.

For example: Reward projects that are done within budget & on time that had little to no safety accidents. This will avoid creating scenarios where projects are rushed or safety measures are ignored because there’s a desire to get a bonus for staying “on schedule”.


The overall takeaway is to make sure that you’re keeping track of every little detail of the project. While it may feel like a lot of work upfront, being on top of the details and having a plan will help to avoid mishaps and reduce productivity loss.