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Factors influencing labor productivity on construction sites: A state-of-the-art literature review and a survey

Shamil George Naoum (London South Bank University, London, UK)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 7 March 2016




Productivity is a worldwide problem and efforts have been made over the last three decades or so to explore ways to increase the rate of productivity on construction sites. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the state of the art in productivity research and to present the findings of a survey into the factors that can impair productivity on site.


A literature review is structured under five general headings: pre-construction activities; activities during construction; managerial and leadership issues; motivational factors; and organizational factors. In total, 46 determinants were extracted from the above headings and were assessed by 36 main contractors.


The literature review revealed that while there has been an advancement in developing techniques and tools to improving productivity on site, more need to be done to invest in technology and innovation. The interview survey indicated that factors associated with pre-construction activities, namely, the “experience of the selected site and project managers,” “design errors,” “buildability of the design,” “project planning,” “communication,” “ leadership style” and “procurement method” as the most critical factors influencing site productivity. Other highly ranked factors are “mismanagement of material” and “the work environment.”

Research limitations/implications

The survey is based on main contractors and thus not generalized to cover other sectors of the building team such as designers and engineers.

Practical implications

Outcome of this research can be used to provide professionals and contractors guidance for focussing, acting upon and controlling the most significant factors perceived to influence the construction labor productivity (CLP) on site.


First, reviewed the state of the art and trends in construction productivity research. Second, primary survey with industry experts to rank the relative importance of factors that can influence CLP on site.



Naoum, S.G. (2016), "Factors influencing labor productivity on construction sites: A state-of-the-art literature review and a survey", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 65 No. 3, pp. 401-421.



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