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The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Variations of Design-Build Lee A. Ellingson, PhD, AIA ABSTRACT Design-build is a method of project-delivery that is becoming increasingly popular in the construction industry.

Design-build is actually one of the oldest methods of

contracting and is characterized by one contractor assuming responsibility for both design and construction. There are variations to this method of project delivery based on who is the prime contractor. The most appropriate variation will depend on the resources and capabilities of the companies involved. Laws and regulations governing design-build are changing rapidly, so it is important to carefully research this area.

Key Words Design-Build, Construction, Project-Delivery, Bridging

WHY DESIGN-BUILD? Design-build is a method of project delivery that has become increasingly popular in the construction industry. Its popularity is due to real and perceived advantages such as single-point responsibility, quality construction, reduced delivery time, and lower costs. Single-point responsibility means that the owner can hold one business entity accountable for quality control. This may help reduce finger pointing when something


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

goes wrong. Some owners may feel more comfortable in this arrangement than having separate contracts with a designer and contractor. Quality construction is often in the eye of the beholder and may be difficult to measure; however, in a recent study, many owners have rated design-build as equal to or superior to traditional methods in providing a quality product (Sanvido, 1998). Owners were asked to rate quality performance in seven specific areas: ease of startup, lack of call backs, low operation and maintenance costs, quality of envelope, quality of interiors, quality of environment, and quality of process equipment. The same study also rated design-build superior to both design-bid-build and construction management at risk in providing lower unit costs and faster delivery speed. Unit cost was defined as the final design and construction cost divided by the final gross square footage of the facility, and delivery speed was defined as the rate at which a facility is delivered, beginning with design and ending with substantial completion.

THE DESIGN-BUILD MODEL The design-build model is characterized by a single contract between the owner and a design-builder. The design-builder may be any legal entity such as a partnership, corporation, or joint venture. This is the most important difference between design-build and design-bid-build. The design-builder provides both design and construction.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

VARIATIONS OF DESIGN-BUILD There are variations of design-build. The most important characteristic of these variations is which company or party to the contract assumes responsibility of prime contractor. Many companies may be unaccustomed to the increased exposure inherent in design-build, so they should adopt the method that is most appropriate for their particular circumstances.

The most common variations are contractor as prime,

architect/engineer as prime, bridging, joint venture, and integrated firm.

Contractor As Prime This is one of the most common variations of design-build (Twomey, 1989). There are two good reasons for this. One is that contractors usually have an easier time getting bonded than design professionals.

Contractors tend to collect a large

inventory of supplies, tools, and equipment. Bonding companies and sureties like to see sufficient collateral and are more inclined to cover businesses with large inventories.

Architects and engineers may not have large inventories.

Design

professionals may actually be encouraged by their insurance companies to minimize physical assets in case they are sued. Another less tangible reason is that contractors are more accustomed to taking on risk. It is the nature of their business. William Quatman, in his book, Design-Build for the Design Professional (2001), discusses the psychological differences between contractors and architects. Based on the MeyersBriggs type indicator test, architects are more inclined to be thinkers and planners and contractors are more inclined to be doers and problem solvers. The risks involved in design-build are not new to contractors.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

In this model of project delivery, the contractor is directly responsible to the owner for design and construction. Contractors may not be accustomed to assuming the financial risk for design errors and omissions or other delays related to design. Design development tends to be minimized in this model. Contractors will be eager to begin construction as soon as possible without holding the hand of the owner through a lengthy design phase. Many architects are accustomed to working as an agent for the owner. However, in this model, they subcontract to the contractor and may not ever work directly with the owner.

Some architects may feel their status has been

diminished. However, this does not reduce the architect’s responsibility to the public or any liability for negligence. Architects must still meet what has been called a “standard of care.” If the project construction costs exceed the budget, the architect will probably have to redesign at no additional cost to the contractor. In contrast to design-bid-build, in this model the contractor may not be responsible to the owner to complete the project in strict accordance with the construction documents as long as the duties in the agreement have been fulfilled. If the contract is performance based, then performance may trump the construction documents. The construction documents are a means to an end, not the end itself.

Architect/Engineer As Prime This method is not as common as the contractor-led method, but it is growing. According to a 1999 survey by Zweig White & Associates, 12 percent of design-build work had an architect or engineer as the prime contractor (Quatman, 2001).

This

method is more common for engineering projects than architectural projects.

This


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

method often evolves in a series of progressive steps. For instance, a designer may contract with an owner for programming and conceptual design. Then the designer enters into a strategic alliance with a contractor for estimating, value engineering, and constructability reviews with the understanding that the contractor will get the project if it precedes that far.

Finally, the designer contracts with the owner for design-build

services and subcontracts with the contractor. A few architectural and engineering firms have begun using design-build in this way and have become very successful. This method requires major adjustments by the architect/engineer compared to traditional design services. The designer is now responsible to the owner for means and methods of construction and completing the project according to industry standards and applicable building codes. The designer is also responsible for site safety and OSHA requirements. Design professionals should thoroughly research how this will affect their status regarding licensure and incorporation.

State procurement laws may also prohibit

designers from constructing projects they designed.

Expert legal counsel is

recommended. There are a few variations of this model. In one variation, the architect/engineer acts as the general contractor.

Design firms that have extensive experience in

construction management may be attracted to this arrangement. In another variation, the design firm creates a subsidiary construction company, and the owner contracts with both the design firm and the construction company. This really has more to offer the designer than the owner.

In this arrangement, the owner still has to sign two


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

contracts, which compromises some of the advantages of true design-build. Another common variation is when the designer subcontracts all construction to a general contractor. In this arrangement, the contractor is obligated to the architect/engineer for defects in construction instead of the owner. However, the contractor is still liable to the owner and general public for any injury to person or property due to negligence. The owner may need to make some adjustments when using this variation. The architect/engineer is no longer an independent agent looking after the owner’s interests. The owner may want to consider hiring an independent consultant to watch for front-end loading, overpayment, or substandard work.

Bridging George T. Heery, FAIA, originally developed bridging in the early 1970s. According to Heery, this method “bridges to an early fixed price, bridges construction knowledge into design, bridges over much of the owner’s claims exposure, and bridges over the division of responsibility between architects, engineers, and contractors” (Haviland, 1994, p. 415). This method may also be called modified design-build, twophase design-build, and design/design-build (AIA, 1999). This method tries to combine the advantages of traditional design-bid-build and design-build.

It is becoming

increasingly popular in the public sector (AIA, 1999). There are two design consultants involved in bridging. One acts as the owner’s consultant; the other subcontracts to the design-builder. sometimes called a design criteria consultant.

The owner’s consultant is

Owners and architects often feel

comfortable in this relationship because it is similar to traditional methods in that the


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

architect is retained to look after the owner’s interests. The owner’s architect typically prepares the preliminary design, assists in preparing the Request for Proposal (RFP), assists in the selection process, reviews pay applications, reviews the work, and certifies completion. The other architect works for the design-builder and is responsible for preparing the construction documents. With two architects working on the same project, it is essential to carefully define the authority and responsibility of each architect in the agreements. This can help to preclude misunderstandings and disagreements. The owner’s architect typically carries design through design development. This is very important, because if the owner’s architect designs too much, the design-builder has little freedom of innovation. If the owner’s architect designs too little, the owner may not get the quality of design desired. According to Quatman, “Most agree that 30 percent or so is that break point at which enough information has been given to the competing teams so that they can compete on a level field, yet have enough flexibility to be creative themselves” (Quatman, 2001). Advantages to the owner include single point responsibility, efficient coordination of design and construction, and an early cost commitment. The downside is that the owner is responsible for project management, schedules tend to be somewhat longer, and fees tend to be somewhat higher than other design-build methods.

Bridging

compromises some of the advantages of design-build. State and local laws regulating bridging vary considerably; so all parties to the contract should seek competent legal counsel. There is a variation of bridging called mini-bridging. In mini-bridging, the designbuilder retains engineering consultants who prepare about 30 percent of the design for


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

specialty trades such as mechanical, electrical, fire suppression, and perhaps even structural.

The designs are then given to trade contractors who complete the

construction documents. The design-builder should consider requiring bonds and errors and omissions insurance from the trade contractors.

Joint Venture A joint venture is a legal entity created for only one project. Partnerships and corporations are typically created as a long-term commitment. The advantage of a joint venture is that it allows design and construction firms to pursue a particular project for which they may not be qualified by themselves. The disadvantage is that each partner in the joint venture is liable for all of the acts, errors, and omissions of its partner. With this kind of exposure, it is essential that each partner pay very careful attention to the joint venture agreement. An alternative to the joint venture is a limited liability company (LLC). This form limits the liability of the partners like a corporation but also avoids double taxation. Joint ventures share the following characteristics (Cushman & Taub, 1997): •

Limitation to a single commercial transaction

Contribution by coventurers of money, property, skill, labor, and/or other assets

Mutual interest in the single commercial transaction

Right to mutual control or management

Sharing of profits and losses


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

In this model, the joint venture contracts with the owner to provide design-build services. The owner gets the expertise of each company but signs only one contract for design and construction. This method probably works best when the partners have established a long-term strategic alliance and are use to working with one another. The joint venture then subcontracts with the design firm and the construction firm for their respective services.

Integrated Firm This is perhaps the best model for providing true design-build services. According to a design-build survey by Zweig White and Associates, the integrated firm accounted for 26 percent of design-build work in 1999 (Quatman, 2001). Architecture, engineering, estimating, scheduling, and construction management are all done in house. Bob Degenhardt, CEO of Ellerbe Becket, said that in three years of offering integrated services, his company has not had one claim by an owner, nor has the cost exceeded the GMP (Quatman, 2001). Theoretically, at least, this model provides a framework where team members can work towards a common goal instead of protecting their territory. This model is also known as engineer-procure-construct (EPC) and has been used for industrial, petrochemical, and process engineering projects for decades (Bramble & West, 1999).

CONCLUSION Design-build is gaining popularity for a number of reasons. Many owners like the idea of single-point responsibility, quality construction, reduced delivery time, and lower


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

costs. Designers and contractors are often attracted to the potential for greater profit margins and more control. The most important characteristic of any design-build project is who is the prime contractor. Several variations of design-build have proven to be successful. Which one is best will depend on the goals of the project and the skills and talents of the people involved.

REFERENCES AIA. (1999). The architect’s handbook of professional practice (12th ed.). Washington, DC: AIA Press. Bramble, B.B., & West, J.D. (1999). Design-build contracting claims. Gaithersburg, New York: Aspen Law & Business. Cushman, R.F. & Taub, K.S. (1997). Design-build contracting formbook. New York: Wiley. Haviland, D. (Ed.). (1994). The architect’s handbook of professional practice (Student Edition). Washington, DC: AIA Press. Quatman, G.W. (2001). Design-build for the design professional. Gaithersburg, New York: Aspen law & Business. Sanvido, V.E. & Konchar, M.D. (1998). Project delivery systems: CM at risk, designbuild, design-bid-build (Report to the Construction Industry Institute, Research Report 133-11, April). Austin, Texas. Twomey, T.R. (1989). Understanding the legal aspects of design-build. Kingston, Massachusetts: R.S. Means Company, Inc.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Lee A. Ellingson is an architect and Associate Professor in the Construction Management Program at Indiana State University. He has a Ph.D. in Architecture and is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

He has been a project

manager for a wide variety of architectural projects including commercial, institutional, and residential. His research interests are project delivery systems, energy efficiency, and building codes.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Determining the Existence of a Gender Based Wage Gap in the Construction Industry David Bilbo, DEd, Richard Burt, PhD, Marc Spiegel, MSCM, and Prama Kumar, MSCM

ABSTRACT Does a gender-based wage gap exist in the construction industry? Proponents of this concept say yes. According to one study, “…there still exists a wage gap between men and women, ranging from 14.3 percent in the District of Columbia to 37.2 percent in Wyoming” (IWPR, 2000). Conversely, others believe that either no such gap, or a very slight differential of 3 percent, exists. This study attempted to verify whether or not a wage differential exists in construction, and further, to identify and evaluate the factors that may contribute to this differential. Through the use of a web-based survey, data was collected and analyzed using the Chi Square Test of Independence. The null hypothesis used for the statistical analysis was that there is no difference in the salary distributions between male and female respondents to the survey. Factors such as education, experience, children and marital status were used as benchmarks to compare salary distributions.

Key Words Construction Workforce, Gender Issues, Salaries


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

INTRODUCTION Research related to a "salary gap" between male and female in our nation's workforce has been ongoing for many years. There is little disagreement among the researched literature that much of the gap in the average pay of male and female in the labor market is the result of various forces. These forces include differences in the characteristics that men and women bring to their jobs, differences in the characteristics of the jobs, and differential and/or discriminatory treatment of women by employers and co-workers. Not only do these various conditions exist, but they also interact in complex, confusing and ever-changing ways. Due to this it would be difficult under the best scenario, to determine precisely how much of the difference in male vs. female pay is due to gender bias and how much is due to numerous choices and preferences made by female workers (Council of Economic Advisors, 1998). In the article ‘The wage gap for women is a big myth’, Karen Kerrigan cited a report called “Women’s Figures,” which dispels some of what was considered “…the faulty assumptions and myths about women in the workplace.” The report maintains that women have actually achieved equality in the business world and have decreased or eliminated the “so called” wage gap in the workplace. It goes on to say that any disparity in wages or compensation comes down to lifestyle choices and other non-gender issues that drive earnings—not discrimination (Kerrigan, 1999). According to the Women's Bureau, a division of the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 780,000 women nationwide working in construction-related industries. That equates to approximately 9.4 percent of the entire industry, and includes all related occupations that deal with construction, including real estate sales,


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

marketing and bookkeeping. Of that number, roughly 129,000 women work in what the Bureau calls "construction occupations" -- bricklayers, tile setters, electricians and the like. That's a mere 2.4 percent of the overall construction work force (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2000). Investigation into the question of a wage gap in construction has been limited. Few studies have been conducted specifically to look at the salary differentials of men and women in construction. The most common perception of the construction industry is that it's a man's game, which is ruled by an old boys network. But, industry is changing and adapting with the times. According to a recent Women in Construction Week conference: “Women contribute to the construction industry in a variety of ways. Whether as an engineer, architect, tradeswoman, safety consultant, business owner or any one of the many careers in construction, women in construction play important roles” (NAWIC, 1999).

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES This study seeks to determine the existence of a salary differential based on gender in the construction industry. The research further seeks to identify and evaluate the factors that may contribute to this differential.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

METHODOLOGY In order to perform the research on male and female salaries and the factors that may affect their distributions, it was necessary to identify a population, select a sample and gather the data.

Survey Design This research uses the sampling by convenience method of data collection, due to the difficulty in obtaining data on sensitive subjects like finances and personal characteristics. In order to obtain a broad representation of the industry requests for respondents to the survey were requested from construction companies, professional organizations, such as the National Association for Women in Construction, Associated Builders and Contractors and the Associated General Contractors and graduates of accredited construction programs.

This method makes no pretense of being

representative of a population. After a careful review of articles in the review of literature, it was decided to concentrate only on certain characteristics concerning wage gaps with regard to employment, education, and family. The survey form was designed to collect data that is known as Categorical, i.e. the data are variables whose values are categories rather than numerical values. Also, the survey was developed for use through the Internet, due to time constraints involved. Due to the type and method of the data collection, a non-parametric test, i.e. the chi-square test of independence was chosen for statistical analysis. Chi-square is a statistical test commonly used to compare observed data with data we would expect to obtain according to a specific hypothesis. The chi-square test is always testing the null


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

hypothesis, which states that there is no significant difference between the expected and observed result. For example, if male and female salary distributions were the same, we would expect approximately the same percentage of respondents in each salary category. This is the null hypothesis. To reject the null hypothesis, the calculated chi-square must be above the tabular chi-square. Another criterion that is also used is to look at the probability (p-value or level of significance) of the calculated chi-square value being greater than the tabular value. If the p-value is less than the desired 0.05 (95% confidence interval), then the null hypothesis can be rejected (Ott and Longnecker, 2001).

Base Pay The first question that needed to be addressed was that of Base Pay. All factors throughout this research were based on or gauged against this variable. The null hypothesis states that there is no difference in the salary distributions for male and female respondents, while the alternate hypothesis is that there is a difference between the salary distributions of males and females. As Figure 1 shows, a full 66.83% of the female respondents said that they make $50,000 a year or less. Just over half that number or 35.22% of the males fall into the same pay category. Also, the yearly base pay for females consistently drops below that of males from $50,000 on. This graphic representation would appear to indicate that there is a difference between the salary distributions of males and females, with more females represented in the lower salary categories.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Table 1 shows the chi-square ( χ 2 ) results for this analysis. To determine whether to accept or reject the null hypothesis, the calculated χ 2 (66.20) is compared to the tabular χ 2 (18.31). Since the calculated value is well above the tabular value, the null hypothesis is rejected, and it is suggested that there is a difference in the salary distributions for males and females. This is confirmed by looking at the p-value for the test, which is <0.001, well below the required 0.05. But is this difference in salary distributions due to only gender, or are there other factors influencing it? Some readers might suggest that the sample contains a higher proportion of females with less experience. Figure 2 would seem to suggest this and table 2 confirms this.

Years in Construction (Experience) A comparison in year bands was carried out to see if there was still a difference in salary distributions for males and females with the same years of construction experience. Table 3 summarizes these results. The null hypothesis that there is no difference in the salary distributions for males and females based on experience was rejected for the years 1 to 5, 16 to 20 and 26 to 30. The assumption was made that for those particular periods and with experience equalized, there is still a disparity in the base salaries for males and females.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Figure 1. Base pay distribution of male and female respondents Base Pay

Females Males

40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%

< 40 K 40 to 50 K

50 to 60 K

60 to 70 K

70 to 80 K

80 to 90 to 100 to 110 to 120 K Other + 90 K 100 K 110 K 120 K

Table 1. Results of Chi-Square test on salary distributions of male and female respondents

< 40 40 to 50 to 60 to 70 70 to 80 80 to

90 to

100 to

110 to

100 K

110 K

120 K

120 K + K

50 K

60 K

K

K

90 K

Other

Observed values

Totals

Female

70

71

34

17

7

6

1

1

1

1

2

211

Male

8

48

32

22

12

15

10

3

2

6

1

159

Sum

78

119

66

39

19

21

11

4

3

7

3

Expected values Female

44.48 67.86 37.64

22.24

10.84

11.98

6.27

2.28

1.71

3.99

1.71

211

Male

33.52 51.14 28.36

16.76

8.16

9.02

4.73

1.72

1.29

3.01

1.29

159

Individual CHI Squared Female

14.64 0.15

0.35

1.23

1.36

2.98

4.43

0.72

0.30

2.24

0.05

28.45

Male

19.43 0.19

0.47

1.64

1.80

3.96

5.88

0.95

0.39

2.98

0.06

37.75

Degrees of Freedom

10

Sum of CHI Squared

66.20

Tabular CHI Squared

18.31

P Value

< 0.001


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Education Figure 3 shows the breakdown of education among the respondents. This shows that majority of the respondents indicated a bachelor’s degree as their level of education. The results show that there is a much larger percentage of males whose terminal degree is a bachelor’s degree. The chi-square analysis (table 4) performed thereafter shows that the calculated chi-square of 63.17 is greater than the tabulated chi-square of 11.07. Also the p-value of <0.001 is less than the required 0.05. Therefore, the null hypothesis that there is no difference between the education distribution between males and females is rejected.

