• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 List of Figures
 Abstract
 Introduction
 Methods
 Results
 Discussion
 Appendix A: Questionnaire
 Appendix B: Foremen’s responses...
 Appendix C: As-built project documentation...
 References
 Biographical sketch














Title: Investigation of the construction scheduling communication process
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 Material Information
Title: Investigation of the construction scheduling communication process problems, foreman's role, means of improvement, and use of information technology
Physical Description: xvi, 231 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Elliott, Brent Richard, 1967-
Publication Date: 2000
Copyright Date: 2000
 Subjects
Subject: Architecture thesis, Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Architecture -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Summary: ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to improve the construction scheduling communication process. The study focuses on construction foremen working on general commercial building projects, and explores how the construction scheduling communication process may be improved through the role of foremen. A key objective is to investigate the concept of foremen using handheld computer/communication devices as a means of improving effectiveness and efficiency in the scheduling communication process. Several primary research questions provide a framework for exploring how the construction scheduling communication process may be improved through the role of the construction foreman: 1) What problems exist in the scheduling communication process? 2) What is the role of foremen in the scheduling communication process? 3) How can the scheduling communication process be improved? Procedures used to answers these questions include survey instrument design, sample selection, personal interviews, and statistical analysis. Data collected includes demographic information about the project and individual being interviewed, foremen's role in the initial planning process, use of written schedules on projects, attitudes about scheduling, documentation practices, sources of delay, and exposure to and use of computer technology. Consistency of results between two sample groups is evaluated with the Mann-Whitney U and Wilcoxon W tests. Correlation testing is performed using Kendall's tau-b in order to identify the independent variables which are correlated with foremen's acceptance of handheld computer/communication technology. Multiple linear regression analysis is performed to identify characteristics of foremen which predict their acceptance of technology. Results are found to be highly significant (P<0.01).
Summary: ABSTRACT (cont.): This study identifies problems in the scheduling communication process. Results show that foremen are partially excluded from the flow of information within the scheduling communication process, thereby reducing their efficiency in coordinating the work, and that delays often occur due to problems involving the flow of information. Results suggest that the scheduling communication process can be improved by increasing foremen's involvement in the scheduling process and by enabling foremen to access the information they need to coordinate the work. This study also demonstrates foremen's general acceptance of existing computer technology which has the potential to facilitate such improvements.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2000.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 226-230).
Additional Physical Form: Also available on the World Wide Web; PDF reader required.
Statement of Responsibility: by Brent R. Elliott.
General Note: Printout.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00100717
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 45837370
alephbibnum - 002566145
notis - AMT2426

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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    List of Tables
        Page ix
        Page x
    List of Figures
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
    Abstract
        Page xv
        Page xvi
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
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        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Methods
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
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    Results
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    Discussion
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    Appendix A: Questionnaire
        Page 143
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    Appendix B: Foremen’s responses to open-ended questions
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    Appendix C: As-built project documentation system
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    References
        Page 226
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    Biographical sketch
        Page 231
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Full Text











INVESTIGATION OF
THE CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULING COMMUNICATION PROCESS:
PROBLEMS, FOREMAN'S ROLE, MEANS OF IMPROVEMENT,
AND USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY













By

BRENT R. ELLIOTT


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2000































Copyright 2000

by

Brent R. Elliott















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


I am grateful to many individuals for their support in this research effort. Without

their wise counsel and dependable assistance, this study would not have been possible.

My supervisory committee was an excellent source of direction, both during

preparations for this research and throughout the study's performance and documentation.

Dr. John Alexander provided valuable guidance in setting up the research project and

organizing the final manuscript. His ability to maintain a broad perspective on the study was

extremely beneficial, as was his skillful assistance in analyzing the results. I am also grateful

for his consistent support and motivation. Dr. Jimmie Hinze provided significant help in

refining the focus of this study, and he continued to be an excellent resource throughout the

course of the research. His detailed review of working drafts was extremely beneficial, as

were his insightful suggestions concerning data analysis. His encouragement is also much

appreciated. Dr. Ron Akers provided key assistance pertaining to data organization and

statistical analysis. I am very thankful for his scholarly advice and willingness to help. The

recommendations and insights of Dr. Pierce Jones were quite helpful in defining the scope

of this project and exploring methods of conducting the research. Dr. Leon Wetherington

gave helpful advice in refining the survey instrument, and he provided a very practical

perspective to this study.









