Factors Affecting Maintenance Labour Productivity in the Building Industry

  • Abubaker Gaber Abubaker

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The research explored ways for improving maintenance labour productivity and reducing maintenance costs. This can be achieved through reducing the number of maintenance activities and by improving the productivity of labour carrying out repair and maintenance tasks.

The research established that Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) techniques, in particular, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) could be applied to building systems, in this case to the maintenance of Rainwater Goods to identify the most applicable and cost effective maintenance strategy. As a result it was found that while 60% of failure modes identified could be rectified by employing a Failure-Based Maintenance strategy, 40% of the failure modes require a Condition-Based Maintenance strategy which is not currently applied.

Labour productivity is a subject of tremendous interest to research in the construction industry; the study found however, very little research on the productivity of labour in building repair and maintenance operations. It was found that measurement of building maintenance labour productivity has not been the focus of any previous studies. Indeed no measures of productivity for building maintenance were identified. Having considered a number of alternative measures, the research identified the productivity index expressed in terms of Estimated Hours/Actual hours to be the most appropriate measure of labour productivity in repair and maintenance operations. Using this measure, it was established that labour productivity is impacted by a number of variables including task performance, labour performance, material usage and seasonal variability.
Among the objectives of the research was to identify the factors influencing labour productivity. Through a survey questionnaire, it was possible to identify the factors that have the greatest impact on maintenance labour productivity; these were the level of skills and motivation of workmen; quality of information and work instructions; labour turnover and absenteeism; availability of tools and material, and access to the job site.

The analysis of historical repairs data from two building repair and maintenance organisations revealed that during the performance of the same tasks, one of the data sources was almost 25% more productive than the other. The research has established that there is a potential for improving labour productivity carrying out building repair and maintenance.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRobert Horner (Supervisor)


  • Building maintenance
  • Labour productivity
  • Intergrated logistics support

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