Figure 2. Distribution of number of years in construction of male and female respondents

Years in Construction 35% 30% 25% 20%

Females

15%

Males

10% 5% 0%

1 to 5 6 to 10

11 to 15

16 to 20

21 to 25

26 to 30

30 +


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Figure 3. Distribution of educational level of male and female respondents Education 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

Females Males

High School Trade / Tech Associates Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Ph.D. Degree

Master's Degree

Table 2. Results of Chi-Square test on number of years in construction of male and female respondents

1 to 5

6 to 10

11 to 15

16 to 20

21 to 25

26 to 30

30 +

Observed values Female

66

47

29

37

6

19

7

211

Male

47

31

23

15

22

11

10

159

Sum

113

78

52

52

28

30

17

Expected values Female

64.44

44.48

29.65

29.65

15.97

17.11

9.69

211

Male

48.56

33.52

22.35

22.35

12.03

12.89

7.31

159

Individual CHI Squared Female

0.04

0.14

0.01

1.82

6.22

0.21

0.75

9.195

Male

0.05

0.19

0.02

2.41

8.26

0.28

0.99

12.2

Degrees of Freedom

6

Sum of CHI Squared

21.4

Tabular CHI Squared

12.53

P Value

0.002


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

A chi-square was the conducted to see if there was a difference in the salary distributions of males and females with similar levels of education. In table 5 it can be seen that the null hypothesis is rejected for respondents having a bachelor’s degree. This would seem to imply that equalizing education up to a bachelor’s degree does not account for the disparity in the salaries for males and females. The acceptance of the null hypothesis for educational levels above and below a bachelor’s degree may be accounted for by the low response counts for those categories. Figure 4 shows the salary distributions for respondents with a bachelor’s degree. This was done since the majority of respondents indicated that their level of education was a bachelor’s degree. The responses show that there are a higher percentage of females in the lowest salary category.

Table 3. Summary of results of Chi-Square test on number of years in construction of male and female respondents Years In

Female

Male

Chi Sq.

Null Hypothesis

Accept or P Value

Construction

Count

Count

Value

Reject

1 to 5

66

47

23.03254

0.0106

Reject

6 to 10

47

31

11.39826

0.3273

Accept

11 to 15

29

23

8.06909

0.6221

Accept

16 to 20

37

30

27.45726

0.0022

Reject

21 to 25

6

22

7.01414

0.7241

Accept

26 to 30

19

30

30.07209

0.0008

Reject

30 +

7

10

10.94476

0.3618

Accept

There is no difference in the salary distributions for males and females. Rejection Zone P < 0.05


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Figure 4. Base pay distribution of male and female respondents with a Bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree

Base Pay vs Bachelor's Degree

Response Count

50 45 40 35 30

Females Males

25 20 15 10 5 0

< 40 K

40 to 50 to 60 to 70 to 80 to 90 to 100 to 110 to 120 K Other 50 K 60 K 70 K 80 K 90 K 100 K 110 K 120 K +

Marital Status The next criterion studied was marital status, to find out whether it influences wage differences in males and females. Table 6 shows the chi-square distribution of these results. The calculated chi-square of 20.02 is higher than the tabulated chi-square of 3.84 and the p-value of 0.001 is less than the expected p-value of 0.05. Therefore our sample does not contain an equal distribution of married males and females and an analysis was done to see if there was a difference between the salary distributions of married and unmarried males and females.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Table 4. Results of Chi-Square test on level of education of male and female respondents

Trade /

Assoc.

Bachelor's

Master's

Ph.D.

Tech

Degree

Degree

Degree

Degree

High School

Observed values Female

49

15

28

102

15

2

211

Male

5

5

2

132

15

0

159

Sum

54

20

30

234

30

2

Expected values Female

30.79

11.41

17.11

133.44

17.11

1.14

211

Male

23.21

8.59

12.89

100.56

12.89

0.86

159

Individual CHI Squared Female

10.76

1.13

6.93

7.41

0.26

0.65

27.15

Male

14.28

1.50

9.20

9.83

0.34

0.86

36.02

Degrees of Freedom

5

Sum of CHI Squared

63.17

Tabular CHI Squared

11.07

P Value

<0.001

A more detailed test was done to check these assumptions and to look for any patterns. Table 7 shows these results. Both marriage categories reject the null hypothesis that there is no difference between the salary distributions between males and females based on marriage. Figure 5 shows that once again, a larger percentage of the females respondents fall into the salary categories ranging from <$40,000 to $50,000. Figure 6, the salary distribution for unmarried respondents, shows that the majority of responses in the lowest range are from females.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Figure 5. Salary distribution of married male and female respondents Salary Distribution For Married

Females Males

35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% < 40 K 40 to 50 K

50 to 60 K

60 to 70 K

70 to 80 K

80 to 90 to 100 to 110 to 120 K Other 90 K 100 K 110 K 120 K +

Table 5. Summary of results of Chi-Square test on level of education of male and female respondents Female Null Hypothesis

Male

Chi Sq.

Education

Accept or P Value

Count

Count

Value

Reject

High School

49

5

8.87143

0.5443

Accept

There is no difference in the

Trade School

15

5

7.33333

0.6936

Accept

salary distributions for males

Assoc. Deg.

2

28

1.01403

0.9998

Accept

and females.

Bach. Deg.

102

132

36.25499

0.0001

Reject

Rejection Zone P < 0.05

Master's Deg.

15

15

9.06667

0.5258

Accept

Ph.D.

2

0

N/A

N/A

N/A

Children The next step after marital status was to analyze the effect of children on malefemale wage differences. Based on the findings from table 8, the null hypothesis that


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

there is no difference between distributions of male/female respondents with and without children, is rejected. This is confirmed by looking at the calculated chi-square of 13.70, the tabulated chi-square of 3.84 and the p-value of 0.0002. Table 9 indicates that the null hypothesis of no difference between male and female salary distributions based on children was rejected. Figures 7 and 8 show the salary distributions for families with and without children respectively. These figures also show a large percentage of female respondents vs. male respondents in the lowest salary range. The results in the figures are confirmed by the chi-square analysis.

Table 6. Results of Chi-Square test on marital status of male and female respondents

Married

Unmarried

Female

101

110

211

Male

113

46

159

Sum

214

156

Female

122.04

88.96

211

Male

91.96

67.04

159

Female

3.63

4.98

8.60

Male

4.81

6.60

11.41

Observed values

Expected values

Individual CHI Squared

Degrees of Freedom

1

Sum of CHI Squared

20.02

Tabular CHI Squared

3.84

P Value

< 0.001


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS Base Pay: Initial analysis of base pay indicated a difference in salary distributions, with more females represented mainly in the lower salary categories. However, our sample contained a higher percentage of females with less experience. A comparison between the salary distributions of males and females also shows a difference, but this is in the year bands 1 to 5, 16 to 20 and 26 to 30.

Table 7. Summary of results of Chi-Square test on marital status of male and female respondents Marital

Female

Male

Chi Sq.

Null Hypothesis

Accept or P Value

Status

Count

Count

Value

Reject

salary distributions for males

Married

101

113

38.75163

0.00003

Reject

and females.

Unmarried

110

46

23.27475

0.0098

Reject

There is no difference in the

Rejection Zone P < 0.05

Education: The majority of respondents indicated a bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree as their highest level of education. When the salary distributions of these respondents were compared, it indicated a difference between salaries of males and females. The responses again show a higher percentage of females in the lower salary categories.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Figure 6. Salary distribution of unmarried male and female respondents

Salary Distribution For Unmarried

Females Males

60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% < 40 K 40 to 50 K

50 to 60 K

60 to 70 K

70 to 80 K

80 to 90 to 100 to 110 to 120 K Other 90 K 100 K 110 K 120 K +

Table 8. Results of Chi-Square test male and female respondents with children

Yes

No

Female

71

140

211

Male

84

75

159

Sum

155

215

Female

88.39

122.61

211

Male

66.61

92.39

159

Female

3.42

2.47

5.89

Male

4.54

3.27

7.82

Observed values

Expected values

Individual CHI Squared

Degrees of Freedom

1

Sum of CHI Squared

13.70

Tabular CHI Squared

3.84

P Value

0.0002


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Marital status: A comparison of the salary distributions of married and unmarried males and females indicated that there was still a difference between the salary distributions of males and females when they were compared in married and unmarried groups.

Figure 7. Salary distribution of male and female respondents with children Salary Distribution For Males and Females With Children

Females Males

50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% < 40 K 40 to 50 K

50 to 60 K

60 to 70 K

70 to 80 K

80 to 90 to 100 to 110 to 120 K Other + 90 K 100 K 110 K 120 K

Table 9. Summary of results of Chi-Square test on respondents with children Female Male Null Hypothesis

Chi Sq.

Children

Accept or P Value

Count

Count

Value

Reject

There is no difference in the salary distributions for males

Families w / Children

65

78

36.42

0.0001

Reject

and females.

Families w / o Children

146

81

36.29

0.0001

Reject

Rejection Zone P < 0.05


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Children: The analysis indicates that there is a difference between salary distributions of male/female respondents with and without children.

Figure 8. Salary distribution of male and female respondents without children

Salary Distribution For Males and Females Without Children Females Males

50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% < 40 K

40 to 50 to 60 to 70 to 80 to 90 to 100 to 110 to 120 K Other + 50 K 60 K 70 K 80 K 90 K 100 K 110 K 120 K

CONCLUSIONS While a comprehensive literature review uncovered opinions both for and against the existence of a differential between wage distributions of males and females in the construction industry, this study went a step further to confirm one of the standpoints, and if needed, to analyze key contributing factors. Based on the evidence contained in this research, it can be concluded that there exists a differential in the salary distributions of males and females in the construction


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

management positions. Evidence has been provided to show differences in salary distributions even when equalizing for such variables as experience, education, marital status, and having children.

REFERENCES Bureau of Labor Statistics (Rev. 3-97). Standard Form 100, Employer Informative Report EEO-1, BLS Website, 100-18. Retrieved November 17, 2000 from the World Wide Web: (http://www.eeoc.gov/stats/jobpat/e1instruct.html). Institute for Women’s Policy Research (2000). The status of women in the states (3rd edition). Washington, DC: (Caiazza, A.B., Ph.D. Editor). Kerrigan, K. (May 1999). The wage gap for women is a big myth. bizjournals.com/, Retrieved Jan. 15, 2000 at: http://www.icopyright.com/1.1661.206483 Leedy, P. (1997). Practical Research. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey:Merrill Ott, L. R., Longnecker, M. (2001). An introduction to statistical methods and data analysis. 5th ed.

David Bilbo, DEd, joined the Construction Science program at Texas A&M University in 1977. He is a member of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) and holds the AIC Certified Professional Constructor designation. Dr. Bilbo served for many years as an undergraduate counselor and has held the Graduate Program’s Coordinator slot. Currently, he is serving as the Associate Department Head for the Department of Construction Science. Dr. Bilbo holds the Clark Construction Endowed Professorship of Construction Science.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Dr. Richard Burt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Construction Science at Texas A&M University, College Station. He holds a Master of Science in Construction Management and a PhD in Architecture, both from Texas A&M University. Dr. Burt trained as a Builder Surveyor in England, where he also taught construction classes at the Buckinghamshire College. His masters and doctoral research focused on the preservation of historic adobe structures at Fort Davis National Historic Site in West Texas. Some of his current research involves investigating quality control procedures for soil-block structures for low-cost housing in Texas. Dr. Burt has presented papers at several National and International Conferences on both Historic Preservation and Construction Issues.

Marc Spiegel is an employee of Haws & Tingle Construction since 2001. After a Bachelors degree in City and Regional Planning from California Polytechnic State University, he completed his Master of Science in Construction Management (MSCM) from the Department of Construction Science, Texas A&M University in May 2001.

Prama Kumar is a student of Construction Management in the Department of Construction Science, Texas A&M University. Having completed her Bachelors of Architecture from India, she expects to graduate from Texas A&M University in August 2002 to begin her career in the field of construction project management and operations.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Survey Results of Recent Construction Management Graduates and Company Recruiters Regarding Perceived Incentives for Remaining with A Construction Firm

James L. Jenkins, Bradford L. Sims, PhD, Scott Fuller

ABSTRACT Presented in this paper are the results of a two-part survey conducted on graduating construction management seniors and company recruiters to discern the company qualities that both perceive as keeping future graduates working for the same construction company.

The results of this two-part survey indicate which company

qualities are considered by the graduating seniors as being important, and which company qualities the company recruiters perceive as being important to graduating seniors.

Comparisons between the two parts of the survey, one part given to the

graduating seniors and an identical one given to the company recruiters, are discussed to highlight which qualities contractors should use to attract and retain construction management graduating seniors.

Key Words Student Survey, Interview, Employment, Hiring Strategy

INTRODUCTION A two-part survey was conducted on graduating construction management seniors and company recruiters to discern the company qualities that both perceive as


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

keeping future graduates working for the same construction company (A sample twopart survey form can be found in Appendices A and B). One survey of 133 graduating seniors was conducted in three university Construction Management programs: Auburn University (Department of Building Science; College of Architecture, Design, and Construction), University of Florida (M. E. Rinker School of Building Construction; College of Design, Construction, and Planning), and Purdue University (Department of Building Construction Management; School of Technology). Company Recruiters from 52 national construction/engineering companies completed an identical survey (see Appendix B). The two-part survey was created to discern the opinion of both the seniors and the company recruiters, and to compare their perceptions. Both were asked to rate the items they felt were important to maintain employment with the same construction company. During the company recruiting process, future graduates and personnel recruiters try to determine the perfect employment opportunity. While companies look for certain qualities in the seniors to aid in their selection, seniors also consider the many qualities and opportunities that exist among different companies. While many â&#x20AC;&#x153;perks,â&#x20AC;? or incentives, are offered during the recruiting process to entice future hires, the possibility exists that many companies may not be offering the incentives that the seniors are seeking, or that they may not be important or desirable to them. With this in mind, graduating seniors in the three construction management programs listed earlier were asked to rate the importance of factors that aid in their decisions to maintain employment with a certain company.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

It was hoped that if the perceptions of the seniors and company recruiters differed, information gained from the two-part survey would benefit both companies and future employees, and better aid in, and allow, a desired recruit to accept and keep a company position in the company that fulfills individual goals â&#x20AC;&#x201C; both short and long term.

BACKGROUND OF COLLEGE RESULTS Of the 133 graduating seniors surveyed for this study, there were 17 seniors from Auburn University, 54 from the University of Florida, and 62 from Purdue University. Each of these programs has experienced a 100 percent placement of their graduates the past few years. Through the survey (see Appendix A), each senior was asked to rate a total of 46 items regarding the impact each of these items had in keeping the senior interested in continuing employment with the same construction company. Each survey item was rated on a scale from 1 (not important) to 5 (very important). The results of the student portion of the survey can be found in Appendix C. The statistical results of this survey are significant for the total number of surveys due to the fact that results given by the three universities and contractor company recruiters were similar in their respective surveys.

RESULTS FROM THE SENIOR SURVEY The 10 top-rated survey items sorted both by each individual university and as a combined group are presented in Table 1. parentheses for each item in Table1.

The average rating is shown in the


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2 Table 1. Student Survey Results, 10 Top-Rated Items Auburn University

Univ. of Florida

Purdue University

Combined Results

Upward Movement in Company Positions (4.82)

Upward Movement in Company Positions (4.76)

Upward Movement in Company Positions (4.68)

Upward Movement in Company Positions (4.73)

Stability of Management (4.47)

Area of Country you will mostly live (4.46)

Company’s Reputation (4.55)

Company’s Reputation (4.48)

Company’s Commitment to Professionalism (4.35)

Company’s Reputation (4.43)

Paid Health Care Benefits (4.52)

Stability of Management (4.44)

Company’s Reputation (4.35)

Company’s Financial Strength (4.41)

Stability of Management (4.49)

Company’s Financial Strength (4.41)

Major Medical Plan (4.29)

Stability of Management (4.37)

Major Medical Plan (4.45)

Paid Health Care Benefits (4.40)

Company’s Financial Strength (4.29)

Paid Health Care Benefits (4.33)

Company’s Financial Strength (4.45)

Area of Country you will mostly live (4.32)

Training (4.24)

Turnover Rate of Management (4.26)

Company’s Safety Performance/Record (4.42)

Major Medical Plan (4.26)

Area of Country you will mostly live (4.24)

Company Matching 401 K Retirement Package (4.24)

Company Culture (4.37)

Company’s Commitment to Professionalism (4.23)

Depth of Company’s Management Skills (4.24)

Recognition of Work Performed (4.17)

Dental Plan (4.32)

Company Matching 401 K Retirement Package (4.19)

Company’s Attitude toward Management Training (4.18)

Company’s Commitment to Professionalism (4.15)

Company’s Commitment to Professionalism (4.27)

Turnover Rate of Management (4.16)

Paid Health Care Benefits (4.18)


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

As shown in Table 1, upward movement in company positions was unanimously rated as the highest item on this survey. It is interesting to note in the Combined Results that items representing the strength of the company were rated higher than many qualities that directly impact the individual employee.

Desirable qualities were split 50/50

between individual and company items. The company-wide items included stability of management, professionalism, reputation and financial strength. Individual perks such as paid health care benefits, major medical plans, and contributions to 401k retirement plans were also ranked highly. One noticeable item missing from the 10 top-qualities seniors feel important in maintaining employment with the same company is the salary they are paid. While salary is a big factor in the employment decision, the survey results show that it is not the most important item.

RESULTS FROM THE CONTRACTOR SURVEY The second part of the two-part survey (Appendix B) was given to Company Recruiters to gauge their thoughts on what they felt were important company qualities for seniors. Fifty-two contractors responded to this survey. These contractor results are shown in Appendix D. The 10 top-rated items on the contractor survey are presented in Table 2 (rating shown in parentheses). The results from the contractor survey shown above reveal a similar 50/50 split between individual and company qualities shown in the senior survey. However, while there is some agreement between the surveys regarding the importance of similar company qualities, there are differences in the items that directly impact the individual.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Table 2. Contractor Survey Results, 10 Top-Rated Items

Upward Movement (4.44)

Company’s Reputation With The Industry (4.21)

Challenging vs. Mundane Tasks (4.19)

Training (4.17)

Salary (4.13)

Stability of Company Management (4.04)

Recognition of Work Performed (4.04)

Company Culture/Company Philosophies (4.00)

Company’s Financial Strength (3.94)

Company’s Commitment to Professionalism (3.87)

Table 3. Comparison of Student/Contractor 10-Top Lists Rank

Combined Senior Results

Contractor Results

1.

Upward Movement in Company Positions (4.73)

Upward Movement In Company Positions (4.44)

2.

Company’s Reputation In Industry (4.48)

Company’s Reputation In Industry (4.21)

3.

Stability of Management (4.44)

Challenging vs. Mundane Tasks (4.19)

4.

Company Financial Strength (4.41)

Training (4.17)

5.

