Why do work sampling studies in construction? The case of plumbing work in Scandinavia

Per-Erik Josephson (Division of Construction Management, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Lasse Björkman (Division of Construction Management, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Publication date: 11 November 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify reasons for doing work sampling studies in processes performed by temporary organisations. Specific questions consider if the technique can be used for measuring productivity and if it can be used to compare performances over time.

Design/methodology/approach

A work sampling study of plumbing work in eight construction projects is compared with a similar study performed 20 years earlier. Interviews are made in order to find out how the work conditions have developed over time.

Findings

Work sampling studies are of little value for measuring productivity as well as for comparing performances over time. One reason is that the conditions vary to a high extent from one situation to another. Another reason is that working conditions undergo significant development over time. On the other hand, the authors experience that data from work sampling studies are of high relevance for discussions on improvement opportunities among workers as well as among corporate managers.

Originality/value

The paper builds on detailed direct observations of plumbing work.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the support from The Development Fund of the Swedish Construction Industry (SBUF) and The Swedish Association of Plumbing and HVAC Contractors.

Citation

Josephson, P. and Björkman, L. (2013), "Why do work sampling studies in construction? The case of plumbing work in Scandinavia", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 589-603. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-12-2011-0108

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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