House building productivity : a study of labour requirements on Scottish house building sites using activity sampling methods

  • D.C.A. McLeish

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study is concerned with labour productivity in traditional house building in Scotland. Productivity is a measure of the effective use of resources and provides vital benefits that can be combined
in a number of ways.
The introduction gives the background to two Scottish house building sites (Blantyre and Greenfield) that were surveyed by the Building Research Establishment (BEE) activity sampling method to provide the data for the study. The study had two main objectives; (1) summary data analysis in average manhours per house between all the houses on the site, and (2) detailed data analysis
in average manhours for each house block on the site. The introduction also provides a literature review related to the objectives.
The method is outlined in Chapter 2, the sites are discussed in Chapter 3, and Chapter 4 covers the method application on each site and a method development made in the study.
The summary data analysis (Chapter 5) compares Blantyre and Greenfield, and two previous BEE surveys in England. The main detailed data analysis consisted of three forms, (Chapters 6, 7 and 8) each
applied to a set of operations. The three forms of analysis were variations in average manhours per house for each house block on the site compared with; (1) block construction order, (2) average
number of separate visits per house made by operatives to each block to complete an operation, and (3) average number of different operatives per house employed on an operation in each block. Three miscellaneous items of detail data analysis are
discussed in Chapter 9.
The conclusions to the whole study state that considerable variations in manhours for repeated operations were discovered, that the numbers of visits by operatives to complete operations were large and that the numbers of different operatives employed in some operations were a factor related to productivity.
A critique of the activity sampling method suggests that the data produced is reliable in summary form and can give a good context for more detailed data collection. For future work, this could take the form of selected operations, with the context of an
activity sampling survey, that wuld be intensively surveyed by other methods.
Date of AwardMar 1978
Original languageEnglish


  • productivity
  • house building
  • activity sampling
  • labour requirements
  • building operations

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