• Caitlin Lopez

Construction's Capacity to Perform: Collaboration and Productivity

Is anyone getting tired of being told Alberta Construction Productivity is lagging behind the other industries? Is it possible that construction projects have some inherent aspects that just jam-up the gears and prevent us from improving as fast?

At first glance it seems to all come down to timeline and schedule. Construction is project work and often is one of a kind, even if it’s the same design in a new location. But many other industries are more like on-going operations that don’t really have a timeline, more like a constant chase for consumer’s attention.

What can we find in the various industry-leading research and articles? Let’s take a look at what MGI McKinsey presents in ‘Reinventing Construction’. The external factors they identify include regulation-heavy requirements, dependence on public-sector work, cyclical/seasonal demand, fragmentation and poor allocation of risk and rewards as well as a sizable learning curve to enter the market. In other words, there’s a lot inherently pulling away from the center of the project, the value of the project. (source:


It should then stand that if effort is applied to remove some of those factors that are pulling away from the value of the project, that the likelihood of success will be higher.

Hanson Bridgett also has a great set of publications, and Howard Ashcraft has a good way to depict this issue, showing how the different parties involved in a project can either be rowing in all different directions, or they can be aligned and all rowing in the same direction.

(source:  ©HansonBridgett Howard W. Ashcraft)

Therefore such efforts are becoming more of a hot topic lately; Collaboration.

If possible, re-engineer the whole arrangement so that the external factors that are pulling away, such as misalignment and experience-silos, are less likely to occur.

There are several methods of doing this, and although every project is different, this simple but custom approach can be successful on every project.

Author: Caitlin Lopez


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