This New System Can Save Time and Money in Construction Projects

This mathematical model involves the masons.


Construction Projects can save valuable resources using her technique.

Conventional construction methods involve workers doing their duties under contractors and subcontractors through assignment either by the project manager, the engineer, or the foreman. But what if they are given tasks according to their personal capabilities?

That is the core of the research by Dr. Laura Florez, an academic at Northumbria University, Newcastle. She used innovative mathematical modelling which was tested to increase productivity and reduce project completion time.

Her mathematical model, which is a new system fairly easy to use, allows construction workers to work by their skills and personalities, conditions on site, and the current stage of the build.

It was discovered to have been effective after using data from a large residential building, comparing the traditional allocation techniques used by the site manager with that proposed by the model.

After the test, the results showed that the site manager could have shortened the time to complete the project which eventually translated into cost savings – for one week, savings in the cost could reach up to 6.8%.

“As anyone in the construction industry knows, the configuration of gangs constantly changes and the site manager is responsible for scheduling and allocating gangs to balance between the complexity of the job and the need for quality and high production rates,” Dr. Florez, a Senior Lecturer within Northumbria’s Department of Architecture and Built Environment, said.


Save Time and Money in Construction Projects. Dr. Florez. Photo by Northumbria University, Newcastle

“My model takes into consideration characteristics of masons and site conditions in order to determine the right gang to build the right wall in order to increase productivity. With this computer programme, site managers are not only able to identify working patterns for each of the masons but also optimal gang formation, completion times, and labor costs,” she added.

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Results of the research were published in the Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, a world leading journal. It deserves a spot there considering that this is one of the few times that computer programs and techniques have been used for labor allocation for the masonry industry.

“A proper allocation model would have to consider the characteristics of masons and how to relate these characteristics and site conditions to select the right gang for the right wall considering the project constraints, for example the availability of workers and precedence relations between tasks and budget, to ensure minimum time and increased productivity,” she said.

Her research is focused on the masons’ diverse skills, capabilities, and personalities, which would allow better and more productive allocation of the workers. This is after Dr. Florez spent more than a year on site to check how the construction processes are as well as interviewing contractors, site managers, foremen, masons, and personnel and documenting the allocation of labor and productivity.


Save Time and Money in Construction Projects. Stock photo

“That time observing and talking to numerous personnel about how they work on site gave me a thorough understanding of masonry operations that I could have not comprehend otherwise,” she reiterated.

“We as academics need to work together with industry. Construction companies and contractors collect large amounts of detailed information and there are multiple ways to use quantitative and qualitative valuable data to increase productivity, form effective gangs, and better manage and plan future projects.”

Source: Northumbria University, Newcastle

Margaret Banford
Margaret Banford, when not writing, spends her time reading and playing several musical instruments. She is also a fair baker and the CEO of C.M. Cornes, Birmingham UK

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This New System Can Save Time and Money in Construction Projects

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