Other contributions outside the committee must also be acknowledged. Dr. Rick

Coble provided considerable advice and direction in determining the subject matter of this

research. His energetic inspiration and continued support are much appreciated. Dr. Amarjit

Singh and Dr. Steve Rowlinson offered helpful insights toward defining the scope of the

study. John Kane provided guidance with data coding and approaches to statistical analysis.

The many foremen interviewed in this research are recognized for their essential

contributions. This study would not have been possible without their cooperation and

willingness to answer questions and openly discuss the issues investigated. It was certainly

a valuable and enjoyable experience to meet these individuals during the field interviews.

On a personal note, I am very grateful to my parents, who taught me by example to

strive for excellence in my work. Throughout this research, I have greatly appreciated my

father's consistent encouragement, love, and positive attitude. Finally, I give thanks and

praise to my Heavenly Father, the source of every good and perfect gift, for His eternal

faithfulness and unmerited blessings.















TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............................................. iii

LIST OF TABLES ................................................ ix

LIST OF FIGURES ................................................ xi

ABSTRACT .................................................... xv

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION ............................................ 1

Purpose and Overview of Study ............... ..................... 1
Scheduling Communication Process ........................... ..... 2
Research Questions ......................... ...................... 10
What Problems Exist in the Scheduling Communication Process? ..... 10
What Is the Role of Foremen in the Scheduling Communication
Process? ......... ............. ....... ........... 11
How Can the Scheduling Communication Process Be Improved? ..... 11
Research Objectives .......................................... 12
Investigation of Problem s ............................. 13
Examination of Foremen's Role .............................. 13
Exploration of Process Improvement ..................... 14
Summary of Research Design ................................... 15

2 METHODS ................................................ 17

Questionnaire Design .................... ..................... 17
Demographic Information ............................ . . 18
Initial Planning Practices ............................. . . 19
Use of Written Schedules .................... ............. 20
Use of Look-Ahead Schedules .................. ............. 20
Attitudes About Scheduling .................... ............ 21









Scheduling and Safety ..................................... 22
Documentation Practices ............................. . 23
Sources of Delay ......................................... 24
Computers and Technology .................... ............. 25
Sample Selection ............................................... 27
Data Collection ................................................ 32
Analysis Techniques ........................................... 34

3 RESULTS ................................................. 37

Characteristics of Forem en ................................. 37
Project Demographics ........................ ........... 38
Demographics of Foremen ................................ 39
Initial Planning Practices ...................... ........... 47
Use of Written Schedules .................... ............. 51
Use of Look-Ahead Schedules .................. ............. 54
Attitudes About Scheduling .................... ........... 58
Scheduling and Safety ..................................... 64
Documentation Practices ............................. . 68
Sources of Delay ......................................... 76
Computers and Technology .................... ............. 82
Comparison of Main and External Samples .......... ................. 96
How Foremen's Characteristics Correlate with Acceptance of Technology .... 97
Formal Education .................. .................... 104
Age ............................................... 104
Use of Written Plan .................................... 105
Frequency that Written Schedules are Helpful ................... 105
More Information About the Schedule .................... . 105
Suggestions to Improve Scheduling ..................... 106
Safety Activities in the Schedule ....................... . . 106
Time Spent on Record Keeping ........................ . 107
Separate Log Book ................. .................... 107
Records Used to Evaluate W ork ....................... 107
Asked Questions About Records ....................... . 108
Access to Information ............... ..................... 108
Waiting for Information ................................. 109
Delays Due to Scheduling Issues ....................... 109
Delays Due to Changes .......... ..................... 110
Openness of M management .......... ..................... 110
Computer Use for Work ................................. 110
Computer Use at Home .......... .................... 111
Video Games ...................... ................... 111
Electronic Organizers ................................... 111

vi









Benefit of Computers to Construction Companies ................ 112
Whether Computers Would Help Foremen Do Their Jobs Better ..... 112
Attitudes Toward Using Computers as Part of Jobs ............... 112
Opinions About Computers Replacing Part of the Foreman's Job .... 113
Notable Variables Without Significant Correlations ............... 113
Regression Modeling: Foremen's Characteristics and Their Acceptance
of Technology ................ ........................ 114
Demographic Characteristics (HI) ............................. 119
Proactive Habits and Attitudes Concerning Scheduling (H2) ........ 119
Stringency of Record Keeping Practices and Accountability (H3) .... 120
Access to Information and Experience with Delays (H4) ........... 120
Exposure to and Use of Computers (H5) ................... . 120
Overall Multiple Regression Models .................... 121
Summary of Regression Analysis ...................... 124

