The Best Way To Improve Productivity In Construction

January 1, 2021
The Best Way To Improve Productivity In Construction

The rail industry is notorious for delivering projects behind schedule. In fact, the worldwide average delay on rail projects in 2018 was a staggering 48%. One of the main reasons for such delays is low productivity levels across the board. From linesmen on site completing tasks behind schedule to project managers in the office failing to update plans on time, productivity lags can snowball into significant project-wide delays.

Fortunately, there are 7 pivotal changes you can make to improve productivity across your rail projects, and project management software can help you achieve them.

1 - Plan More Accurately Using Previous Project Outputs

Inaccurate estimates and undetailed plans can quickly derail a project. Work can be held up while project teams clarify a particular task, reissue new designs, or source additional resources. A more accurate project plan cuts down on wasted time and gives your workforce reasonable targets to meet. By using the cost, length, and requirements of previous jobs, planning becomes a lot easier and more accurate. Your average outputs can be used to calculate how long each job will take, as well as what resources are needed to do it and how much it will cost. Project management software and data visualization can be used to store this historic data and break it down into useful, digestible chunks.

2 - Establish Clear Communication with Real-time Updates

Clear and timely communication between site- and office-based teams can boost productivity by ensuring that everyone is working to the most up-to-date information. Inconsistent, irregular reports can lead to duplication of work and often cut into vital time as information needs to be transcribed from pen and paper notes, emails, and phone conversations. Establishing one clear method of communication means that you can access the information you need all in one place, whenever you need it. Reporting software such as Sitediary enables real-time monitoring of work, so the relevant teams are instantly notified in case of any problems or changes. With this information to hand, project management shifts from reactive to proactive.

3 - Bring The Works To Life With Photo & Video

Embellishing your reports with photo and video creates a full picture of the events on site. Engineers, project managers, and planners can visualize exactly what has happened, including reasons for delays, works complete, and the finished product. Using their mobile devices to take photos during a shift reduces the time spent typing up notes, so on-site workers can focus on the work at hand.

4 - Improve Administrative Processes With Record Templates & Pre-population

Project management software can save each user an hour every day by streamlining the reporting process. Sitediary uses a daily record template to ensure that all the necessary information is provided and makes it easy to fill out using dropdown options. 68% of the works can be filled out ahead of time using the project plan, leaving more time on shift available for supervising works. This pre-populating method also ensures that the planned works match the overall plan, as all of the information is pulled from the same master source. Integration with other softwares such as PowerBI, Tableau, and cost planning platforms ensures a seamless process from field to office to client.

5 - Make Fatigue Management A Priority

Ensuring your workforce is well-rested boosts productivity. Project management software lets you know who is working on the project and what tasks they are responsible for. This information can be used to make sure that nobody is over-stretched, particularly if they are responsible for handling heavy machinery.

6 - Invest In Employee Training

The better your team knows how to use their tools, technology and processes, the more efficient they will be. The construction industry is in a period of rapid change and innovation, so managers should be making an effort to keep their employees up to date with the latest developments. 

Use data analytics about your project progress to identify areas that are taking longer than they should, then focus your attentions there. It may be that staff need retraining or a new process should be introduced to streamline the task.

7 - Substantiate Works In Minutes, Not Months

Substantiating work without a clear project history can take weeks, even months to complete if the client disputes your work. It’s important to explain the reason for any delays or additional works, with photo, dates and locations clearly marked. A paper file filled with poorly written notes, or an inbox full of whatsapp messages, won’t cut it. 

Sitediary provides a full project timeline, broken down by shift, location or Network Rail week, so you can follow exactly what happened and why. Your branded progress report can be generated with the click of a button and sent off the client, so not only do you get paid in full, you maintain a good relationship and potential for future works.

These productivity enhancing tips are part and parcel of using a project management software like Raildiary.

By building them into your daily routine, project delivery can be streamlined and productivity maximised both on site and in the office. Rather than introducing more time-consuming processes, we aim to cut them down and replace them with an easier alternative that also improves the quality of project information.

Will Doyle


I am an experienced RICS chartered Quantity Surveyor​ with first-hand experience of how the consistent capture and analysis of data can transform global project delivery.

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