Paid Health Care Benefits (4.40)

Salary (4.13)

6.

Area of Country You Will Mostly Live (4.32)

Stability of Company Management (4.04)

7.

Major Medical Plan (4.26)

Recognition of Work Performed (4.04)

8.

Company’s Commitment to Professionalism (4.23)

Company Culture/Company Philosophies (4.00)

9.

Company Matching 401 K Retirement Package (4.19)

Company’s Financial Strength (3.94)

10.

Turnover Rate of Management (4.16)

Company’s Commitment to Professionalism (3.87)


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

COMPARISON BETWEEN THE SENIOR AND CONTRACTOR SURVEYS The 10 top-rated items on each survey are presented together in Table 3. The number in parentheses indicates the corresponding importance value for the respective surveys. A comparison of the similarities between the two surveys is shown in Table 4. Note that any “positive” value in the rating difference column indicates that seniors rated that particular item higher in importance than perceived by the surveyed contractors.

Table 4. Similarities between the Student and Contractor 10-Top Survey Results Senior Ranking

Contractor Ranking

Difference

4.73

4.44

+0.29

Company’s Reputation In Industry

4.48

4.21

+0.27

Stability of Company Management

4.44

4.04

+0.40

4.41

3.94

+0.47

4.23

3.87

+0.36

COMPANY QUALITIES Upward Movement

Company’s Financial Strength Company’s Commitment to Professionalism

As shown in Tables 3 and 4, upward movement and other company-based traits share importance in both the senior and contractor surveys. Note that the seniors felt these particular items are more important than the contractors suspected. Survey results also call attention to the differences of importance placed on certain company qualities between those desired by the senior and the items perceived as important by the company recruiters. These differences are compared in Tables 5 and


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Table 6.

Negative values reflect items that are not as important to seniors as

considered by contractors. Table 5. Comparison of Company Qualities Ranked Highly by Seniors SENIOR-DESIRED COMPANY QUALITIES

Senior Ranking

Contractor Ranking

Difference

Company-Paid Health Care Benefits

4.40

3.67

+0.73

Area of Country

4.32

3.83

+0.49

Major Medical Plan

4.26

3.71

+0.55

Company Matching 401K Retirement Plan

4.19

3.73

+0.46

Turnover Rate of Companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Key Management Personnel

4.16

3.52

+0.64

Table 6. Comparison of Company Qualities Ranked Highly by Contractors CONTRACTOR PERCEIVED COMPANY QUALITIES

Contractor Ranking

Senior Ranking

Difference

Training

4.17

4.10

-0.07

Challenging vs. Mundane Tasks

4.19

4.06

-0.13

Salary

4.13

4.15

+0.02

Recognition of Work Performed

4.04

4.02

-0.02

Company Culture/ Company Philosophies

4.00

4.14

+0.14

It should be noted that although salary and company culture/company philosophies did not achieve the same 10 top-status in the senior survey as they do in the contractor survey, seniors still rate these two items higher than the company recruiters assumed. Other items that did not make it to the 10 top-list of either survey, but show a large discrepancy of importance ratings include the items shown in Table 7.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Table 7. Five Largest Differences in Importance Ratings COMPANY QUALITY

Senior Rating

Contractor Rating

Difference

3.51

2.54

-0.97

4.08

3.15

-0.93

3.18

2.29

-0.89

Company’s Safety Performance/Record

4.11

3.29

-0.82

Company’s Client Base

3.55

2.75

-0.80

Perks/Company Offers (ex: Sport tickets) Vacation/Sick Time Policy Allow Leave of Absence to Pursue Masters’ Degree

LOW-PRIORITY ITEMS ON BOTH SURVEYS Many low-ranked items were included on both lists. The bottom-six items (due to a tie in the senior rankings) are compared in Tables 8 and 9. Table 8. Low-Ranked Items Per the Senior Survey Results LOW-RANKED ITEMS PER SENIOR SURVEY

Senior Ranking

Contractor Ranking

Difference

The Need to Relocate for Projects

3.18

3.30

-0.12

Allow Leave of Absence to Pursue a Masters’ Degree

3.18

2.40

+0.78

Size of Company – Number of Employees

3.17

3.14

+0.03

Size of the Organization

3.14

3.09

+0.05

Company Vehicle

3.06

3.02

+0.04

Company Title

2.69

2.74

-0.05


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Table 9. Low-Ranked Items per the Contractor Survey Results LOW-RANKED ITEMS PER CONTRACTOR SURVEY

Contractor Ranking

Senior Ranking

Difference

Travel for Company

2.93

3.54

+0.61

Overtime Work Required For Salaried Positions

2.93

3.26

+0.33

Company’s Client Base

2.77

3.55

+0.78

Company Title

2.74

2.69

-0.05

Company Perks (sports tickets…etc.)

2.53

3.51

+0.98

Allow Leave of Absence to Pursue a Masters’ Degree

2.40

3.18

+0.78

Similar items appear at the bottom of both surveys. In fact, the bottom four items reflect ratings that are very close. There is mutual agreement between the surveys in regards to placing the position’s company title as the lowest priority.

Additionally,

allowing employees a leave of absence to pursue a Master’s degree was ranked low by all those surveyed. However, seniors rated this item much higher than the contractors. In fact, as shown in Table 8, there are many items that appear at the bottom of the contractor’s list that were rated much higher in the senior survey.

The company

qualities ranked low by contractors and that show a large variation in importance ratings between the two surveys includes company perks (such as sports tickets) and the company’s client base.

CONCLUSION Overall, the survey results show that seniors and employers have different opinions pertaining to important company qualities that help graduates remain with companies. Seniors rated a majority of the given company qualities higher than suspected by


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

contractor company recruiters.

The career path and long-term items (area of the

country, and health insurance, for example) seem to be more important to seniors than immediate result items (salaries). As the results illustrate, recruiters had items ranked higher in the importance ratings than shown in the senior survey. Therefore, it appears that company recruiters may offer company perks they personally believe are important, but in reality, are not perceived by seniors as highly desirable when compared to other company qualities. By structuring company interviews to include the items discussed in this paper, the employment process will be successful for both recruiters and potential employees. Thus, employers can offer a position with desirable qualities to a recruit they want to hire, and employees have the chance to accept a company that better fulfills their personal requirements. Overall, seniors identified their desired employment ideas and contractors showed their misconceptions on what they thought would keep employees interested in maintaining employment within the company.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2 Appendix A. Sample Student Survey Below are issues you will face in your future full-time employment.

Please rate them on how important

they are to you in maintaining continued employment with the same company. 1= not important and 5 = very important. Salary Upward movement in job positions Ability to change positions when you wish to try something new Limited travel for your job The need to relocate my residence for different projects Company culture / Company philosophies Job title Training Toys- computers, PDA’s, etc… Company vehicle Company matching 401K retirement package Company profit sharing Area of the country you will mostly live Flexible work environment – attire, work hours Employee recognition program Size of company – number of employees Size of projects – large, medium, small volume? Variety of project types – diverse or specialized? Overtime work required for a salaried position Company’s attitude towards continuing education Tuition Reimbursement for continuing education Size of the organization Major Medical Plan Dental Plan Work Schedule (number of hours per week) Ability to focus on the type of construction in which you plan to specialize Company’s client base Company’s commitment to professionalism Stability of Company’s management Company mentoring program Depth of Company’s management skills Company’s financial strength Company’s commitment to integrating technology in the field Company’s attitude toward management training Company’s attitude toward craft training Company paid health care benefits Turnover rate of others in your position Turnover rate of Company’s key management personnel Company’s reputation within the industry Company’s safety performance/record Recognition of work performed Challenging Vs. Mundane Tasks Type of Work (High Tech, Pharmaceutical, office, etc…) Vacation/Sick time policy Perks company offers (sport tickets, etc…) Allow you to take a leave of absence to pursue a Masters’ degree

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2 Appendix B. Sample Contractor Survey Company Name (only to be used to avoid duplication): Below are issues students will face in their future full-time employment. Please rate these topics on how important you believe they are for students to maintain continued employment with the same construction company. 1= not important & 5 = very important. Thank-you for your input! Salary 1 2 3 4 5 Upward movement in job positions 1 2 3 4 5 Ability to change positions when you wish to try something new 1 2 3 4 5 Limited travel for your job 1 2 3 4 5 The need to relocate my residence for different projects 1 2 3 4 5 Company culture / Company philosophies 1 2 3 4 5 Job title 1 2 3 4 5 Training 1 2 3 4 5 Toys- computers, PDA’s, etc… 1 2 3 4 5 Company vehicle 1 2 3 4 5 Company matching 401K retirement package 1 2 3 4 5 Company profit sharing 1 2 3 4 5 Area of the country you will mostly live 1 2 3 4 5 Flexible work environment – attire, work hours 1 2 3 4 5 Employee recognition program 1 2 3 4 5 Size of company – number of employees 1 2 3 4 5 Size of projects – large, medium, small volume? 1 2 3 4 5 Variety of project types – diverse or specialized? 1 2 3 4 5 Overtime work required for a salaried position 1 2 3 4 5 Company’s attitude towards continuing education 1 2 3 4 5 Tuition Reimbursement for continuing education 1 2 3 4 5 Size of the organization 1 2 3 4 5 Major Medical Plan 1 2 3 4 5 Dental Plan 1 2 3 4 5 Work Schedule (number of hours per week) 1 2 3 4 5 Ability to focus on the type of construction in which you plan to 1 2 3 4 5 specialize Company’s client base 1 2 3 4 5 Company’s commitment to professionalism 1 2 3 4 5 Stability of Company’s management 1 2 3 4 5 Company mentoring program 1 2 3 4 5 Depth of Company’s management skills 1 2 3 4 5 Company’s financial strength 1 2 3 4 5 Company’s commitment to integrating technology in the field 1 2 3 4 5 Company’s attitude toward management training 1 2 3 4 5 Company’s attitude toward craft training 1 2 3 4 5 Company paid health care benefits 1 2 3 4 5 Turnover rate of others in your position 1 2 3 4 5 Turnover rate of Company’s key management personnel 1 2 3 4 5 Company’s reputation within the industry 1 2 3 4 5 Company’s safety performance/record 1 2 3 4 5 Recognition of work performed 1 2 3 4 5 Challenging Vs. Mundane Tasks 1 2 3 4 5 Type of Work (High Tech, Pharmaceutical, office, etc…) 1 2 3 4 5 Vacation/Sick time policy 1 2 3 4 5 Perks company offers (sport tickets, etc…) 1 2 3 4 5 Allow you to take a leave of absence to pursue a Masters’ degree 1 2 3 4 5


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2 Appendix C. Student Survey Results TOPIC Salary Upward movement in job positions Ability to change positions when you wish to try something new Travel for your job The need to relocate for projects Company culture / Company philosophies Job title Training Toys- computers, PDA’s, etc… Company vehicle Company matching 401K retirement package Company profit sharing Area of the country you will mostly live Flexible work environment – attire, work hours Employee recognition program Size of company – number of employees Size of projects – large, medium, small volume? Variety of project types – diverse or specialized? Overtime work required for a salaried position Company’s attitude towards continuing education Tuition Reimbursement for continuing education Size of the organization Major Medical Plan Dental Plan Work Schedule (number of hours per week) Ability to focus on the type of construction in which you plan to specialize Company’s client base Company’s commitment to professionalism Stability of Company’s management Company mentoring program Depth of Company’s management skills Company’s financial strength Company’s commitment to integrating technology in the field Company’s attitude toward management training Company’s attitude toward craft training Company paid health care benefits Turnover rate of others in your position Turnover rate of Company’s key management personnel Company’s reputation within the industry Company’s safety performance/record Recognition of work performed Challenging Vs. Mundane Tasks Type of Work (High Tech, Pharmaceutical, office, etc…) Vacation/Sick time policy Perks company offers (sport tickets, etc…) Allow you to take a leave of absence to pursue a Masters’ degree

Florida N=54 4.09 4.76

Purdue N=62 4.23 4.68

Auburn N=17 4.06 4.82

Combined N=133 4.15 4.73

3.94 3.63 3.30 3.98 2.70 4.07 3.04 3.04 4.24 4.13 4.46 3.87 3.43 3.33 3.24 3.43 3.48 3.61 3.33 3.19 4.04 3.76 4.09

3.95 3.45 3.05 4.37 2.65 4.08 3.42 3.08 4.19 4.15 4.21 4.15 3.55 2.98 3.15 3.66 3.02 3.89 4.02 3.10 4.45 4.32 3.68

4.06 3.56 3.25 3.82 2.82 4.24 2.94 3.06 4.06 4.12 4.24 3.82 3.47 3.35 3.53 3.65 3.41 3.71 3.29 3.12 4.29 3.71 3.71

3.96 3.54 3.18 4.14 2.69 4.10 3.20 3.06 4.19 4.14 4.32 3.99 3.49 3.17 3.24 3.57 3.26 3.75 3.65 3.14 4.26 4.01 3.85

3.85 3.61 4.15 4.37 3.72 3.96 4.41

3.58 3.48 4.27 4.49 4.10 4.13 4.45

3.59 3.59 4.35 4.47 4.00 4.24 4.29

3.69 3.55 4.23 4.44 3.93 4.08 4.41

3.83 3.96 3.61 4.33 4.13

4.21 4.21 3.76 4.52 4.06

4.06 4.18 3.41 4.18 3.65

4.04 4.10 3.65 4.40 4.04

4.26 4.43 3.89 4.17 4.13

4.16 4.55 4.42 3.94 4.05

3.82 4.35 3.71 3.82 3.88

4.16 4.48 4.11 4.02 4.06

3.52 4.00 3.55

3.69 4.23 3.53

3.53 3.82 3.29

3.60 4.08 3.51

2.93

3.39

3.18

3.18


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2 Appendix D. Contractor Survey Results

TOPIC Salary Upward movement in job positions Ability to change positions when you wish to try something new Travel for your job The need to relocate for projects Company culture / Company philosophies Job title Training Toys- computers, PDA’s, etc… Company vehicle Company matching 401K retirement package Company profit sharing Area of the country you will mostly live Flexible work environment – attire, work hours Employee recognition program Size of company – number of employees Size of projects – large, medium, small volume? Variety of project types – diverse or specialized? Overtime work required for a salaried position Company’s attitude towards continuing education Tuition Reimbursement for continuing education Size of the organization Major Medical Plan Dental Plan Work Schedule (number of hours per week) Ability to focus on the type of construction in which you plan to specialize Company’s client base Company’s commitment to professionalism Stability of Company’s management Company mentoring program Depth of Company’s management skills Company’s financial strength Company’s commitment to integrating technology in the field Company’s attitude toward management training Company’s attitude toward craft training Company paid health care benefits Turnover rate of others in your position Turnover rate of Company’s key management personnel Company’s reputation within the industry Company’s safety performance/record Recognition of work performed Challenging Vs. Mundane Tasks Type of Work (High Tech, Pharmaceutical, office, etc…) Vacation/Sick time policy Perks company offers (sport tickets, etc…) Allow you to take a leave of absence to pursue a Masters’ degree

Contractors N=52 4.13 4.44 3.69 2.81 3.25 4.00 2.81 4.17 3.23 3.08 3.73 3.71 3.83 3.40 3.29 3.12 3.37 3.54 2.94 3.44 3.21 3.12 3.71 3.25 3.21 3.60 2.75 3.87 4.04 3.63 3.63 3.94 3.60 3.67 2.87 3.67 3.38 3.52 4.21 3.29 4.04 4.19 3.40 3.15 2.54 2.29


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

James L. Jenkins is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Building Construction Management at Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana) where he teaches courses in construction planning and scheduling.

His work background lies primarily in the

supervision of commercial construction projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Bradford L. Sims, PhD, AIC, is the Program Director of the Construction Management program at Western Carolina University in North Carolina. He founded the Construction Management program in Fall 2002. Dr. Sims is a constructor member of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) and completed a BS in Construction Management from Purdue University and a MS in Construction Management from the University of Florida. After completing his BS, Dr. Sims worked across the United States in the industrial construction segment of the industry.

Scott Fuller is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Building Science at Auburn University. He has a Masters degree in Construction Management. He teaches the Project Controls I, II, III, Construction Safety, Drawings and Specifications, and Computers in Construction classes.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Contributors to Construction Delays In Palestine Adnan Enshassi, Roger Liska, N. Sawalhi, I. Radwan

ABSTRACT Palestine has experienced a major construction boom to reconstruct the newly developing country. Construction industry in Palestine employs 25% of the total labor force and uses 19% of the total energy consumption in the country. It contributes about 17% to the total gross domestic product. Process and development in the country was faced with many difficulties: shortage of resources, inadequate infrastructure, lack of technology, and lack of management skills. The construction market has many unique features, both culturally and environmentally, that can result in delays and cost overruns. This paper presents the main causes of construction delays in Palestine. A survey of a randomly selected sample of 9 owners, 9 contractors and 6 consulting firms in the Gaza Strip was undertaken. The survey included 48 causes of delay, grouped into 9 major groups, and the respondents were asked to indicate their degree of importance to each delay reason. The level of importance of the causes and the groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s were measured and ranked by the importance index for owners, contractors and consultants. It was found that the most effectives causes of delay are shortages of materials due to the borders closure, contractor-financing problem, poor site management and supervision, and low productivity. This study concluded that it is advisable to reduce the dependency of the Palestinian economy on the Israeli Market. Furthermore, there is a need to pay more attention to the financial issues in


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

the local construction industry, improve site management practice by conducting special training courses to local engineers to update their knowledge and skills.

Key Words Delay Factors, Construction Industry, Economy, Palestine

INTRODUCTION The construction industry is the tool through which physical development is achieved, and that is truly the locomotive of the national economy. The more resources, engineering, labor, materials, equipment, capital, and market exchange are provided form within the national economy, the higher the factor of the extent of self reliance. The increasing complexity of infrastructure projects and the environment within which they are constructed place greater demand on construction managers to deliver projects on time, within the planned budget and with high quality. The emergency and investment programs for Palestine focus on infrastructure and human resources. Infrastructure needs remedial attention, both to improve the quality of life and to stimulate private sector investment. Contracting is a risky business in any country, but in Palestine the lack of access to financing, excessively complex contract documents, failure to ensure fair procurement practices, the high cost of importing equipment, and the fluctuation of demands for construction often mean that the private sector of construction industry has not had the opportunity to establish itself sufficiently to bid for major infrastructure projects. All these risks and


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

uncertainty causes considerable delay of the construction projects in Palestine. The delay of construction projects will adversely effect the projects cost. The cost of the emergency assistance program to the Palestinian National Authority is estimated US $1.2 Billion, of which about 41% would be spent in Gaza Strip. Public investment support would constitute 50% of the program; support to the private sector 25%, expenditure support 19% and the support for technical assistance 6% (PECDAR, 1998). The overall size of the program has been determined in relation to the likely external and internal financial resources available during the three year program period, and to the likely overall capacity to implement foreign financed projects. Although assessment of the impact of the implementation capacity and finance on the programâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s size is largely judgmental, a size in excess of the proposed program is likely to create considerable administrative bottlenecks, especially if many projects were to be financed in a parallel by a multitude of donors. Given the likely fragility of the public finances of the new Palestinian Administration during the transition period, the donor community will need to finance the proposed Emergency Program entirely with external resources. Also, because Palestine debt services capacity is likely to remain limited for some time to come, external financing of public sector expenditures will need to be on highly confessional terms. Given the unique circumstances of the Palestinian Territories and the inexperience of the newly created Palestinian institutions, the donors will need to keep their procedural requirements simple and to administer their aid programs with more than usual flexibility.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Unlike the developed countries, Palestine does not have a mature construction industry consisting of well-established contracting and consulting companies. Much of the building and construction is done by the informal sector. This consists of individuals building family shelters, water wells and the like. The formal sector consists of public and private domestic contractors. The aim of this paper is to investigate the main causes of construction delays in Palestine.

