Oilsands Review Guest Column: IPA President Tackles Alberta’s Construction Labor Productivity Problem

Large and small industrial projects in Alberta are not victims of poor construction labor productivity because of regional labor conditions or workface planning failures. Rather, bad business decisions and insufficient upfront project development work contribute to the productivity problem that projects across the province are experiencing, writes Ed Merrow, president and CEO of Independent Project Analysis (IPA), Inc., in the guest column appearing in the September 2015 edition of Oilsands Review.

Of the more than 400 projects IPA has benchmarked in Alberta over the past decade, Merrow says IPA finds that “labour productivity is excellent” when project organizations used Industry Best Practices during their project planning and development process.

The decision to use Best Practices has to be made early, Merrow warns readers. “The problems associated with poor practices start at the very beginning of the project life cycle and then cascade until they result in poor use of labour in the field and in the yards.”

This is “good news,” adds Merrow, because it goes to show how owner companies actually have the ability to improve construction labor productivity for their projects and drive better overall project outcomes in turn.

In a presentation delivered at the 2015 Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) Best Practices Conference, Merrow made similar comments about the Alberta projects’ construction labor productivity problem. A summary of his comments at the COAA conference is available in the June 2015 edition of the IPA Newsletter.

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