4 DISCUSSION ................................................ 126

Problems in the Scheduling Communication Process .................... 126
Role of Foremen in the Scheduling Communication Process .............. 129
Partial Exclusion of Foremen from the Scheduling
Communication Process ................. ............ 129
Foremen's Role in Documentation ....................... . 131
How the Scheduling Communication Process Can Be Improved ........... 132
Increasing Foremen's Involvement and Enabling Access
to Inform ation ............... ......... ............ 132
Handheld Digital Communicators ...................... 135
Research Limitations ......................................... 138
Further Research ........... . ...... ......................... 139
Other Sectors of Construction Industry .................... 139
Other Project Participants .......... ....... .. ............ 140
Cost/Benefit Business M odel ......................... 140
Productivity Study ..................................... 141
Software Development .................................. 141
Stereo Imaging ........................................ 142

APPENDICES

A QUESTIONNAIRE ..................... .................... 143

B FOREMEN'S RESPONSES TO OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS ........... 153

C AS-BUILT PROJECT DOCUMENTATION SYSTEM .................. 222










REFERENCES ................................................. 226

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................... 231















LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1 Number of Companies Employing the Foremen Surveyed ................. 40

2 Comparison of Foremen Education Levels with 1977 Study ............... 46

3 Foremen's M ain Sources of Delay ............................ . . 80

4 Communication Devices Used by Foremen ....................... . 85

5 Variables with Significant Differences Between Main andExternal Samples ... 97

6 Correlations with Handheld Computing Acceptance Using Kendall's Tau-b ... 99

7 Hypothesis Testing with Single-Step Multiple Linear Regression .......... 116

8 Overall Model Testing with Stepwise Multiple Linear Regression .......... 122

9 Overall Model Testing with Single-Step Multiple Linear Regression ....... 124

10 Foremen's Responses: Do You Follow the Schedule? ................... 155

11 Foremen's Responses: How Do You Feel About the Schedule? ............ 160

12 Foremen's Responses: Do You Wish You Had More Information
About the Schedule? ........................ ............ 167

13 Foremen's Responses: Do You Have Any Suggestions on How
to Improve Scheduling? ...................... ........... . 172

14 Foremen's Responses: What are Some Typical Kinds of Information That
You Have to Wait for Which Are Needed to Perform Your Work? ... 181

15 Foremen's Responses: What Causes You Delays on the Job?
and How Can These Delays Be Reduced? ....................... 185

ix









16 Foremen's Responses: If Your Employer Told You a Computer Would
Help You Do Your Job Better and Wanted You to Start Using
One as Part of Your Job, How Would You Feel About That? ........ 194

17 Foremen's Responses Regarding the Usefulness of a Stereo Camera ........ 201

18 Foremen's Responses Regarding the Usefulness of a Handheld
Computer/Communication Device for General Job Applications ..... 208

19 Foremen's Responses Regarding the Usefulness of a Handheld
Computer/Communication Device Specifically for Scheduling
and Coordination Purposes ........................... . . 215















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure Page

1 Distribution of Sample by Project Name ........................ 38

2 Distribution of Sample by General Contractor .......................... 39

3 Distribution of Sample by Trade ...................... ............. 41

4 Foremen's Overall Construction Experience ..................... 41

5 Construction Experience as Foremen .......................... . . 42

6 Current and Previous Union Affiliation ........................ . . 43

7 Duration with Current Employer ................................... 44

8 Average Crew Size .......................................... 44

9 Level of Formal Education Completed ......................... . . 45

10 Trade School Training ........................................... 46

11 Age of Foremen ............................................ 47

12 How Often Foremen Are Asked About Methods at Start of Job ............. 48

13 Who Asks Foremen About Methods at Start of Job ...................... 49

14 How Often Foremen Are Asked About Duration of Construction Activities
at Start of Job ............................................ 50

15 Who Asks Foremen About Duration of Construction Activities
at Start of Job ............................................ 50