BACKGROUND Palestine as it stands now consists of the West Bank and Gaza (WBG); the combined area of the WBG is approximately 6,000 square kilometers. The estimated combined population is about 3.0 million, of which 38 percent reside in the Gaza Strip. With its extremely heavy population of 2.3 persons per square kilometer, the Gaza Strip has only 16 towns and villages. Registered refugees represent 72 per cent of its population, of which about 50 percent live in refugee camps. The WBG has a per capita Gross National Product (GNP) of US $1,453 (1998), with a marked discrepancy in incomes between Gaza ($857) and the West Bank ($1,819). Estimates for 1998 suggest real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.5 percent, but due to further loss in employment opportunities for Palestinian workers in Israel, and allowing for population increase, real per capita GNP declined by an estimated 8 percent. Also, the already high 25 percent unemployment rate in 1999 is estimated to have risen to 30 percent. This indicates that the positive job creation performance, particularly in residential construction, was insufficient to overcome the impact of repeated Israeli border closures. The prospects for


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

2000 had appeared some what more promising until the recent uprising in Palestine. This has led to extended border closings which have had a severely negative impact on economic and social life. Unemployment is now at crisis levels, particularly in the Gaza Strip. GDP and GNP in WBG are projected to decline by 11 and 17 per cent, respectively, in real terms for 2000 as a whole. During the Paris meeting in December 1993, financial pledges were given or confirmed for a total of US $2.3 Billion for the five-year transition period ending in 1998. This assistance was to finance free-standing investment projects or public sector programs, technical assistance through the Bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Technical Assistance Trust Fund, and budget support. At Paris meeting US $578 Million was pledged for 1994, a figure which has subsequently grown to US $722 Million due to some donors front-loading their overall pledges. Funds pledged for 1994 and 1995 (US $1,221 million) are in aggregate sufficient to cover the requirements for the proposed Emergency Program. The priority was to match donor pledges to specific sectional projects and programs in a timely manner to ensure that the program can be delivered as planned.

LITERATURE REVIEW Delays in construction projects are a major concern to project managers. There are a number of problems causing delays, of these; the most

common

are

inadequate

project

formulation,

lack

of

proper

implementation and poor management practice. In Palestine, the major problem that causes delay in construction projects is the closure of borders


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

and civil unrest. Both are very difficult to overcome, and both depend on the political situation. The occurrence of time overruns may endanger the project goals, complicate relations between partners, weaken the investor, and in turn it weakens the whole economy. Various researches performed in different countries confirmed that many of them suffer from significant construction delays. Baldwin and Manthei (1971) studied the causes of delay in the construction industry in the United States. Their survey included engineers, architects, and contractors. They observed that there was substantial agreement among the three groups concerning the reasons of delay. They found that weather, labor supply, and subcontractors were the major causes of delay. In Australia, Bromilow (1974) found that only one of eight building contracts were completed within the scheduled completion dates and that the average time overruns exceeded 40%. Chalabi and Camp (1984) conducted a study on construction project delays in developing countries during planning and construction stages. They found that adequate planning at the early stages of the projects is essential for minimizing delay and cost overruns in most projects in developing countries. The World Bank (1990) confirmed that an average of 40% startup costs overruns in 63% of 1778 financed construction projects, and an average of 70% startup time overruns in 88% of 1627 projects during the last 15 years. Researchers investigated the causes of delay and cost overrun in construction projects in Nigeria (Uchechukwu, et al, 1993; Mansfield, et al, 1994). They found that financing and payment for completed works, poor contract management, changes in site conditions, shortage of material, and improper


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

planning were the main causes of delay. Assaf et al. (1995) studied the causes of delay in large building construction projects in Saudi Arabia. They noticed that approval of shop drawings, delay in contractorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; payment by owners, design changes by owners, cash problems during construction, conflicts in work schedules of subcontractors, slow decision making process by

owners,

design

errors,

excessive

bureaucracy

in

project-owner

organization, labor shortages and inadequate labor skills are the most important causes of delay. Ogunlana and Promkuntong (1996) studied the causes of delay in building projects in Thailand. They concluded from their study that there are three main problems which contribute to delays, firstly: problem of shortages or inadequacies in industry infrastructure, mainly supply of resources. Second, problem caused by clients and consultants. Third, problems caused by contractor incompetence or inadequacies. They recommended that there is a need for focussing effort by economy managers and construction industry associations to provide the infrastructure needed for efficient project management. Chan and Kumaraswamy (1997) conducted a comparative study of causes of time overruns in Hong Kong construction projects. Their results indicated that the causes of delays are: poor site management and supervision; unforeseen ground conditions; low speed of decision making involving all project teams; client-initiated variations; and necessary variation, of work. A study performed in 1994, which looked at 8,000 projects, showed that only 16% of the projects could satisfy the three famous conditions of


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

project management: finish on time, balance the budget, and according to specifications (Frame, 1999). Kumaraswamy

and

Chan

(1998)

investigated

the

causes

of

construction delays in Hong Kong as seen by clients, consultants and contractors. Their analysis revealed differences in perceptions of the relative significance of factors between the three groups. There was general agreement about the relative importance of delay factors such as unforeseen ground conditions. Mezher and Tawil (1998) studied the causes of delays in the construction industry in Lebanon. They found that all three parties, (owners, contractors and architectural/engineering firms) generally agreed on the ranking of the major categories of delay factors.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The current survey questionnaire consisting of 48 delay factors that was designed on the basis of a literature review and interviews with local owners, consultants and contractors. The 48 factors were grouped into nine major factor categories; the following is a brief description of these categories:

1. Materials include shortages due to border closure, change in type and specifications during construction, slow delivery of materials, damage goods and quality. 2. Manpower includes labor skills, shortages, weak motivation, low productivity and a shortage of skilled craftsmen. 3. Plant/Equipment

factors

include

shortage,

maintenance, unskilled operators and low efficiency.

breakdowns,

slow


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

4. Financing factors include delay in contractor’s progress payment by owner, contractor financing problems, and payment delay by funding agencies. 5. Changes factors include design changes by the owner, design errors made by designers, mistakes in soil investigations and unforeseen ground conditions. 6. Government relations include permits from municipalities, building codes and bureaucracy in government agencies. 7. Project management factors include shop drawings preparation and approval, preparation of network scheduling, lack of personnel training and management support, poor judgement in estimating time and resources, poor site management and supervision, inadequate pre-planning of the project, application of quality control based on foreign specifications and testing procedure used in project. 8. Environmental issues include hot or cold weather, rain effect on construction activities, and social and cultural factors. 9. Contractual relationships include conflict between contractor and subcontractor, inadequate contractor experience, uncooperative owner owner’s slow decisions, difficulty in coordination between different parties, insufficient communication between the owner and the designer in the design phase, unavailability of professional construction management, controlling of subcontractors by general contractor, legal disputes between various parties in the construction project and project delivery systems used.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

After the 48 causes of delay were identified, a questionnaire was developed and distributed to owners, consultants and contractors. The sample questionnaire used is included in Appendix 1. The aim of the questionnaire was to assess the relative importance of each of the causes. The respondents were first asked to identify the causes of construction time overruns and then to rank the individual delay factors in order of importance, according to their local working experience in construction. In addition, respondents were also encouraged to cite additional factors thought to extend the construction durations of projects. The scope of this research included medium size public and private firms in the Gaza Strip. Given this scope, the questionnaire was distributed randomly, and the respondents were 9 owners, 6 consultants and 9 contractors. The questionnaire was personally handed over to the respondents, and an interviewer was available to answer any questions about the questionnaires.

DATA ANALYSIS Several researchers used the relative importance index method to determine the level of importance of causes of delay in construction projects (Assaf et al, 1995, Mezher et al, 1998, Chan et al, 1997). The same method was also adopted for the analysis of the data collected from the current survey to determine the ranking of different causes from the point of view of owners, consultants and contractors. The relative importance index (I) was computed as:


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

I=

4

i=1

aixi 3

Where I= importance index; ai = constant expressing the weight of the ith response, where ai = 0, 1, 2, 3, for i = 1, 2, 3, 4, respectively, xi frequency of the ith response given as a percentage of the total responses for each cause;

i = response category index where i = 1, 2, 3, 4; x1= frequency of not important responses, x2= frequency of somewhat important responses, x3= frequency of important responses; and x4= frequency of very important responses. The importance index for all causes of delay is calculated using I. The indexes were ranked for owners, consultants and contractors. Table 1 shows the indexes and ranks of all delay factors.

Table 2 shows the indexes and the ranks for groups of delay factors. The group index is the average of the delay factors in each group. The agreement between the rankings of any two parties was measured using the rank correlation coefficient. These were determined by using Spearman’s rank correlation (Dowdy and Wearden, 1985) as follows:

rs = 1-

6 ∑ d2 N (N2 – 1)

Where rs = Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient; d = difference between the ranks given by one party and the rank given by another party for an individual cause; and N = number of cause or groups, which, in this case, is 48 causes or ten groups.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

No.

Group

1 2

Material

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Manpower

Plant/ Equipment

Financing

Changes

Governmen t Relations

Project Manageme nt

31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39

Environme nt

Table 1. Index and Rank of Different Delay Factors Delay factor Owners Consultants Inde Rank Inde Rank x x Shortage due to border closure 92.6 1 100 1 Changes during construction 59.3 29 55.5 19 in types and specifications Slow delivery 62.9 26 50 22 Damage in storage 37 46 22.2 44 Quality 48.2 39 61.1 13 Materials supplied by the owner. 59.3 30 72.2 4 Labor skills 70.4 12 44.5 27 Labor shortages 81.5 5 38.9 34 Craftsmen shortages 77.8 8 44.4 29 Weak motivation 48.2 40 16.7 47 Low productivity 88.9 2 38.9 34 Shortages 85.2 3 22.2 44 Low efficiency (old equipment) 55.5 36 33.4 38 Unskilled operators 66.6 22 38.9 34 Slow maintenance 59.3 31 22.2 44 Breakdowns 62.9 27 55.6 16 Delay in contractor’s 66.7 19 77.6 3 progress payment by owner

Contractors Inde Rank x 92.6 1 66.7 13 48.1 37.1 63 55.5 74.1 70.4 70.3 33.3 62.6 77.7 51.9 55.6 40.7 55.7 66.6

36 42 18 31 7 10 11 45 21 5 32 28 40 27 15

Contractor financing problems Payment delay by funding agencies Design change by owner Design errors made by designers Mistakes in soil investigation Unforeseen ground conditions Errors in construction Permits Building Regulations Bureaucracy in Government agencies Preparation and approval of shop drawings Lack of tracking of schedules. Lack of personnel training and management support

81.5 70.4 70.4 62.9 59.2 63 59.3 37 33.3 40.7

6 13 14 28 34 24 32 47 48 42

88.9 72.2 50 50 66.7 50 50.1 44.3 33.4 44.4

2 4 22 22 10 22 21 33 38 29

77.8 63 51.8 70.4 59.2 44.4 63.1 62.9 37 40.6

3 17 34 9 26 38 16 20 44 41

48.1

41

55.5

19

59.3

22

70.4 63

15 25

55.6 61.1

16 13

59.25 59.26

24 23

Poor judgment in estimating time and resources Poor site management and supervision Inadequate pre-planning of the project Lack of contractor’s home office follows up. Inspection and testing procedure used in project Rework of bad quality performance Hot or cold weather Rain effect on construction activities Social and cultural factors

66.7

20

72.2

4

66.66

14

85.2

4

50

22

85.2

2

74.1

11

66.8

9

51.87

33

77.8

9

44.5

27

59.22

25

40.7

43

44.4

29

62.93

19

70.3 40.7 40.7

18 44 45

38.9 33.3 33.3

34 40 40

55.59 22.2 37.03

29 47 43

59.2

35

16.6

48

14.9

48


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

No.

Group

Delay factor

40

Contractual Relationships

Conflict between contractor and subcontractor Inadequate contractor experience Uncooperative owner Owner’s slow decisions Difficulty in coordination between different parties Insufficient communication between the owner and designer in the design phase Controlling of subcontractor by general contractor Legal disputes between parties Project procurement systems used

41 42 43 44 45

46 47 48

SN

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Owners Inde Rank x 66.7 21

Consultants Inde Rank x 44.4 29

Contractors Inde Rank x 55.57 30

81.5 70.4 77.7 70.4

7 16 10 17

66.7 72.2 72.2 66.7

10 4 4 10

77.73 74.1 74.07 66.7

4 6 8 12

51.9

37

61.1

13

40.73

39

66.6

23

55.6

16

48.1

35

59.3 51.8

33 38

33.3 27.7

40 43

44.41 22.21

37 46

Table 2. Index and Rank of Different Groups of Delay Group Owners Consultants Inde Rank Index Rank x Material 59.88 7 60.17 2 Manpower 73.36 1 36.68 7 Plant/Equipment 65.9 5 34.46 8 Financing 72.87 2 79.57 1 Changes 62.96 6 53.36 5 Government Relations 37 9 40.7 6 Project Management 66.28 3 54.33 4 Environment 46.87 8 27.73 9 Contractual Relationships 66.27 4 55.54 3

Contactors Index Rank 60.5 62.14 56.32 69.13 57.78 46.83 62.14 24.71 55.96

4 2 6 1 5 8 3 9 7

The rank correlation coefficients for the delay factors are 0.40, 0.67 and 0.55 for owners and consultants, owners and contractors, and consultants and contractors, respectively (Table 3). The rank correlations coefficient for the main groups of delay is 0.30, 0.80 and 0.55 for owners’ consultants, owners’ contractors, and consultants and contractors, respectively (Tables 4). Using a t-test at a 95% confidence level of the null hypothesis that: “Owners and consultants, Owners and contractors, and consultants and contractors do not agree on the ranking of importance of delay factors” resulted in the rejection of the hypothesis for all


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

three cases. Therefore, the alternative hypothesis that the three parties generally agree on the ranks is accepted.

Table 3. Correlations between Owners/Consultants, Owners/Contractors and Contractors/Consultants for Delay Factors Factor Owners/ Owners/ Contractors/ Consultants Contractors Consultants Correlation Coefficient 0.402 0.674 0.555 Sig. (2-tailed) 0.005 0.001 0.001

Table 4. Correlations between Owners/Consultants, Owners/Contractors and Contractors/Consultants for Group of Delay Factors Factor Owners/ Owners/ Contractors/ Consultants Contractors Consultants Correlation Coefficient 0.300 0.800 0.55 Sig. (2-tailed) 0.433 0.01 0.125

Similarly, the t-test at a 95% confidence level of the same null hypothesis, but for the groups of delay factors, resulted in the rejection of the null hypothesis in the case of owners and contractors and acceptance of the null hypothesis in the remaining two cases. Therefore, the owners and contractors generally agree on the ranking group of delay, whereas owners and consultants, and contractors and consultants do not agree.

RESULTS The following is a brief discussion of the different groups of delay causes in construction projects in Palestine deducted from Tables 1 and 2.

Material The material group of delay factors was ranked high by consultants and contractors, and low by owners. This result is due to the lack of local resources as more than 70% of construction materials are imported from other


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

countries. It is worth mention that all three parties ranked shortage of construction materials due to border closure by the Israeli authorities as the highest cause of delay among the 48 causes of delay in this survey. This reflects the special situation of Gaza Strip in Palestine and the great dependence on the Israeli material.

Manpower The manpower group of delay factor shows a clear difference in ranking between

owners,

contractors and

consultants.

Owners

and

contractors believe that labor shortages and labor skills are very important cause of delay while consultants ranked them as not important. This is probably because consultants have no direct contact with labor in the practice.

Equipment The equipment group of delays was ranked relatively low by both owners and contractors and very low by consultants. This ranking reveals the low effect of this factor in the projects’ delay.

This is due to the low

dependency on heavy equipment and the use of intensive labor force in the Palestinian construction industry.

Financing The financing group of delays was ranked high by all parties. It is noticeable that the owners, consultants and contractors ranked the factor “Contractor financial problem” as very important. This ranking is consistent with the actual practice in the local construction industry where many delays


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

and even failures of construction contractors resulted from severe financial shortages. This can be traced to the local political situation and the flow of projects funding.

Changes All parties have agreed on the ranking of the changes group of delay factors as relatively medium. Within this group the owners ranked “design change by owners” as the highest within the group. The consultants rated “mistakes in soil investigation” as the most important delay factor of this group. The contractors ranked the design errors as the highest within the group factors. The contractors always have a high concern for the design errors as most contract conditions considers contractors to be responsible for identifying and rectifying these errors during the construction process.

Government Relations Both owners and contractors ranked the government relations very low, while the consultants ranked it low.

The main reason behind that is the

owners who participate in this survey are public owners who don’t face problems in delaying with government entities.

Project Management Project management was ranked high by all three parties. Both owners and contractors ranked “poor site management and supervision” as the most important causes of delay while consultants ranked it as somewhat important. Poor judgment in estimating time and resources was ranked as the most


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

important cause of delay within the group. It is worth mentioning that there is a shortage of construction managers in Palestine and the construction industry as a whole lacks professionalism.

Environment Environment as a delay group was given the lowest ranking of all groups by all three parties. This is due to moderate weather conditions in Palestine and appropriate social and cultural conditions.

Contractual Relationship The contractual relationship was ranked relatively high by consultants, medium by owners and low by contractors.

The low ranking by the

contractors indicates the weakness of the construction companies in understanding the contract conditions.

Both owners and consultants

suggested that the highest rank within this group is “inadequate contractor’s experience. The consultants considered that “ owners slow decision, and inadequate contractors experience” are the most important cause of delay within the group. This reflects the lack of coordination between the concerned parties with respect to the contractual relationship.

CONCLUSION In this study, a survey was conducted in order to find the main causes of delay in the construction industry in Palestine as seen by owners, consultants and contractors.

The survey showed that all three parties

generally agree on the ranking of the individual delay factors. According to all


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

parties the most important delay factor was “shortages of materials due to the borders closure”. This is greatly affected by the political situation in Palestine and the great dependence on the Israeli market. Therefore, it is advisable to reduce the dependency of the Palestinian economy on the Israeli Market. This may be achieved by strengthen the industrial cooperation with Arab neighboring countries, encouraging the local manufacturing with emphasis on the quality of products and adopting plan for construction materials storage. According to the consultants the second most important delay factor was “contractor financing problem”. The second most important delay factors according to contractors was “poor site management and supervision”, while the owners considered “low productivity” to be the second important delay factor. This results indicate that there is a need to improve site management practice by conducting special training courses to local engineers to update their knowledge and skills, to improve cash flow of the projects and to adopt workable procedures in order to increase the productivity of the work force. The results showed that the financing group of delay factors was ranked the highest by all three parties and the environment group was ranked the lowest. In order to improve the situation, there is a need to pay more attention to the financial issues in the local construction industry, and there is a need for betters communication and coordination with international funding agencies. There is also an urgent need to develop human resources in the construction industry in Palestine.

