Studying time presence on site as an indicator or productive time use by construction workers

Authors Ruben Vrijhoef
Publication date 2 September 2019
Research groups Building Future Cities
Type Lecture


Productivity in construction is relatively low compared to other industries. This is particularly true for labour productivity. Problems that contribute to low labour productivity are often related to unorganised workspace, and inefficient organisation of work, materials and equipment. In terms of time use, site workers spend time on various activities including installing, waiting, walking etc. In lean production terms time use should be value adding and not wasteful or non-value adding. The study reported in this paper has endeavoured to measure the time use and movement applying an automated data system. The case study reflected a limited application to a specific kind of activity, namely doors installation. The study investigated time use and movements based on interviews and on automated detection of workforce. The interviews gave insights in the time build-up of work and value-added time use per day. The automated tracking indicated time intervals and uninterrupted presence of site workers on work locations giving indications of value adding time. The time measurements of the study enable comparison of time use categories of site workers. The study showed the data system calculated the same amounts of productive and value adding time one would expect based on the organisation and characteristics of the work. However, the discussion of the results underlined that the particular characteristics of individual projects and types of team work organisation may well have an impact on productivity levels of workers. More application and comparative studies of projects and further development and extension of the automated data system should be helpful.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Key words Automated data capture, labour, productivity, presence, time use

Ruben Vrijhoef

Ruben Vrijhoef | Professor | Research group Building Future Cities

Ruben Vrijhoef

  • Professor
  • Research group: Building Future Cities