Impacted Productivity - Stacking of Trades and Installation Efficiency

Each craftsperson needs about 200 usable square feet for a productive installation.

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This assumption is included in production units used by all contractors to estimate, budget, and track their projects. Having less usable working space can impact productivity by up to 50%.  

Field Productivity: Impacts - Stacking of Trades and Installation Efficiency.


It is critical to understand when the worker density gets too high, why it got there, and how to quantify the impact to production. 

  • 200 usable square feet is about a 14x14 room. Stock that room with HVAC duct or sheetrock right in the middle and you no longer have a normal production situation. That is a schedule sequencing issue.
  • Some areas such as mechanical rooms were designed to not have 200 usable square feet. That should be addressed at the estimating and budgeting stage of the project.  
  • Other times you have naturally congested areas like a hallway and due to schedule compression, you may find multiple trades working in the same area increasing worker density while lowering usable square feet and productivity.  

Fighting Back and Mitigating

  1. Know how to quantify the impact. Most trades in a building will be impacted in a similar way, so studies for one trade are often very applicable once you get past the terminology.  
  2. Proactively manage the schedule to ensure your crews have clear work areas. Often the cost of overtime or shift work is less than the impact of congested work areas.  
  3. Innovative and aggressive use of prefabrication can shift a lot of the labor hours to another time and place minimizing the impact. 

Learn more about "Fighting Back" and remember that you are working to build a case around these five elements


Labor Productivity
Field labor is the often the biggest variable on a construction project - making it the biggest risk and opportunity....

Related Training
Labor Productivity
Field labor is the often the biggest variable on a construction project - making it the biggest risk and opportunity....

Impacted Productivity - Fighting Back
Fighting back effectively against labor productivity impacts will significantly improve project outcomes including customer satisfaction if handled properly. There are four interrelated aspects to effectively fighting back.
Lean Principle - 8 Categories of Waste
The first step in improving labor productivity in construction is improving everyone’s ability to see the waste. Waste can then be broken down into 8 major categories. Like colors these are often interrelated.
The Average Field Day in Detail (Craft Labor + Foreman)
Labor is often the biggest cost variable on a construction project. Just over half the field hours are related to actual installation. Understanding how time is spent on average in the field is the first step to improving field productivity.