The construction industry in Palestine

should also adopt innovative management techniques, team building and value engineering in orders to be more efficient and effective. A constructive


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

team building approach between owners, consultants and contractors will reduce delays and improve the quality of the work.

REFERENCES Assaf, A. A., Al-Khalil, M. and Al-Hazmi, M., 1995, Causes of delay in large building construction projects, Journal of Management in Engineering, ASCE,

11 (2), 45-50

Baldwin, J. R., and Manthei, J. M., 1971, Causes of delay in the construction industry,

Journal of Construction Division, ASCE, 97 (2), 177-187

Bromilow, F. J., 1974, Measurement of scheduling of construction time and cost

performance in the building industry, The Chartered Builder, Vol. 10.

Chalabi, F. A., and Camp, D., 1984, Causes of delays and overruns of construction projects in developing countries, CIB proceedings, W-65, Vol. 2, 723-734. Chan, D. W. M, and Kumaraswamy, M., 1997, A comparative study of causes of time

overruns in Hong Kong construction projects, International

Journal of Project

Management, Vol. 15, No. 1, 55-63.

Dowdy, S and Wearden, S., 1985, Statistics for research, John Wiley & Sons, New York Frame, J. D., 1997, Establishing project risk assessment teams, Managing risks in

projects, E & FN Spon, London, pp. 22-27.

Kumaraswamy, M. M. and Chan, D.W.M, 1998, Contributors to construction delays,

Construction Management and Economics, Vol. 16, 17-29.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Mansfield, N. R., Ugwu, O. O., and Doran, T., 1994, Causes of delay in large building

construction

Management, Vol. 12,

projects,

International

Journal

of

project

No. 4, 254-260.

Mezher, T.M. and Tawil, W., 1998, Causes of delays in the construction industry in

Lebanon,

Management Journal,

Engineering

Construction

and

Architectural

Vol. 5, No. 3, 251-260.

Ogunlana, S O and Promkuntong, K., 1996, Construction delays in a fastgrowing

economy:

International Journal of

comparing

Thailand

with

other

economies,

Project Management, Vol. 14, No. 1, 37-45.

PECDAR, 1998, Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction,

Activity report

Uchechukwu, E. A., and Buba, A. S., 1993, Construction cost factors in Nigeria,

Journal of construction Engineering and Management, ASCE,

119 (4), 698- 713. World Bank, 1990, Annual review of project performance results, operations and

Evaluation Department, the World Bank


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2 Appendix 1 Questionnaire to Rate the Level of Importance of Delay Factors for Construction Projects. Please indicate the level of importance of each of the delay factors listed below Category

No.

Delay Factors

Materials

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Shortage due to border closure Changes during construction in types and specifications Slow delivery Damage in storage Quality Materials supplied by the owner. Labor skills

8 9 10 11 12 13

Labor shortages Craftsmen shortages Weak motivation Low productivity Shortages Low efficiency (old equipment)

14 15 16 17

Unskilled operators Slow maintenance Breakdowns Delay in contractors’ progress payment by owner Contractor financing problems Payment delay by funding agencies Design change by owner Design errors made by designers Mistakes in soil investigation Unforeseen ground conditions Errors in construction Permits from municipalities Building Regulations

Manpowe r

Plant/ Equipme nt

Financing

18 19 Changes

Governme nt relations

20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Project managem ent

28

29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Environment

37 38 39

Bureaucracy in Government agencies Preparation and approval of shop drawings Lack of tracking of schedules. Lack of personnel training and management support Poor judgment in estimating time and resources Poor site management and supervision Inadequate pre-planning of the project Lack of contractor’s home office follows up. Inspection and testing procedure used in project Rework of bad quality performance Hot or cold weather Rain effect on construction activities Social and cultural factors

Very importa nt

Importa nt

Somewh at importan t

Not importa nt


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Category

No.

Delay Factors

Contractu al relationshi ps

40

Conflict between contractor and subcontractor

41 42 43 44

Inadequate contractor experience Uncooperative owner Ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s slow decisions Difficulty in coordination between different parties Insufficient communication between the owner and designer in the design phase Controlling of subcontractor by general contractor Legal disputes between parties Project procurement systems used

45

46 47 48

Very importa nt

Importa nt

Somewh at importan t

Not importa nt

Adnan Enshassi is a Professor of Construction Engineering and Management in the Civil Engineering Department at IUG with over fifteen years of research, teaching,

and

consulting

experience

in

various

construction

project

management disciplines. He was a visiting Professor at Clemson University (USA), Bremen University, Stuttgart University and Muenchen University (Germany), Graz University (Austria) and Liverpool University (UK). He has developed and conducted many training programs in Construction Project Management for Palestinian Engineers with local institutions and International Organizations like the WORLD BANK, UNDP, UNRWA, WHO and ILO. Professor Enshassi has published over 60 research papers in refereed International Journals and Conferences. He speaks Arabic, English, and German.

Dr. Roger W. Liska received his B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University, M.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from Wayne State University and EdD in Educational Administration from University of Georgia. He has over 35 years of construction experience most of which is as an educator and administrator in various universities. He


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

presently serves as Chair and Professor in the Department of Construction Science and Management at Clemson University. Dr. Liska serves in various leadership positions on many national and international construction associations and institutes, has received numerous awards for his work in construction and has had published and/or presented hundreds of papers on construction-related topics.

Nabil El Sawalhi is currentily working as Field Construction Manager in Uinted Nations for Relief and Work Agency - Gaza, Palestine. He has got his B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from El Mansoura University, Egypt in 1983 and M.Sc. in Construction Management in 2003 from The Islamic University – Gaza.

Ibrahim Radwan is currently working as Manager, Universal Group for Engineering and Consulting, Gaza, Palestine. He has received the B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Cairo University in 1984. He is currently preparing his Master thesis in Construction Management from The Islamic University – Gaza.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Improving Professionalism In The Construction Industry Daryl L. Orth, PhD, Bradford L. Sims, PhD, Kirk Alter

ABSTRACT The profession of construction contracting has a negative reputation among the general population. Parents and high school guidance counselors assume construction management education is similar to vocational training. Therefore, many young adults are encouraged to pursue careers in other presumably more reputable fields such as medicine, engineering, law, for example. Many individuals have the perception that construction contractors and workers are unprofessional, unsophisticated, nontechnically rigorous, and unscrupulous. Aspects contributing to this perception include an industry unwilling to change and adequately regulate itself.

If construction

contractors hope to change this image for both their tradespersons and managers, they must set out to create a more positive and professional image. If this is accomplished, they may also find a welcome secondary effect in the form of increased profitability. This paper evaluates some of the problems created by unlicensed contractors and recommends proposed solutions for helping the industry to become more professional, and to be perceived in a more positive light.

Key Words Construction Contracting, Licensing, Construction Management, Certification


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

INTRODUCTION Construction contracting is poorly perceived and is rated near the bottom of the list of career choices for young people today. According to a study of high school students conducted by a Wall Street Journal Almanac Poll, “construction worker” was rated 248 out of 250 occupations choices, beating out “dancer” and “lumberjack” (Shelar, 1997). An additional problem is that the average age of a construction worker is 48 years old. This means a large percentage of the workforce will be retiring in ten to fifteen years (Shelar, 1997).

In order to attract young people to the construction

industry to fill the roles of a tradesperson, manager, and company owner, more of the construction industry needs to move towards professionalism. Professionalization can be accomplished by accepting and requiring mandatory statewide contractor licensing, establishing continuing education requirements for contractors, and instituting professional certification licensing for managers. Contractor licensing is permission from a state agency to operate a construction business, and operating such business without a license would be a violation of law. Currently, there are only 31 states that require contractors to be licensed, and only 14 of those states require any sort of exam in order to earn a contractor license. States vary greatly in their expectations of the contractors who perform work within their borders. In Indiana, the contractor has only to pay for his or her license in each county and/or city that requires a license.

In Florida, the contractor must pass a

comprehensive exam to obtain a license, and then attend continuing education classes to maintain the license.


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In order to practice in each of the fifty United States, many professions require an individual to be certified by passing rigorous testing (Dreger, 1988). Attorneys need to pass the bar exam before practicing law. Accountants are required to pass an exam to become a Certified Public Accountant. Within the construction industry, engineers are required to become Professional Engineers (PE) and architects must be licensed before they can issue stamp drawings that are to be used for construction. In order to become a PE, engineers need to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering examination and have previous work experience.

Construction managers, however, who are in

charge of building the construction project, are not required to be certified or pass any testing. The PE only indicates that someone can design a construction project; it does not indicate whether or not they can build it. This does not diminish the importance or the prestige of a Professional Engineer, but emphasizes the need for something similar for construction managers (Palmer, 2002). The issue of licensing contractors today is best characterized as a jumbled political issue that is banned by special interest groups in the construction industry. Those arguing in favor of contractor licensing and certification cite public safety, quality control, and industry integrity as primary reasons to institute statewide licensing and certification. Those arguing against licensing disparage the process as a barrier to free enterprise, further imposition on contractors because the state will monitor and control their activities, and serve as just another tax and more bureaucracy (Gindin, 2002).


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PROBLEMS CREATED BY UNLICENSED CONTRACTORS Many unlicensed contractors are a nuisance to the construction industry and damage the construction industry. industry’s image.

First, they tend to damage the construction

Construction contractors and workers already have a negative

association among the general public. Construction contractors and their workers are depicted as uneducated, untrustworthy, overweight, and unscrupulous.

Today’s

advertisement constantly portrays the construction worker as someone loafing and whistling at women walking past the jobsite.

Consequently, the image of the

construction worker lacks prestige, class, and respectability and does not command the respect that they once did (Chini, Brown, and Drummond, 1999). Second, many unlicensed contractors represent unfair competition in the construction marketplace by avoiding paying taxes and state benefits such as unemployment and worker’s compensation. Illegal contractors can and do undercut legitimate contractors on price (Maloney, 1987). As one of the largest industries in each of the fifty states, the activities of unlicensed contractors account for a significant underground economy.

Potentially billions of annual revenue dollars are changing

hands without taxation, resulting in the loss of many millions of dollars of annual revenue to the states. Third, a majority of the general public does not trust contractors and even many contractors do not trust their fellow contractors. Honesty and trustworthiness are two of the biggest decision factors in helping a homeowner choose a contractor to build or remodel their home. This holds true among contractors as well. The general contractor


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is constantly monitoring the subcontractors to make sure they are installing the correct product, and not trying to substitute a cheaper and unapproved product. Furthermore, each year, thousands of consumer complaints are received about the quality and performance of construction services which are mostly the result of the work of unlicensed individuals or firms unaccountable for their abuses (Dreger, 1988; Maloney, 1987). In an industry severely challenged to provide adequate manpower at both the tradesperson and management levels in the coming decades, it seems imprudent to ignore the need to professionalize and legitimize the construction industry. PROPOSED SOLUTIONS If the basic premise is that unlicensed, unregulated, and unqualified contractors present an obstacle to professionalizing the construction industry, then the task is to propose solutions which may remedy the problem.

The first proposed solution is

statewide mandatory licensing tests for all contractors. These tests can be tailored to give a license to only specific types of construction work, for subcontractors as well as general contractors.

Additionally, before a contractor can take a licensing test, a

requirement should be established for either a minimum amount of experience in construction, and/or possession of a construction-related college degree. The licensure tests could be standardized for many states, or states may elect to write test questions specific to their region of the country. The second proposed solution is to require individual certification for construction managers. The certification process should test an individual to make sure that the individual is competent to manage the construction process for a building, highway,


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dam, etc. The individual should also be required to continue his or her education and have a required amount of continuing education credits, as engineers are required.

THE ROLE OF STATEWIDE LICENSING Occupational licensing is defined as the exercise of the state’s inherent power to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. Generally accepted criteria for establishing any licensure includes: 1) unqualified practice poses a serious risk to a consumer’s life, health, safety, or economic well being; 2) such risks are likely to occur; 3) the public cannot accurately judge a practitioner’s qualifications; and 4) benefits to the public clearly outweigh potential harmful effects of licensure (such as a decrease in the supply of practitioners) (Dreger, 1988).

It seems obvious that all of the above

criteria may easily be applied to contracting. There is not a single agency nationwide that regulates how a contractor obtains and maintains a license to perform work. While the authors are not advocating that a U.S. government agency provide this service, we are suggesting that the various states take a more standardized approach in establishing or maintaining licensing and continuing education requirements. Florida requires a contractor to pass an exam to obtain a license to work in the state, and to fulfill mandatory continuing education requirements to maintain this license. California requires a trade and business testing, which provides their citizens some assurances that the contractors are credible.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

THE ROLE OF INDUSTRY CERTIFICATION Currently, there appears to be a movement among construction contractors to certify managers of the construction process at the individual level by having them take the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) exams.

The mission of AIC is to increase and promote the professionalism and

excellence among construction contractors and the construction industry. The CPC exams were established to raise the standards of practice for the construction manager, which will benefit all parties involved in the construction process, including society at large (AIC, 2001). There are two levels to the CPC exams: the Associate Constructor (AC) and the Certified Professional Constructor. Each exam requires a construction professional to attend one full day of rigorous testing.

Before the professional

designation “AC” is awarded, the construction professional must past the AC exam, and have graduated from a four-year accredited baccalaureate construction program. The CPC is similar to the PE in that it requires that an individual pass the AC exam, and work in the construction industry with the requisite experience and responsibility for a certain period of time before the professional designation CPC is awarded. In order to maintain the AC or CPC designation, the individual must have continuing education credits in accordance with AIC’s commission (AIC, 2001). Construction organizations are beginning to see the importance of the certification process and are endorsing the AIC CPC exams to help promote the construction profession and enhance the image of the industry. AIC has partnering agreements with construction organizations such as the Associated General


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Contractors,

Associated

Builders

and

Contractors,

American

Subcontractors

Association, American Council for Construction Education, The Business RoundtableConstruction Committee, and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, as well as many other professional and trade associations. Most of these organizations are working with AIC to help highlight construction as a viable career, to promote continuing education for the professional constructor, and to increase the public’s awareness of construction’s role in our quality of life (The Subcontractor, 2000). There are many other voluntary certification programs offered to construction managers and contractors. The Project Management Institute offers certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP), the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) offers certification in cost engineering, and the American Society of Energy Engineers (ASEE) offers certification as a Certified Energy Manager (CEM). While all of these programs are quite good, and the individuals who have earned these credentials should be respected in their fields for their knowledge and experience, this voluntary process has done little outside of those specialized and localized areas to raise the credibility of the industry as a whole. Perhaps many years in the future, the benefits will be seen of this type of voluntary effort, but a lasting and immediate impact is not evident today. The intent to raise the standards of the individual construction manager of construction services will benefit everyone involved with the construction process. However, if these current certifications continue on a voluntary basis, these certifications will more likely be a professional nicety rather than an industry standard. In order to professionalize the construction industry, a single certification needs to be


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

endorsed and promoted by the construction trade associations and contractors. The CPC exams appear to be the certification that is receiving the most support from contractors and trade associations. Therefore, construction contractors must recognize and support the importance of the CPC professional designation. Construction contractors should actively recruit and hire potential construction managers who have already passed the Associate Constructor (AC) exam. In addition, construction firms need to encourage these new hires that have acquired the AC designation to complete the certification process by acquiring the CPC designation. Contractors should also seek out other leaders in their company and encourage them to acquire the CPC designation. Furthermore, when these construction professionals acquire the AC and CPC designation, they should be compensated and rewarded for earning the construction industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own professional designation (Palmer, 2002). THE ROLE OF MANDATORY CONTINUING EDUCATION Many other professions have long ago adopted mandatory continuing education as a means of ensuring that their licensed practitioners maintain a high level of expertise in their respective fields. Engineers, attorneys, physicians, and nurses all have to fulfill mandatory continuing education requirements.

The purpose of these

requirements is to create an environment of lifetime learning to ensure that the professions as a whole maintain high continuing standards of excellence (Indiana Professional Standards Board, 1995). The result of these standards is, for the most part, a high degree of public confidence in the ability of registered practitioners. Construction managers should also be required to engage in continuing education courses to maintain their certification.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

To set up continuing education programs, there needs to be a detailed list of rules developed, including a list of qualifications that course instructors should meet. There must be a board to create the standards and format of each continuing education class. The board will also need to review each proposed class and approve or reject the class based on previously established standards and format. These continuing education courses will help to inform contractors on changing legislation affecting the industry and also foster professionalism in the industry. The main goal of continuing education should be to offer continuous, practical learning designed to maintain and improve the competence, administrative, and management skills of all construction professionals.

CONCLUSION The construction industry suffers from a perpetual negative image problem among the general population, other professions, and even among construction industry design and management professionals. This image provides the largest single impediment to the recruitment and retention of young people into the industry, and promises to significantly alter the industry unless it is overcome.

Additionally,

contributing to the perception of the industry is the lack of consumer confidence of the training, skills level, and management and delivery capabilities of the professional constructor. A large step would be taken towards establishing industry credibility if all states required contractors to demonstrate their competency in the areas of business management, trade skills, safety, quality control, and customer service, as well as demonstrating minimum levels of financial solvency in order to obtain contractor


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

licenses. While the root cause of this negative perception is the result of many factors, the authors are suggesting that contracting licensing and certification compile a positive solution to help alter the paradigm. Educators, industry officials, and purchasers of construction services should support the CPC exam in order to foster the next generations of constructors. Anyone not willing to sit for the CPC exam should imagine himself/herself as someone who has been called to testify in court as an expert witness. During the testimony, the judge disregards the constructor’s testimony because the judge only recognizes the architect and engineer as the professionals able to testify as expert witnesses because they have professional licensing (Ferrantella, 2002). It does not matter if a construction manager has completed hundreds of construction projects--that construction manager must still prove credibility, capability, trustworthiness, and scrupulousness. One way of substantiating this proof is to take the CPC exam.

The president of Associated

General Contractors, Jack Kelly; and president of America Subcontractors Association, Anne Wilson, are CPC’s. Both of these individuals and their respective organizations realize the importance of the CPC exam and are willing to support it (Ferrantella, 2002). Continuing education courses are already a mandatory re-licensing requirement for contractors in some states. These courses provide the contractors with information to keep them updated in new laws and new technology, and to refresh their memory on a variety of construction-related subjects. Florida is now accepting online continuing education credit, so contractors are able to obtain their continuing education credits without traveling to attend a live seminar.

As the necessity of these mandatory


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continuing education classes becomes prevalent across the nation, it is the responsibility of the construction industry faculty to take a leading role. There are many areas where further research needs to be conducted including how to develop an industry-wide continuing education network, creating a successful legislative template for incorporating mandatory statewide contractor licensing, recruitment of young people into the construction industry, and promoting the CPC exam as an industry standard for the construction professional.

