Every team and project could benefit from increased productivity in the construction industry. Delivering projects on time and within budget – and staying profitable – requires efficient planning, processes and people management.
Construction is one of Australia’s most important industries, with annual growth tipped to rise by 2.4% in the next five years, according to government data. But as organisations experience pressure from labour shortages, rising costs of materials and supply chain issues, productivity at work has become even more critical.
Following a drop in construction industry productivity between 2019-2021, as data from Statista and the Australian Productivity Commission shows, there is ample scope for boosting output and efficiency on projects in Australia.
Construction professionals who are the most productivity-focused have the best histories on projects, making them especially attractive to employers. As oil and gas, engineering and construction recruitment ramps up, organisations are searching not only for highly skilled people but also for those who are results-driven.
What can construction professionals focus on to start improving productivity at work?
Set Strong Foundations for Projects
Inaccurate budgets and poor schedules are two of the biggest factors that hamper output in construction, so it always pays to invest more time in the planning stages.
When you get your projects planned out early, you can reduce how much time and material you waste trying to get the job done and clients will always appreciate this. Take note of persistent issues arising on projects that aren’t delivered on time or within budget, so you can find opportunities for improvements.
Relationship management skills are invaluable throughout the planning process, just as they are on site. Genuinely listening to clients while managing their expectations goes a long way toward successful project delivery. Developing good relationships with reliable suppliers can also help you mitigate hassles associated with slow supply chains and poor-quality materials.
Safety and maintenance are the other key pieces of the productivity puzzle. By running a well-organised and safe work site, and regularly maintaining equipment, you can avoid losing crucial days or weeks due to injury, damage or breakdowns.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
As the construction industry embraces modern technologies, opportunities abound for boosting productivity using digital tools. Familiarising yourself with emerging technology trends can help you and your team make leaps and bounds ahead of competitors.
Augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), autonomous heavy equipment, drones, robots, telemetry sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly used on job sites. Consider how these technologies are applied to your area of specialisation and how you can leverage them to improve project delivery.
For example, AR tech, such as 4D and 5D simulation tools, is allowing Engineers and contractors to rework plans and schedules on their projects before they begin breaking ground. AI tools are also increasingly used to improve safety by analysing images and live videos of job sites – and that’s just the beginning.
Focus on Skills and Training
The importance of investing in your skills cannot be overstated in construction. As the scope of projects shifts or expands with new technologies and other market disruptions, you will be more productive when you take a self-directed approach to learning and career development.
Being proactive about acquiring new skills and certifications in areas such as engineering, design or safety can boost your efficiency and reduce the need for rework.
Staying up to date on industry trends and learning about recent technologies can also help you develop a more strategic mindset and find new ways to improve work processes.
Show Leadership Values
When you are leading a team, project or operation, how you manage others will make just as much a difference to productivity as the skills and capabilities of everyone involved.
The culture of a workplace is one of the most conducive factors to high productivity. Having a culture with transparent values helps set standards for a team’s morale, behaviours, and regard for safety.
Ensure that you communicate clearly and regularly with your colleagues, so everyone understands their tasks and responsibilities from start to finish. Keep colleagues aware of the project timeline and the deadlines they need to meet. To delegate better, pay attention to your colleagues’ strengths and weaknesses. Overloading teams with too much work – or the wrong work – is guaranteed to be counterproductive.
Using smart strategies and staying ahead of technological developments will help you cross the finish line on projects. Improving productivity at work will not only grow the bottom line, but it will also help you carve out a reputation for delivering results and increasing client satisfaction.
Patch Personnel is a specialist oil & gas, mining, engineering and construction recruitment agency founded by a team of experts with deep industry experience. We specialise in matching Oil, Gas and Civil Engineering professionals to Australia’s leading organisations.