New Study Reveals Best Practices to Help Improve Construction Performance

October 2016

A study entitled “Optimizing the Owner Organization: The Impact of Policies and Practices on Performance” has been published by Dodge Data & Analytics as part of its SmartMarket Brief series. Working in partnership with e-Builder, Inc., Dodge surveyed executives responsible for construction at over 170 commercial and institutional owners.
    
The survey determined the policies and practices executives deploy in their internal capital project organizations, and how they correlate to the most successful cost, schedule and quality performance. The goal of the report is to provide a useful guide for all owners to improve construction project performance for the entire industry. The study findings revealed several widespread performance issues among building owners, including the following:

  • Ninety-three percent of owners reported exceeding the original schedule established for their projects.
     
  • Eighty-five percent reported that their projects exceeded their established budget.
     
  • Nearly half (44 percent) of owners do not effectively engage the stakeholders and end users of their projects.

    
The study shows that inadequate project management, staff management and internal competencies are common and consistent problems among the owners that most frequently report schedule, budget and stakeholder engagement issues.
    
By ranking owners according to their level of performance, the analysis flags a group of top-tier performers—those that complete 25 percent or more of their projects ahead of schedule and 50 percent or more of their projects under budget—and then examines what they do differently that might be helping them excel. The results are divided into two main areas: practices that directly impact people and policy, and those that involve improved processes and technology. The findings make a compelling case that both areas need to be tackled to improve project performance.

  • With respect to people and policy, practices like tying employee incentives to project performance, formal training and development programs and clearly defined job roles appear to explain most of the difference between the best and worst performing projects.
     
  • The processes and technology improvements more widely adopted by the best performing owners include frequent measurement of project performance, willingness to innovate through the use of technology and the use of project management systems.