Additionally, there

needs to be research to discern if there is a difference in the quality of construction between regulated and non-regulated states. These recommendations together--mandatory statewide licensing, mandatory continuing education, and professional certification--will allow the construction industry to make giant strides in professionalizing itself. These actions should also result in more satisfied customers, a larger potential tradesperson and management labor pool, and increased profit margins as the added value of professional constructors is recognized and rewarded by consumers.

REFERENCES

American Subcontractors Association.

(October/November 2000).

Constructor

certification benefits from heightened visibility. The Subcontractor, 21, 6.

Chini, A. R., Brown, B. H., and Drummond, E. G. (1999). Causes of the construction skilled labor shortage and proposed solutions. [Electronic version]. Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Associated Schools of Construction, 187-196.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

American Institute of Constructors Construction Certification Commission. Certified Professional Constructor Candidate Handbook.

(2001).

St. Petersburg, Florida:

Author.

Dreger, G. T. (1988). Competency licensing of building contractors. Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Associated Schools of Construction, 42-50.

Gindin, M. (2002). Do we need the state to have licensing? Contracting Business. Retrieved

April

3,

2002,

from

http://www.contractingbusiness.com/edittorial/aricles/westfront/westways0202.cfm

Ferrantella, T. J. (2002,, April 1). Prove yourself: Take the test. Engineering New Record, 248, 55.

Indiana Professional Standards Board. (1995). Continuing education: Teacher license renewal and continuing education. Indianapolis, Indiana.

Maloney, J. (1987). Doing something about unfair competition. Contractors Amnesty Program. Sacramento, California: Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractors State Licensing Board.

Palmer, R. P. (2002, February/March).

Professionalizing the construction industry.

Indiana Constructor, 5.

Shelar, S. (1997, September 5). Labor shortage threatening U.S. construction industry. Atlanta

Business

Chronicle.

Retrieved

January

http://www.amcity.com/atlanta/stories/090897/focus17.html

17,

2002,

from


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Dr. Daryl L. Orth is an assistant professor in the Department of Building Construction Management (BCM) at Purdue University. He is also the coordinator of the mechanical construction management specialization for the BCM Department.

Dr. Bradford L. Sims is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology at Western Carolina University. He is also the program director for the construction management program at Western Carolina University.

Kirk Alter is an associate professor in the Department of Building Construction Management (BCM) at Purdue University. He is also the coordinator of the electrical construction management specialization for the BCM Department.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Meeting Customer Expectations in the Construction Industry Bradford L. Sims, PhD, AIC Wayne A. Anderson

ABSTRACT This paper contains eight steps that a general contractor can use to meet their customer expectations and maintain a relationship that will allow for continued repeat business. These eight steps have been tried and proven effective by Graycor Corporation. In these steps, there will be many suggested questions to ask the customer for clarification.

Without asking

questions, assumptions will be made that could be wrong and will be unable to be corrected before the situation goes wrong. These eight steps will help any general contractor to ask the right questions and set out a plan to maintain an ongoing problem free working relationship with their customer.

KEY WORDS Customer Expectations, Quality, Owner Relations, Lean Construction, Project Management

INTRODUCTION The construction industry has for a long time considered to be a dirty unpleasant necessity with uneducated non-business minded tobacco chewing employees that an owner or developer has to deal with to have their project built. While some of this may be true in the past, it certainly is not today. The construction industry has become a full service business


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

providing much value to a prospective owner or developer. Either in a construction market where new construction projects are plentiful or in a market where there are few new projects, owners and developers are probably the most selective of their future contractors than they have ever been. Therefore, it is up to the contractor not only to provide a quality product on time but also to provide a full array of services that will meet their customer expectations and keep that customer coming back to them for future construction projects. The following will cover eight important steps to successfully meet these expectations from one general contractorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s point of view. Theses steps, if employed correctly, will give any general contractor an improved chance to gain and maintain a long term relationship with multiple customers. While these customers may not offer the general contractor continual work year round, it will offer the possibility of future work over many years.

IDENTIFY YOUR CUSTOMER The first step in meeting customer expectations is to identify your customer. In a typical commercial construction firm, each manager has his or her own customer that needs to be identified.

A construction manager or project manager would normally be the account

manager for a particular owner or developer. Therefore, their customer would most likely be a manager of construction representative for the owner or developer. The general contractorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s superintendent would have his or her own customer that could be a facility manager, head nurse, and operations manager. The general contractor usually has project engineers working with the project managers and superintendents.

These project engineers have their own

customers that could be in-house A/E, engineers, consultants, and outside agencies.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

There is one initial problem, the customer you identify may, or may not be who you think it is. An example of this problem came from a recent project by a general contractor, Graycor Corporation, in the Chicago area. The general contractor had a project that the leasing agent for a developer was responsible for the entire project, and not the developers' project manager. Consequently, the project manager never reported the project status accurately, and change orders became a negotiable issue.

In order to avoid customer ambiguity, prepare an

organizational chart and identify customers with assigned team members. Then research who the real customers are and find out who can influence that decision-maker such as a Head Nurse behind a Doctor, Secretary to Construction Manager, etc. In an effort to make a successful project, whom do you need to satisfy? Ultimately, who will invite you back to do another project, every team member should know who that is. What other entities can influence that decision maker safety, security, operations, A/E firms. Always try to match team members by qualifications, but will there be a personality conflict and is this doomed for failure. It is critical that team members must agree on who their customers are and their responsibilities. The first Priority is customer maintenance with your customer, always being sensitive of all the customers, but your customer is first. If someone else's customer has an identifiable problem, let that team member know what's going on.

Power positioning or

politicking cannot be tolerated to put yourself in a good light for another customer. The main concern is for the current job, not the next. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re only as good as yesterdays' performance. Try to anticipate any latecomers to the project team as a customer and determine who will pick them up as a customer such as the building manager becoming a decision-maker at some time.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

KNOW THE PROJECT The second step in meeting customer expectations is to know the project. The project has four categories and these are safety, quality, budget, and schedule. Most projects are driven by one specific category with lessening priorities such as schedule for retail work and safety for industrial work.

It is very important to know the specifications, drawings, site

logistics, constraints, and even personalities before putting together a plan or strategy. Always be prepared to understand that each customer or shareholder may have a different priority. Don’t forget during this process to categorize by element, safety, etc. It is now important to develop a "Quality Model" to complete this phase. Thorough knowledge is critical to intelligently discuss the project. A discussion and layout of the project as understood by each team member should be completed. Information gathering should be from all available resources that include estimating, account manager, marketing, etc. Priorities of Project and Customer should be well thought out and defined. Brainstorming the project is also very important in knowing the project. Identify any and all constraints that will keep this plan from being manageable during this process. Constraints should be listed that are truly outside of your control and that must be included in the final plan. A check at this point should be made to see if all team members are in total agreement to the plan. It is important that now each member should articulate his or her understanding of the project. A “what if schedule” is now critical and can be created for use by the team. This schedule will also include affects of weather constraints in the total project duration. The final important step in knowing the project is anticipating failure determination and to build failure into the plan. Try to anticipate items within control and without control is one way this can be accomplished.

Whenever possible a plan B should be developed.

An


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example would be if safety is highest priority for a particular construction project and an incident occurs, how does the contractor react. Another anticipation that any construction project should be ready for is a change in the schedule. Will it then be necessary to change resources?

Finally, you should ask the question, “can we quantify each change by

importance?”

QUANTIFY THE CUSTOMERS’ EXPECTATIONS The third step in meeting customer expectations is to quantify the customers’ expectations. schedule.

To do this you must first sort and prioritize by safety, quality, budget, and

All cannot be a top priority since no project will be able to support all four

categories. It is certainly a possibility at certain stages of the project that the priorities may shift from schedule to safety. You must stand back and take a look at what resources are available to support the priorities but you must also be prepared to change priorities due to misunderstandings, change in project scope, or any other unforeseen conditions that arise. Next you must ask yourself if the expectations are reasonable or achievable. To do this, you must ask yourself some questions. First, taking a look at the overall project will the project resources support the expectations? Next, is there enough money in the budget? Can the required paperwork flow through the system with the people we have? Finally, can the quality of the people be maintained and is the schedule achievable? Another set of questions will be necessary to find out if expectations can be exceeded. The first question is to ask yourself if you need to be creative and possibly perform work out of sequence. Next, you must check if you have become complacent with some lower company or personal standards. One should also be constantly striving to become more efficient and


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

asking oneself if a priority for a customer such as quality can be raised. All four categories of safety, quality, budget, and schedule must now be prioritized by using a matrix. This matrix should graphically make it easy for the team to understand the priorities. This matrix will show areas and phases, not people that have the priority, or list understanding of each category.

PREPARE THE ROUGH DRAFT OF THE PLAN The fourth step in meeting customer expectations is preparing the rough draft of the plan. This should include an overview of the plan or executive summary. This summary should be clearly defined so that anyone could easily read and understand how the customer will see the project progressing and the final project outcome. The plan should include a list of milestones to be achieved. Some milestones could be zero injuries, budget will not be exceeded, the client will not experience disruption to business, all areas will be clean by a certain time, or the billing paperwork will flow in a specific manner.

Along with listing milestones, it is very

important that they will be in terms that can be measured. There could be many specific expectations to be listed by shareholder.

It is your

responsibility to leave room for customer feed back for comments. You should not list these by person but by such factors of priority, location, and time. If some expectations are not clear, identify the gray areas for discussion and inclusion in the plan. Be flexible and remember that we are only articulating what we think they shareholder wants. It may also be necessary to list day-to-day expectations. If so, be prepared to rewrite and reiterate new expectations. What wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t critical before now has changed to be critical. If this was anticipated, redirect your resources at these times but be sensitive to what is going on around you. Then ask yourself if that is a light at the end of the tunnel or an oncoming freight train?


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

REVIEW PLAN WITH YOUR CUSTOMER The fifth step in meeting customer expectations is to review the plan with your customer. You will need to have all the shareholders present for plan review. It is important to recognize if the same identified people are there or not. If not, then find out what are the reasons they are not there such as a bad plan or no cooperation. Those who are not present at the review could be a problem later on and it is important to identify them early. If a key person informs you that they can’t make it, ask that they send a delegate in their place. It is very important to be specific and clear in the expectations during this plan review. You should make all things measurable and uncomplicated. You should also take good notes or designate someone at this time to take detailed notes at this time for the final plan presentation. In this meeting, you will need to be agreeable to change, if necessary, but the key is to listen well. Since this may be the only chance to clarify expectations, now is the time to make them clear. In reviewing the plan with your customer, you must ask yourself if the expectations can be “Graded” or “Measured” to track progress. You must put your money where your month is and don’t say anything you can’t do. Make sure that both sides agree where these measurements should be set. At this point, the entire project team should be coming together. By the end of this meeting, everyone should be “on the same page” and have clear concise expectations. Finally, designate when the final plan will be ready for presentation before the meeting is closed.


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IMPLEMENT AND DISTRIBUTE TO ALL SHAREHOLDERS A COPY OF THE PLAN The sixth step in meeting customer expectations is to implement and distribute to all shareholders a copy of the plan. Everyone that is impacted by the project should have a copy of the "Plan". There should be respect for each downstream customer and they need to be informed.

A copy of the plan should be distributed at corporate level to keep the team

accountable. If applicable, it is also important to post the plan for all to see. Accountability amongst team members will bring success and a true team spirit. An open and honest dialog is essential for success. Everyone should take the attitude that no one will fail since the safety net should be in place at this time because all priorities, shareholders, constraints, etc. have been identified.

If any corrections are needed, the team should

complete these together.

BENCHMARK PROGRESS - "WHAT GETS MEASURED, GETS DONE" The seventh step in meeting customer expectations is to benchmark progress. You must track the plan both formally and informally. An agreement upon the format for tracking plan progress and who the gatekeeper is for the data entry.

Also, setting a timeframe when the

progress will be reviewed is very important along with having others review your work for input, if possible. Write a formal progress report monthly, or more frequently if required. This should be in a clear and concise manner. It should include in some form a presentation in a way to go and progress to date as well as against past performance.

Also, it should identify who is


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responsible for an action to occur and if this action cannot slip. This progress report should then be distributed for all to see. Remember in the benchmark progress, “What gets measured, gets done.” You should continually try to assign a performance standard as the project progresses.

Look for

opportunities for reporting on outstanding accomplishments for future marketing presentations. A good example is, “Schedule was cut by two months due to factor X.” It is critical to make adjustments when necessary with the shareholders input. You should be prepared for new shareholder input at any time. The whole team should be called together for “buy-in” to these new adjustments. Remember that the plan cannot be changed except by majority rule.

POST PROJECT DE-BRIEFING - HOW DID WE DO? – BE HONEST The final step in meeting customer expectations is to do a post project de-briefing. You must ask yourself if you and your company has met and or exceeded the expectations and did we run the plan or did the plan run us. If expectations were not met, you must find out the reason why by going all the way back until the root cause was found. Once found, can this solution be applied to more projects? Also, even if the expectations were exceeded was it planned or unexpected? Next, you must ask yourself and your company how could we have done any better. If something was planned, what did we as a company do to create this? If something was unexpected, are there inert practices that will cause this? Now is the toughest part, identify all the constraints and trace them back to the root causes even if it is politically difficult to accomplish. It is also important to ask if we also built in our restrictions for success?


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Another set of questions is did we fail miserably in all or only some areas? If we had some failures, were they unpredictable or should we have known? Was the plan doomed for failure from the beginning? If we had some failures, what was the link that caused this? With any failures, can we measure these by how close we missed the target? Now come the lessons learned. We must ask the team if there was a double standard that didn’t allow success. Also, what will be done differently next time? Did we succeed in the end? You must now ask yourself if you were proud of this endeavor personally and was the team? The final question is if your customer uses your company again?

CONCLUSIONS Whether the project you’re taking on is a lump sum, hard bid, or a negotiated project, you’ll never truly know what your customer thinks they are getting, or what the documents are really depicting, unless you ask, some very basic questions. Sometimes that chasm is quite large, depending on the level of sophistication of your customer, or the underlying assumptions made by both parties. The point is, if you don’t ask, you will not know, unless in some unfortunate situations, until it’s too late. It is impossible to achieve a global presence until you have mastered it at home. Meeting your customer’s expectations is the only way to ensure that a company will continue to have repeat business. Outlined in this paper are simple steps and questions that can ensure future success if your company is dedicated to the process of meeting your customer’s expectations.


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Bradford L. Sims, Ph.D., AIC is the Program Director of the Construction Management program at Western Carolina University in North Carolina. Management program in Fall 2002.

He founded the Construction

Dr. Sims is a constructor member of the American

Institute of Constructors (AIC) and completed a BS in Construction Management from Purdue University and an MS in Construction Management from the University of Florida.

After

completing his BS, Dr. Sims worked across the United States in the Industrial Construction segment of the industry.

Wayne A. Anderson, 36 years of construction experience, originated in the trades as a carpenter, working superintendent, superintendent, general superintendent. Owned and managed a general contracting business specializing in fire damage repair for residential and commercial clients. Past positions have been Project Manager, Senior Project Manager, Senior Estimator, and Project Executive, working for various Chicago area General Contractors. Present assignment as Senior Project Manager is the Frank Gehry designed Millennium Park Music Pavilion and Pedestrian Bridge, located in Chicago.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Tool Design and Tool Safety in Construction Scott Fuller and Doug Martin

ABSTRACT Ergonomics aims to improve human well-being and overall system performance by optimizing human-system compatibility. Recent advancements in product design and public policy create opportunities for contractors to implement ergonomic principles in the construction workplace. Government regulated ergonomics is still a controversial topic. Regardless of the success or failure of future efforts specific to construction, the industry could benefit from the use of ergonomic equipment in regard to safety and productivity. The research probes the overall topic of ergonomics, investigates present day ergonomic concerns in the United States, and broadly inspects current “ergonomicsoundness” in the construction industry. Specifically, an investigation was done into an “ergonomically-designed” tool, the hammer, commonly used in construction. Current construction safety precautions are very effective in reducing acute traumas, but there is still a need for preventative measures to combat ergonomic injuries. The field-research portion of this project reveals that over 85% of a randomly selected group of carpenters clearly experience symptoms of CTDs. It also established that a modification to their work environment, in the form of a three- week exchange of their everyday hammers for ergonomically designed models, did reduce their symptoms. For framing carpenters, a better-designed tool was a very effective solution to their pain. If the use of such tools were more common, the numbers of progressively disabling musculoskeletal injuries could be reduced. To implement such a change, in this case, would cost the craftsmen


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or their employers between $60 and $70 each (for the highest rated hammer). This is a small price for the proven health benefits.

Key Words Construction Safety, Ergonomics, Ergonomic Standards, Tool Ergonomics

INTRODUCTION Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with interactions among humans and other elements of a system in carrying out a purposeful activity.

Ergonomics aims to improve human well-being and overall system

performance by optimizing human-system compatibility.

Fields of knowledge

incorporated into the study of ergonomics include anthropometrics (the study of human measurement), biomechanics (the study of muscular activity in living creatures), experimental psychology, and engineering. What distinguishes ergonomics from these disciplines is the conscious goal of designing a better interaction between humans and tools, and humans and systems. Human-tool and human-system design considerations include physiological, cognitive, social, and organizational factors. Physiological and cognitive issues are personal, involving limitations of workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; bodies and minds. Social and organizational factors include behavioral impacts upon health and safety influenced by interactions among people (Serway, 1992).

Social and organizational factors,

colleague interactions and hierarchical structures of companies, although briefly addressed, are largely outside the scope of this research.

Ergonomics deals with


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people doing work and associated efficiency, health and safety. As such, the study of ergonomics is therefore very relevant to the construction industry. Popular practices and equipment used in everyday construction often lead to musculoskeletal injuries and less than optimum productivity. Recent advancements in product design and public policy create opportunities for contractors to implement ergonomic principles in the construction workplace. There have been attempts by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to regulate ergonomics in the workplace. Government regulated ergonomics is still a controversial topic. OSHA has cited necessities and benefits that are widely questioned.

Any regulation will be

expensive. OSHA estimates that regulation might cost $4 billion/year, while opponent estimates are as high as $100 billion/year. Regardless of the success or failure of future efforts specific to construction, the industry could benefit from the use of ergonomic equipment in regard to safety and productivity. Some knowledge of the availability of such products is valuable information for construction business owners. The focus of the project was the pertinence of ergonomics and ergonomically designed equipment used in construction. The research will probe the overall topic of ergonomics, investigate present day ergonomic concerns in the United States, and broadly inspect current “ergonomic-soundness” in the construction industry.

The

research focused deliberately on the physical concerns rather than the cognitive issues of ergonomics as related to construction. Specifically, an investigation was done into an “ergonomically-designed” tool, the hammer, commonly used in construction.


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LITERATURE REVIEW

Brief History Of Ergonomics Ergonomics is the scientific study that examines the physical and mental capabilities and limitations of people in regard to doing work. Although first coined in the World War II era, the origin of the term “ergonomics” is derived from the two Greek words ergos, meaning “work”, and nomos, “the study of” (Kohn, 1997). The terms “ergonomics” and “human factors” are synonyms. Historically the word “ergonomics” was the European term and “human factors engineering” or “human factors”, and sometimes human engineering” was used more in the United States. In recent years there has been a gradual evolution of the terms such that “ergonomics” is used more to describe physical design issues and “human factors” describes the more cognitive issues (MacLeod, 1995). The divergence of the two terms is the source of much debate because cognitive and physical issues are crucial in the design of user-friendly products and environments.

