Analytical models towards explaining the difficulty in efficiently matching site concrete supply resources with placing crew needs

Michael Anson (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Kai-Chi Thomas Ying (Department of Construction, Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, Hong Kong)
Ming-Fung Francis Siu (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Publication date: 8 May 2019

Abstract

Purpose

For parts of the time on a typical construction site concrete pour, the site placing crew is idle waiting for the arrival of the next truckmixer delivery, whereas for other periods, truckmixers are idle on site waiting to be unloaded. Ideally, the work of the crew should be continuous, with successive truckmixers arriving on site just as the preceding truckmixer has been emptied, to provide perfect matching between site and concrete plant resources. However, in reality, sample benchmark data, representing 118 concrete pours of 69 m3 average volume, illustrate that significant wastage occurs of both crew and truckmixer time. The purpose of this paper is to present and explain the characteristics of the wastage pattern observed and provide further understanding of the effects of the factors affecting the productivity of this everyday routine site concreting system.

Design/methodology/approach

Analytical algebraic models have been developed applicable to both serial and circulating truckmixer dispatch policies. The models connect crew idle time, truckmixer waiting time, truckmixer round trip time, truckmixer unloading time and truckmixer numbers. The truckmixer dispatch interval is another parameter included in the serial dispatch model. The models illustrate that perfect resource matching cannot be expected in general, such is the sensitivity of the system to the values applying to those parameters. The models are directly derived from theoretical truckmixer and crew placing time-based flow charts, which graphically depict crew and truckmixer idle times as affected by truckmixer emptying times and other relevant parameters.

Findings

The models successfully represent the magnitudes of the resource wastage seen in real life but fail to mirror the wastage distribution of crew and truckmixer time for the 118 pour benchmark. When augmented to include the simulation of stochastic activity durations, however, the models produce pour combinations of crew and truckmixer wastage that do mirror those of the benchmark.

Originality/value

The basic contribution of the paper consists of the proposed analytical models themselves, and their augmented versions, which describe the site and truckmixer resource wastage characteristics actually observed in practice. A further contribution is the step this makes towards understanding why such an everyday construction process is so apparently wasteful of resources.

Keywords

Citation

Anson, M., Ying, K. and Siu, M. (2019), "Analytical models towards explaining the difficulty in efficiently matching site concrete supply resources with placing crew needs", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-02-2018-0049

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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