If the worksite were a perfect place with no disputes, perfect cost estimates, zero nonproductive labor or equipment time, and no accidents, experience alone would be the only asset needed by a supervisor. But as is well known, construction is not a perfect process.
One of the most important but often overlooked organizational tasks of a construction supervisor is planning a layout for the project site. Many decisions must be made such as where to place office trailers, where to store onsite materials, and where to keep equipment when not in use. Unfortunately, supervisors often take a haphazard approach to the layout task, not realizing the effects their plans can have on productivity.
Productivity, or rather the lack of it, is the foremost problem confronting many construction firms. Contractors commonly measure their productivity by taking their output (measured in dollars or units) and dividing it by the number of labor hours required to achieve the output. But productivity is the efficiency by which materials are placed by labor and equipment. According to leading equipment manufacturers, contractors can expect to get 800 to 900 productive hours from a typical piece of equipment in a given year. Assuming a 2,080-hour work year (52 weeks, with a 40-hour work week) and 800 hours of productive equipment time, construction equipment is nonproductive 62% of the time.