Before WWII For millions of years, according to carbon dating, humans have made revisions to the designs of their hand tools and shelters to make them more perfectly suit their bodies and mental capacities. The design of tools has developed in regard to their effectiveness and efficiency in addition to becoming friendlier to the human body.


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One example of hand tool evolution can be easily traced through the revisions made to striking tools, or hammers. The earliest striking tools were not used as hammers are used today. Early striking tools were literally sticks and stones quite often designed for breaking bones, among other things.

These early tools were usually rocks that

someone picked up to break open a coconut. As the use of rocks evolved, the users learned that different type and shape rocks for good for different tasks. The world around him was his toy store. Sometimes a sharper, jagged tool was needed and sometimes a more rounded one was best. Eventually, users began to tie their rocks to the end of sticks. This was a real technological improvement in striking tools. The advent of handles improved leverage and reach in addition to preventing broken, blistered and bloody hands. Much later, stone heads began to be replaced with metal ones. The next big improvement was that of using iron or steel instead of rock. This use of metal lead to using nails and this prompted designing nail-pulling claws on the backs of hammers to ease the removal of mistakes. This helped mark the difference between hammers for carpenters from those for metalworking. For about two thousand years, however, there really have not been any major advances in the design of striking tools until very recently (Martinez, 2000). Examples of ergonomic advancements, or examples of ergonomic-type thinking, are more easily cited in the renaissance than in ancient times due to the more frequent and complete writings of the time. embraced ergonomic principles.

Renaissance artists, engineers and architects

Michelangelo, a great architect, demonstrated his

interest in designing environments to fit people.

He drafted a typical 15th century

Florentine user (1.52m stature) at a built-in reading table. His drawing presented a full


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backrest support, an angled reading surface and appropriate viewing distance. Michelangelo was also thinking ergonomically when designing his own workspaces (Robertson, 1997). When carving the famous David sculpture, for example, the master built his workshop with human factors in mind. He built it around the huge column of marble with a removable roof for natural light, adjustable scaffolding to maintain suitable work reach, and ample room for maneuvering around the marble (Stone, 1961). Leonardo’s interest in the proportions of the human body is shown to us in his famous Vitruvian Man drawing. Leonardo used a system of pulleys and weights to raise and lower this work platform in the design of his studio. Leonardo wanted it to “be the work, not the master, who would move up and down.” Leonardo’s system also served to hide his work at night from competitors’ eyes, reduce dust build-up on his paintings in progress, and reduced the change of accidents by lifting the work out of the way. Maulsticks, basically an extension for paintbrushes still used today, helped keep the well dressed Leonardo’s cuffs free from paint. Wrist rests leaned against easels were commonly used to keep renaissance masters’ hands steady while painting fine detail. For preliminary sketches, note taking, and poetry, the quill pens used by Florentine artistes were selected to suit the handedness of the individual. Goose feathers, chosen for their curvature, were plucked from the right and left sides of the bird to accommodate right and left handed users. Although they are probably unaware of ergonomic principles per se, according to art historians innovation and awareness inherent in the customs of their time guided the design approaches of the renaissance masters (Robertson, 1997). Another major accelerated rebirth of shift in the way people work would not occur until the beginnings of the industrial revolution.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

New machines and electrical power began to transform the way people worked and lived in the late 1700’s. At the heart of the studies of this period was an effort to adapt people to machines to maximize the productivity of the machine. Eventually, amidst the acceptance of an industrial way of life, more emphasis was placed on making jobs and tasks fit the people doing the work instead of vice versa. This made sense; machines and tasks can be redesigned, but humans cannot. Yet, ergonomics and human factors would not get very much public attention until World War II (Gay, 1986).

WWII Era During World War II, with the rapid development, introduction, and deployment of new military technology, there was much growth in the awareness of ergonomic and human factors principles. High performance aircraft were a particular focus, especially in regard to cognitive issues (Christensen, 1958). They had to be able to process huge amounts of information while under considerable stress. Poor cockpit design led to many crashes when the crew members were not able to quickly determine which buttons or levers to push, pull or switch.

It was the inadequacy of the workers’

environment that caused the performance failures.

Oxygen equipment had to be

developed for the new aircraft and accident occurrence began to decline.

Early

ergonomists were employed to address widespread Word War II human factors issues in much the same way as they would alter in almost every industry in existence (Gay, 1986).


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Since WWII Ergonomists, (or human factors) specialists have concerned themselves with the design of industry tools, workstations, and consumer products since World War II. The integration of machines into the human run manufacturing facilities provided tremendous opportunities and challenges to the way people did their work. Automation in manufacturing and building has helped reduce heavy repetitive stress upon workers’ bodies and has given attention to the study of the human machine interface. The human machine interface includes, for example, making sure that the controls in a tractor are easily reachable and that gauges are easily and readily understandable. There is also a focus on light repetitive stress, most prominently in the human computer interface, but also in the use of hand tools. The results of light repetitive stress can be witnessed in an office, where people might sit at a computer all day with a telephone wedged between their shoulder and cheek, or on a residential construction site, where framers swing 1.5lb steel hammers all day with the same motion. Today ergonomics is a hot topic. It has been called the health and safety issue of the 1990’s. Claims resulting from injuries to joints caused by repetitive motions or static postures are a constant nuisance for managers. The media presents multimilliondollar fines levied by OSHA against companies for problems related to poor ergonomic design.

Workers’ compensation claims, product liability lawsuits, and workplace

negligence lawsuits are very often ergonomic issues (MacLeod, 1994). One ergonomist noted: “Liability lawyers seem to be the people most aware of the impact of human factors engineering” (Gay, 1986).


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Modern ergonomic advocates maintain that an awareness of ergonomic issues can save and earn businesses money. Cost savings can come from lowering costs related to workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; compensation, absenteeism, grievances, and employee turnover. Ergonomic sensitivity is good for workplace morale, making employees feel valued by demonstrating that their well-being is important to management. Also, implementation of ergonomic principles can create a more efficient, user-friendly workplace and improve productivity, decrease down time, improve materials handling, and product flow. For many organizations ergonomics works with, or is part of, quality control programs (Kohn, 1997). A second element of modern ergonomic awareness is product development for retail sale. The production of ergonomically sound products offers manufactures the possibility of higher sales and revenues. The availability of such products is good for consumers because theoretically they reduce the occurrence of or relieve the effects of repetitive stress injuries. The problem is that there are no standards in existence that must be met in order for manufacturers to claim that their products are ergonomically designed or ergonomically correct.

Unfortunately, ergonomically designed is fast

becoming a meaningless buzzword, like low-fat and light used to be in the early food labeling and advertisement.

Specific government regulations now protect food

consumers from unfounded claims. A similar specific set of guidelines may be needed to help consumers distinguish snake oil from high octane in the world of human factors and ergonomically designed products (MacLeod, 1994).


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ERGONOMIC BASICS Ergonomic hazards are quite common in the world of construction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction is second only to the transportation industry for incident rates of sprains and strains resulting in lost workdays (Webster, 1999). The most common type of physiological ergonomic concern in the construction industry is Musculoskeletal Disorders. This means injuries to tendons, muscles, bones, and ligaments. The most common forms of musculoskeletal disorders are Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs) to limb extremities, back injuries, and vibration injuries (Kohn, 1997). Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs) are basically the wear and tear on joints and their surrounding tissues.

Cumulative trauma is very different from acute or

instantaneous trauma in that it accumulates over time. Very rarely, if ever, can CTDs be the consequence of single incidents; they result from ‘microtraumas.” Microtraumas are the effects of repetitive motions and stresses experienced in workplace manipulative activities. CTDs are common in almost every segment of society. Most CTDs are related to occupation, as in the case of a framing carpenter with Digital Neuritis from repeatedly swinging a hammer (Dressoff, 1996). Most of the CTDs that involve the arm and its extremities are categorized as either Tendonitis or Nerve Compression. In many places in the body, tendons slide through sheaths, like a brake cable.

Overuse of tendons causes wear, tear and

swelling. The pain involved with Tendonitis is due to the swelling of tendons or their sheaths. Nerve compression is the other type of CTD. Electricians are a prime target for upper extremity hazards associated with the repetitive use of pliers and


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screwdrivers. Framing carpenters are also candidates for such problems due to their repetitive, forceful use of manual hammers (Dressoff, 1996). The most well known CTD is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which initially involves pain and numbness in the hand. Eventually, as with most CTDs, if the same repetitive task is continued, permanent loss of hand functions will occur. The largest group of musculoskeletal injuries involves the back and neck. The largest portion of back injuries results from Manual Materials Handling (MMH).

Most of the ergonomic injuries in

construction involve MMH (Kohn, 1997). One example of high-risk MMH can be found in bricklaying activities. A worker may lift up to 1000 masonry units in a regular day (between 6,600 and 8,800 lbs. daily). Additionally, the bricklayer will likely perform 1000 trunk-twist flexions in one day often resulting in pinched nerves in the spinal column. Bricklayers are also prime candidates for muscle injuries in their arms, shoulders and back. Concrete-reinforcement workers also have a high rate of back troubles because they spend long periods of time bent over to tie rebar together (Dressoff, 1996). The three main environmental conditions that affect laborers on a construction site are temperature, noise, and vibration. Temperature is usually addressed with fans, heaters, and clothes. The effects of noise are reduced with the use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for the ear, like earplugs. Vibration imposed upon workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; bodies is not as commonly or easily considered and corrected as the others as it is not as obvious (Dressoff, 1996).


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

COGNITIVE ISSUES In addition to dealing with issues that directly relate to the limitations if workers’ bodies, ergonomics also address general mental capabilities of humans. Occupational environments should be friendly to the whole of humans: mind and body (and spirit). Very often it is of little importance whether we make a small mental mistake. Most people occasionally turn on or off the wrong switch in their homes, or inadvertently flick the switch next to the intended one. A more dangerous common mistake is turning the wrong knob on the stove. One might burn their dinner (or their arm). “To err is human.” Sometimes, however, the little mistake has slightly bigger consequences. What if the wrong knob” mistake occurred in the control room of a nuclear power plant? It might be disastrous (Gay, 1986). Control devices for different systems can be switches, buttons, knobs, levers, handles, pedals, wheels, etc. Ergonomic thinking is required to determine the proper size, shape and texture; where controls are located, how far apart they are, how much force should be required to engage it, and in which direction. In World War II there was a twenty-two month period during which the United States Air Force incurred some 400 aircraft accidents. One frequent mistake involved the too-similar controls for the landing flaps and landing gear. The correction involved the redesign of the controls with shapecoded knobs. The retrofitted control for the flap looked (and felt) like a miniature flap and the new landing gear control was a wheel-shaped knob (Gay, 1986). Generally, people have predictable reactions to certain signals. People advance when the light turns green, stop for red lights, and put the petal-to-the-metal at the sight of yellow. We flip switches up to turn lights on. If the switch is oriented horizontally,


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

however, it requires more thought. We usually turn knobs clockwise to turn volume up, but at a faucet a clockwise turn will shut off the water: “Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” (Gay, 1986).

ERGONOMICS IN CONSTRUCTION Most everyone is fully aware that the construction industry can be a very dangerous industry. In construction 37.6 percent of all lost-workday injuries were due to sprains and strains, which are generally thought of as ergonomic problems.

Total

number of recorded cases of construction occupational injuries declined 38 percent during the period from 1976 to 1997. The reduction has been influenced by increased OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) enforcement of injury and illness record keeping. Although the ergonomic standard is still an unknown entity, for years OSHA has been drafting rules and standards designed to protect workers from repetitive stress injuries and CTDs. OSHA contends that every year 1.8 million workers suffer from ergonomic injuries and 600,000 workers lose a day or more of work from these injuries. The following is a list of potential benefits of ergonomically minded practices in the construction industry: •

Decreased errors and associated rework

Decreased time to perform tasks on schedule

Reduced hidden costs (like disability salaries and insurance premiums)

Improved morale on jobsite

Reduced worker fatigue and related costs


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Improved hazard identification

Reduced supervision costs (fewer incidents and related investigations)

Larger labor pool (ergonomically designed tools and equipment allow for older, less fit, and even disabled labor)

Decreased litigation (ergonomically related)

Improved general and occupational health and safety awareness

Keeping these benefits in mind as incentives for action could help promote interest in ergonomic plans throughout all levels of construction organizations (OSHA, 2002). Managers of construction services can probably expect to encounter more and more ergonomic issues. The Center to Protect Workers Rights (CPWR), an advocacy that is often associated with construction trade unions, has produced the Construction Ergonomics Checklist. This can be seen at: www.cpwr.com/kcheck.html. The checklist, in theory, should be updated every two weeks by contractors (jointly with union representatives) to help “develop an eye for ergonomic problems and prevent injuries.”(CPWR, 1997). OSHA estimates that one third of all workers’ compensation claims in the United States are from ergonomic injuries. These injuries, resulting from microtraumas, are more difficult to detect than acute traumas such as breaks and cuts and generally more disabling. The next step in construction worker safety is for contractors to formally address ergonomic issues in the construction workplace (Webster 1999).


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

METHODOLOGY OF PROJECT The field research portion of this project includes a study into manual striking tools. The purpose of the study is to gauge professional carpenters’ perceptions of ergonomically friendly manual framing hammers. All testing was to be performed on construction sites of wood-framed buildings. There would be no laboratory testing of the products or the dynamic behaviors of hammering activities as part of this research, only “real-world” testing was used.

Tool Procurement Seven manufacturers and vendors of hammers designed with human factors in mind were initially contacted. Each was sent a research proposal and invited to have their tools participate in the end-user testing.

A lasting and productive dialog was

established with two of the companies, Stanley Tool Works and Stiletto Tool Company. The manufacturers provided six models of hammers of which five were eventually selected for trial at the discretion of the researcher. Informal preliminary interviews with four professional framing carpenters and four residential construction superintendents suggested an appropriate testing time of three full weeks per specimen. The same discussions identified only four of the five hammer models as framing hammers on the basis of their size, shape and weight. The crews of a framing subcontractor would test the four framing models.

The fifth model was

deemed a trim hammer and would be tested by the crew of a millwork contractor. Both companies specialize in high-end residential construction.

The framing

company builds custom homes in the $200,000 to $2 million range. They employ 30


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

professional carpenters and averages nine homes per year.

The finish-carpentry

company employs nine millwork carpenters and averages about 20 jobs each year. Their residential projects generally range from $800,000 to $3 million and they also perform some high-end commercial work. Both companies perform work in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.

Survey Instrument Prior to any testing, a survey instrument, was developed to be administered at the end of each three-week trial. It was designed to be applicable to each of the hammer designs tested. The questionnaire addressed the following: •

The experience level of the craftsmen (measured in years)

Daily use of pneumatic nailer, or “nail gun” (measured in hours per day)

Daily use of manual hammer (measured in hours per day)

Brand and weight preferences

Types and severity of CTD symptoms experienced due to use of a manual hammer and whether formal medical attention was sought based on the following criteria: (each existent symptom rated mild, moderate, or extreme) o Numbness in Hand o Elbow Pain o Wrist Pain o Shoulder Pain o Other (muscle, back, etc.)


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Design evaluation of hammer tested and of currently used “everyday hammer” based on the following criteria: (each rated on a five-point Leikert scale) o Overall Balance o Shock Resistance (ping) o Perceived Durability o Hammer Head o Grip (and shaft)

Willingness to switch “everyday hammer” based on trial of ergonomically designed model

Who purchases the hammers used by each craftsman

The survey instrument was administered after each hammer’s three-week trial of normal use by professional carpenters. In addition to answering the objective survey instrument, the craftsmen were encouraged to provide anecdotal information that was later used in this paper as supplemental information to the survey results. A total of 36 separate trials were performed. Each framing model was tested eight times and the trim model was tested four times.

Every craftsman involved

demonstrated an enthusiasm about participation in the research.

Description Of Tools The innovatively designed hammers tested utilize various combinations of ergonomic principles. One common design modification involves the weight and ease of handling of the tool.

Heavier hammers put more stress on the body.

Many


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

carpenters perceive heavier hammers as a benefit, stating that once a heavy hammer is lifted, gravity and sheer momentum do the rest of the work. Carpenters often cite that force per blow of heavier hammers drives nails faster. Most of the carpenters in this study (78%) normally used hammers 22 oz or higher, many were 28 oz.

Heavier

hammers actually create much more muscle tension in the upswing and must always be held much tighter to avoid “slipping and slinging.” Physical laws prove that the speed of an object more profoundly affects its power than does its mass. Kinetic energy (KB) of an object with mass (m) and velocity (v) is defined as: KE = ½ MV2. Lighter hammers can be swung faster than heavier ones. Since it is velocity that is squared and not mass, lighter hammers generally strike nails much harder and do more work per effort exerted.

Kinetic Energy and Work are

measured in the same units Joules (Nm) or Foot-pounds (ft*lb), and hammers swung with greater kinetic energy administer more work to nails being driven.

The more

energy imparted by the hammer, the more work accomplished upon the nail. After using the new hammers, carpenters indicated that they felt that the faster ‘head speed” of a lighter hammer boosted their efficiency. When having to move the base of a framed wall over 3/4 inch to make it plumb, however, one framer indicated that he wished he had his 28 oz Estwing rather than the lighter hammer he was testing. Three of the hammer models tested have titanium heads. Titanium is lighter by about half the weight of steel, but is still very strong. The use of titanium allows the manufacturer to produce a larger-then-normal hammer at nearly half the weight of regular framing hammers (Serway, 1992).


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

The designs of hammer handles are essential to the production of ergonomically friendly striking tools. Just as longer golf clubs aid golfers, longer hammer handles can also help framers swing hammers faster because they provide a greater swing radius. A greater swing radius gives a higher velocity to the head of a hammer without requiring additional hand speed. Many of the models tested had 18-inch handles as opposed to the seemingly standard 16-inch ones. One cited drawback of a non-16-inch handle is that 16- inch wall stud spacing is most often used and carpenters often rely on the length of their tool to check and/or measure things.

Axe-handle-shaped hammer

handles provide a more neutral position for carpenters’ wrists while they work. Two of the tested models had axe-shaped handles. Non-slip handle grips, a characteristic of three of the models, kept craftsmen from having to grip tools as tightly and reduced stress on forearm muscles. Two of the models had wooden handles, two used a combination of steel and softer materials, and one was aluminum with a soft rubber grip wrapped around it. Shock absorption is very important in the design of ergonomic hammers. It is the recoil vibrations of a hammer striking a nail that contribute to the most common CTDs of framers. As discussed earlier, the jarring, compression, stretching of tendons, nerves, ligaments, bones and muscles as they compensate for the initial recoil shock can be very dangerous (see Cumulative Trauma Disorders). The companies that provided the hammers for the research were a little vague about exactly how they reduce or eliminate” recoil shock effects upon the hammerer except in the patented case of Stanley’s Anti Vibe III, which boasts its patented tuning fork design. In all other cases


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

the key to recoil shock absorption seems to be in the properties of the materials and the transmission of vibrations from one material to another. Another innovative design concept is a “magnetic nail holder and nail-set” found on three of the models tested. In addition to preventing smashed thumbs, the magnetic nail-set, according to framers, helps to reach places “18 inches farther” than possible if the nail had to be set by hand. The built-in nail holder helps to prevent awkward back positions often experienced while trying to set nails and helps prevent falling injuries by keeping the framers’ off-hand” free to hold onto something while in otherwise dangerous positions. One drawback to the nail-set, however, was discovered when building a detailed cornice on a high-end residential project. The groove, in which the nail is placed for setting, protrudes through the face of the hammer. It was found to leave unwanted marks on the finished wood.

In regular framing though, this was not a

problem, and the craftsmen attitudes toward the nail-set feature were generally positive.

RESULTS

Experience Level The experience level of the craftsmen ranged from less than five years to over twenty years. The more experienced carpenters used pneumatic nail guns much more often than the others.

Those with fewer years experience were more likely to be

carrying materials and swinging manual hammers.

The most experienced framer

surveyed, with over 20 years framing, spent most of his time on the ground measuring and sawing material, while the second most experienced climbed around structures with


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

a nail gun most of the day. During certain regular framing activities, an average framer strikes nails between 350 and 400 times per hour. In only one of the 36 surveys did one of the craftsmen claim to use a manual hammer between six and eight hours a day (up to 3,200 strikes); the rest reported less.

Reported History Of Repetitive Stress Injuries Considering the number of swings per day over many years of professional practice, the results in Table 1 are not surprising.

Over 85% of the surveyed

participants reported symptoms of CTDs or repetitive stress injuries due to their occupation. Only 0.5% of those framing more than five years reported no symptoms. The remaining unscathed 20% had been in the trade less than five years. This makes sense considering that ergonomic injuries accumulate over time and also that carpenters do more “helping” than striking early in their careers. Obvious symptoms of CTDs including hand numbness, elbow pain, wrist pain, and shoulder pain were all reported with varying degrees of severity. Of these, the most common reported symptom was wrist pain (52.8%), usually a sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Handnumbness, reported in varying degrees of severity in 22.2% of the trials, can also be a symptom of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The second most frequent condition cited was “elbow pain” (38.9%), often a sign of Epicondylitis, or “Tennis Elbow.” In the “other” category, back pain, forearm muscle soreness, and hand cramping were frequently sited symptoms. Some of the workers described acute pain in their forearm muscles and hand cramping. In three cases, about 8.3% of those reporting symptoms, medical treatment was sought (one for a back problem and two for Rotator Cuff).


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Table 1. Frequency of CTD Symptoms Among Craftsman Trials Condition Numbness in hand Elbow pain Wrist pain Shoulder pain Other

Mild the 13.9% 13.9% 16.7% 8.3% 22.2%

Moderate

Extreme

Total % of Trials per Condition

8.3%

0%

22.2%

19.4% 27.8% 5.6% 11.1%

5.6% 8.3% 5.6% 0%

38.9% 52.8% 19.4% 33.3%

Brand Preference All of the carpenters in this study purchase their own hammers. The carpenters’ “every day” hammers were Estwing brand models in over 80% of the trials, 70% of which can be classified as framing hammers (22 oz or more). According to the results of Table 2, this brand preference seems to be dominant among framing carpenters. Estwing’s hammers are made of solid steel such that the head and the handle are not separate pieces. An Estwing grip is comprised of a “Nylon-Vinyl” sheath slid over the steel. Only one of the framers already used an axe-shaped handle, one made by DeadOn Tools. Prior to the trials none of the carpenters had ever used any of the models tested. In all but two surveys the participants said that they would be “willing to change their everyday hammer” based on their trials of the five models tested.

Design Evaluation Each of the trials was concluded with conversation between the researcher and the participating craftsman. One portion of the survey instrument asked the carpenters to evaluate both the design of the hammer they tested and their “everyday hammer”


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

based on the criteria of overall balance, shock resistance (ping), perceived durability, hammer head, and grip (shaft).

Table 2. Participating Carpenters’ “Everyday Hammers” Everyday Hammer Eastwing

Count 29 Trials

Dead-On “DeathStick” Stanley Vaughan Total

1 Trial 3 Trail 3 Trials 36 Trials

Notes 1-17 oz (Trim) 5-20 oz (3 trim & 2 Framers) 12-22 oz (Framers) 3-24 oz (Framers) 8-28 oz (Framers) 1-24 oz (Framer) 3-16 oz (Framers) 3-22 oz (Framers) 4 Trim Carpenters and 32 Framers

Estwing Framing Hammers Most of the craftsmen surveyed used Estwing brand hammers as their “everyday” tool. Of the 29 carpenters swinging Estwings, 25 used framing hammers (22 oz or higher).

Table 3 illustrates how the workers evaluated their Estwing framing

hammers after their trial of one of the ergonomically designed models. The Estwing highest rating comes from its perceived durability.

Because the carpenters must

provide their own hammers, this criterion is significant to their immediate needs. The lowest rating comes from the extreme ‘ping” experienced during its use. While this problem may not seem immediate to the user, its long-term effects can be devastating to his body.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Table 3. Estwing Framing Hammer Design Evaluation Poor Below Evaluation Criteria Average Overall Balance 0% 8% Shock Resistance 20% 40% Perceived Durability 0% 0% Hammer Head 0% 0% Grip 0% 8% Percentages of 4% 11.20% Total Ratings

Average Above Average 28% 28% 40% 0% 8% 36% 16% 56% 40% 48% 26.40% 33.60%

Excellent Total 36% 0% 56% 28% 4% 24.80%

100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

Stiletto Aluminum Axe Handle ‘Titan” This hammer has titanium head with a nail-set and an aluminum axe-shaped handle. It is lightweight (14 oz head) and has an 18-inch handle. Table 4 summarizes the evaluation of professional carpenters from eight separate three- week trials. This aluminum handled Titan that gets its name from the titanium from which it is made, gets its highest ratings in the categories of Overall Balance and Shock Resistance. Overall Balance is the general feel” of the hammer as it is swung and involves many factors such as its tendencies to not twist in the user’s hand or require choking-up on the handle. Shock Resistance is the tool’s tendency to absorb recoil shock within its own structure and not transmit it into the user’s arm. Its lowest ratings occurred in regard to its grip comprised of “AirGrip,” a rubber wrap around the aluminum shaft. The following comments from the carpenters, best summarize user issues regarding this hammer. •

“It keeps my hand from cramping but the grip is tearing up.”

“There is no shock with it and I like it, the head and all, except the grips tearin’ up.”


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

“Great tool but the grip will need replacing.”

“I like wood handles cause they are better for my arm, that’s why I bought this Death Stick (Steel 24 oz.), but I like this Titan too.”

“It’s perfect for framing but that grips gonna come off. But it’s not like the grip on my Estwing that is sliding around.”

“I like it but the grip wears out quick. The fat bottom is hard to put into my tool belt.” Table 4. Aluminum Axe Handle Titan Design Evaluation

Evaluation Criteria Overall Balance Shock Resistance (Ping) Perceived Durability Hammer Head Grip Percentages of Total Ratings

Poor Below Average 0% 0% 0% 0%

Average Above Average 0% 12.50% 0% 12.50%

Excellent Total 87.50% 87.50%

100% 100%

0% 0% 0% 0%

12.50% 0% 25% 7.50%

50% 62.50% 37.50% 65%

100% 100% 100% 100%

0% 0% 25% 5%

37.50% 37.50% 12.50% 22.50%

Stiletto Straight Hickory Handle Titan This hammer has titanium head with a nail-set and wooden handle. lightweight (14 oz head) and has an 18- inch handle.

It is

The highest ratings on this

hammer are in regard to its head as seen in Table 5. Framers liked the lightweight of the head, the wide face, the relatively straight claw, and the nail-set feature. Its lowest rating, the grip, was due to the perceived durability of the wooden handle and its straight, hard contour. It should be noted that even the lowest ratings of the ergonomic hammers are generally above average.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

The following comments from the carpenters, best summarize user issues regarding this hammer. •

“Wish the handle was curved. I like the head though. The head on my Stanley is too small.”

“Straight handle works your wrist more. I like curved handles more.”

“It hits pretty good.”

“I like the long handle.”

“How much does it cost? If it’s the same as my Estwing, I want one.”

“The Titanium ought to last a long time, but I’d be replacing this wooden handle in two months.” Table 5. Strait Hickory Handle Titan Design Evaluation

Evaluation Criteria Overall Balance Shock Resistance (Ping) Perceived Durability Hammer Head Grip Percentages of Total Ratings

Poor Below Average 0% 0% 0% 0%

Average Above Average 12.50% 25% 0% 50%

Excellent Total 62.50% 50%

100% 100%

0% 0% 0% 0%

0% 0% 37.50% 10%

50% 87.50% 25% 55%

100% 100% 100% 100%

0% 0% 12.50% 2.50%

50% 12.50% 25% 32.50%

Stiletto Axe Handle Hickory Titan This hammer has titanium head with a nail-set and a wooden axe-shaped handle. It is lightweight (14 oz head) and has an 18-inch handle. This hammer proved to be the favorite one tested. Table 6 illustrates that the highest rating on this hammer was its overall balance.

They liked the feel of the combination of the axe-shaped


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

handle with the large, lightweight head. Its lowest rating, although still quite high, was its perceived durability, which the carpenters, attributed to the wooded handle. The following comments from the carpenters, best summarize user issues regarding this hammer. •

“I like the bigger head on it but I think I’d tear it up cause it is wood.”

“I want one. I would purchase one. I would give you my Estwing today for it. It might have kept me from having to get rotator cup surgery.”

“Wish it was smooth head. I think it would last ten years. Awesome shock resistance; I could tell with the first stroke. And I like the grip: I gotta choke up on my Estwing and the grip slides but not on this Stiletto.”

“Best all around hammer would be this one with a smooth face on it.”

“I didn’t want to come to work today because I knew you coming to get it. I tried to tear it up so you wouldn’t want it back.”

“Usually I get hand cramping but not with this one. It does spark though.”

“I like the waffle head. Perhaps a magnet on the side for ‘Gyp-cap tacks’ (Simplex).” Table 6. Axe Hickory Handle Titan Design Evaluation

Evaluation Criteria Overall Balance Shock Resistance (Ping) Perceived Durability Hammer Head Grip Percentages of Total Ratings

Poor Below Average 0% 0% 0% 0%

Average Above Average 0% 0% 12.50% 25%

Excellent Total 100% 62.50%

100% 100%

0% 0% 0% 0%

12.50% 12.50% 0% 7.50%

50% 75% 75% 55%

100% 100% 100% 100%

0% 0% 0% 0%

37.50% 12.50% 25% 20%


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Stanley Anti Vibe Framing Hammer I

nnovative materials and the joining thereof, allows this hammer to exhibit 500%

vibration damping over traditional professional hammers without reducing the weight of the tool (24 oz head). Table 7 shows shock resistance as this hammers best-perceived attribute. Its lowest rating, although still above average, was its grip as framers found that it did not always perfectly fit their hands. The following comments from the carpenters, best summarize user issues regarding this hammer. •

“The shock resistance helps my elbow problem. I’ll probably get one for my next hammer.”

“…It’s like it’s got a choke up grip. Two grips on the same hammer.”

“I’d like it better if it was lighter.”

“Good shock resistance. I’m on the saw most of the time, but I’d buy one if it were lighter weight.”

“It’s good and don’t ping so much but it makes me sore on the pinky side of my palm.”

“Good balance but the handle is too thick.”

“Nice grip. I like the smooth face best.”

Stanley 20 Oz Antivibe Trim Hammer This hammer has a patented tuning fork design that reduces harmful vibrations. The sample size on this hammer was small (four trials). As can been seen in Table 8, this trim hammer was found favorable to the carpenters’ “everyday hammers.”

The


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

following comments from the carpenters, best summarize user issues regarding this hammer. •

“Sharp flanges, too sharp.” (This carpenter tore the seat of his pants on the hammer’s “too sharp” claw)

“It’s got a great claw on it. The choke up grip is great.”

Table 7. Stanley AntiVibe Framing Hammer Design Evaluation Evaluation Criteria Overall Balance Shock Resistance (Ping) Perceived Durability Hammer Head Grip Percentages of Total Ratings

Poor Below Average 0% 0% 0% 0%

Average Above Average 25% 37.50% 0% 37.50%

Excellent Total 37.50% 62.50%

100% 100%

0% 0% 0% 0%

0% 50% 25% 15%

25% 25% 12.50% 32.50%

100% 100% 100% 100%

0% 0% 25% 5%

75% 25% 37.50% 42.50%

Table 8. Stanley 20 oz AntiVibe Trim Hammer Design Evaluation Evaluation Criteria Overall Balance Shock Resistance (Ping) Perceived Durability Hammer Head Grip Percentages of Total Ratings

Poor Below Average 0% 0% 0% 0%

Average Above Average 0% 100% 0% 100%

Excellent Total 0% 0%

100% 100%

0% 0% 0% 0%

0% 0% 0% 0%

50% 100% 100% 50%

100% 100% 100% 100%

0% 0% 0% 0%

50% 0% 0% 50%


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

CONCLUSION This paper has broadly probed the overall topic of ergonomics in general and as it relates to the construction industry. There are no specific set of guidelines that exists for identifying problems and determining proper actions to correct all concerns of any job.

Many employers in industries, whose work is generally performed in a more

controlled environment, seek the assistance of professional ergonomists. Ergonomics, or human factors, is the study of design that contributes to the efficiency and safety of people doing work by striving to understand mental and physical limitations.

Public awareness and recently passed OSHA regulations have brought

ergonomic issues into headlines to a degree not seen since the time of World War II. In addition to causing discomfort to employees, inadequate ergonomic design of products and work environments can cost companies money through reduced productivity, employee errors, and increased injuries and illnesses (Macleod, 1995). As a starting point for craft trades in construction, an informal approach to the investigation of ergonomic hazards could be more effective than hiring ergonomists to evaluate work conditions (and definitely less costly). If craft workers are aware of the presence of a video camera or clipboard-toting ergonomist, there behavior will most likely be unnatural. Employers and managers could approach the user-friendliness of work environments with informal conversations with individual craft workers or in question/answer sessions at break time. Short surveys of employee opinions, health, and organizational activities are often useful tools in identifying ergonomic hazards (Kohn, 1997). Surveys should address work processes, tools and equipment, and any work facilities.

Surveys could also investigate environmental stressors by inquiring


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

about workers’ impressions of workplace noise, lighting, temperature, smells and air contaminants, and humidity. If a worker-environment mismatch exists, it has probably been commented on more than once over lunch on the jobsite.” The real trick is to get management to listen with the intention of taking corrective action. Employers are learning that an ergonomic mindedness can be beneficial in regard to workers’ health and company profitability and productivity.

Current

construction safety precautions are more effective in reducing acute traumas, but there is still a need for preventative measures to combat ergonomic injuries. Employers often assume that many less-than-optimum working conditions are “a part of the business” and are beyond their control. Often, however, simple and inexpensive applications of ergonomic principles can be effective in eliminating a poor fit between humans and their workplaces.

The field-research portion of this project reveals that over 85% of a

randomly selected group of carpenters clearly experience symptoms of CTDs. It also established that a modification to their work environment, in the form of a three- week exchange of their everyday hammers for ergonomically designed models, did reduce their symptoms. For framing carpenters, a better-designed tool was a very effective solution to their pain. If the use of such tools were more common, the numbers of progressively disabling musculoskeletal injuries could be reduced. To implement such a change, in this case, would cost the craftsmen or their employers between $60 and $70 each (for the highest rated hammer). This is a small price for the proven health benefits.

However, this then forces the craftsman to bear the entire burden for

improvements in ergonomics. This is one reason why we see companies reluctantly


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

participating in the “ergonomics” issues and then only providing the bare minimum required through regulations. The construction industry’s exposure to ergonomic laws and regulations will increase.

Employee involvement in ergonomic plans has helped many companies

achieve a variety of paybacks including improved morale, more informed decisionmaking, and innovation (MacLeod, 1995).

Industry organizations should address

ergonomics on their own terms, before regulatory bodies mandate new standards for them. On a smaller scale, construction companies should adopt, to some degree, an ergonomic awareness in their normal business operations if they are concerned about workers’ compensation costs and cumulative traumas effecting workers’ bodies.

FUTURE RESEARCH There are many possible construction-related areas for future research in the field of ergonomics not covered in this paper. The following is a brief list of ideas. •

Dissect OSHA regulations and explore the ramifications of each part.

Investigate the research and development of ergonomically sound products.

Investigate design factors and develop a prototype list of criteria by which to rate ergonomically designed tools and equipment.

Investigate ergonomic design and layout of construction office computer stations.

Focus on social and organizational factors of human-tool and human-system design (this paper’s research foci were physiological and cognitive factors).

Perform a study similar to the one in this research with a different tool or similar tool implementing lab-type testing rather than end-user data feedback only.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) – October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Investigate ethical issues in ergonomics and survey an informed sample of construction managers in regard to the importance of protecting workers from ergonomic injuries and illnesses.

Investigate the feasibility of non-union craft worker health insurance packages.

Create an outline ergonomic plan for a particular type of subcontractor.

REFERENCES Christensen, J. M. (1958). Trends in Human Factors. Human Factors, 1, p.2-7.

Dressoff, A. (1996). Safety and Health. Seek Simple Solutions for Ergonomics Problems in Construction. January 1996 pp.62-65.

Gay, Kathlyn. (1986). Ergonomics: Making Products and Places Fit People. New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, Inc.

Kohn, James P. (1997). The Ergonomics Casebook: Real World Solutions. CRC Press, Inc.

MacLeod, Dan. (1995). The Ergonomics Edge: Improving Safety, Quality, and Productivity, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Martinez, Mark (personal communication, September 28, 2000)

OSHA. (Sept. 1995). OSHA Ergonomics Process Manual. Rector Press, Limited

Robertson, S.A. (1997). Contemporary Ergonomics 1997. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Ergonomics Society. Taylor & Francis Ltd.


The American Professional Constructor, The Journal of the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; October 2003, Volume 27. Number 2

Serway, Raymond A.; Faughn, Jerry S. (1992). College Physics (3R Edition). USA: Saunders College Publishing.

Stone. Irving (1961). The Agony and the Ecstasy, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc.

The Center to Protect Workers Rights (CPWR). Report E1-97. Production supported by grant CCU312014 from National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 1997.

Construction Ergonomics Checklist. The Center to Protect Workers Rights [ Available: http://www.cpwr.com/kcheck.html]

Webster, Timothy (1999). Compensation and Working Conditions Online: Work- related Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities in Manufacturing and Construction. Fall 1999, Vol. 4, No. 3

Scott Fuller is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Building Science at Auburn University. He has a Masters degree in Construction Management. He teaches the Project Controls I, II, III, Construction Safety, Drawings and Specifications, and Computers in Construction, classes.

Doug Martin works for Brasfield and Gorrie. Science from Auburn University.

He has a Masters degree in Building


The American Professional Constructor October 2003, Volume 27 Number 2