16 Use of Written Plan to Organize Work ......................... 51

xi









17 How Often Projects Have Written Schedules ...................... . 52

18 How Often Foremen See the Schedule ............................... 53

19 How Often Written Schedules Are Helpful to Foremen ................... 53

20 How Often Look-Ahead Schedules Are Used on Projects ................. 54

21 Duration of Look-Ahead Schedules ........................... . 55

22 Who Makes the Look-Ahead Schedules ........................ . . 56

23 Types of Look-Ahead Schedules Used ......................... . 57

24 How Often Foremen Help Plan Look-Ahead Schedules ................... 58

25 Whether Foremen Follow the Schedule ........................ . 59

26 How Foremen Feel About the Schedule .............................. 60

27 Whether Foremen's Crews Know the Schedule ......................... 61

28 How Foremen Think Their Crews Feel About the Schedule ............... 62

29 Whether Foremen Want More Information About the Schedule ............. 63

30 Whether Foremen Have Suggestions Regarding How to Improve Scheduling . 64

31 Effect That Following Safety Rules Has on Production ................... 65

32 Frequency That the Schedule Causes Difficulty in Dealing Properly
with Safety Issues ........................................ 66

33 Whether Foremen Think They Can Make Good Job Progress
While Working Safely ..................................... 66

34 Opinions of Foremen Regarding the Inclusion of Safety Activities
in the Construction Schedule .......................... . . 67

35 Foremen's Practices of Taking Pictures ........................ 69

36 How Important Foremen Think Their Job Records Are ................... 70









37 Why Foremen Think Their Job Records Are Important ................... 71

38 How Often Foremen's Records Are Used to Evaluate Their Work ........... 73

39 How Often Foremen's Records Are Checked .................... . . 73

40 How Often Foremen Are Asked Questions About Their Records ............ 74

41 How Often Foremen Keep Written Notes in the Event They Have
to Move Their Crews ...................................... 75

42 How Often Foremen Keep Records of Time Spent Remobilizing
Their Crews ............................................. 75

43 How Foremen Rate Their Access to Information Needed to Do Their Jobs .... 76

44 Whether Waiting for Information Often Slows Production ................. 77

45 Whether Foremen Find it Difficult to Get Their Questions Answered ........ 78

46 Why Foremen Think it Is Difficult to Get Their Questions Answered ........ 79

47 How Foremen Ask Their Questions ........................... . . 79

48 Whether Management Is Willing to Listen to Foremen's Suggestions ........ 82

49 Whether Foremen Use Computers to Perform Any Part of Their Jobs ........ 83

50 Whether Foremen Use Computers at Home ....................... . 84

51 Whether Foremen Like to Play Video Games .................... . 85

52 Whether Foremen Think Computers Are Beneficial to
Construction Companies ...................... ............. 86

53 Whether Foremen Think Computers Could Help Them Do Their Jobs Better .. 87

54 Foremen's Responses to Using Computers as Part of Their Jobs If So
Directed by Their Employers .......................... 87

55 Whether Foremen Think Computers Could Ever Replace Part of Their Jobs ... 89

56 Whether Foremen Think Stereo Camera Would Be Useful to Them ......... 90

xiii









57 Gator Communicator Mock-Up .............................. . 90

58 Simon PDA / Cellular Phone, by IBM and BellSouth ..................... 91

59 Shared Database for Communications ......................... 92

60 Shared Data Communications Between Foremen and Project Participants .... 93

61 Whether Foremen Think Handheld Device Would Help Them Do Their Jobs. 94

62 Whether Foremen Think Handheld Device Would Help with Scheduling
and Coordination ........................................ 95

63 As-Built Project Documentation System ....................... 224















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

INVESTIGATION OF
THE CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULING COMMUNICATION PROCESS:
PROBLEMS, FOREMAN'S ROLE, MEANS OF IMPROVEMENT,
AND USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

By

Brent R. Elliott

May 2000



Chair: John F. Alexander
Major Department: Architecture

The purpose of this study is to improve the construction scheduling communication

process. The study focuses on construction foremen working on general commercial building

projects, and explores how the construction scheduling communication process may be

improved through the role of foremen. A key objective is to investigate the concept of

foremen using handheld computer/communication devices as a means of improving

effectiveness and efficiency in the scheduling communication process. Several primary

research questions provide a framework for exploring how the construction scheduling

communication process may be improved through the role of the construction foreman:









1) What problems exist in the scheduling communication process?

2) What is the role of foremen in the scheduling communication process?

3) How can the scheduling communication process be improved?

Procedures used to answers these questions include survey instrument design, sample

selection, personal interviews, and statistical analysis. Data collected includes demographic

information about the project and individual being interviewed, foremen's role in the initial

planning process, use of written schedules on projects, attitudes about scheduling,

documentation practices, sources of delay, and exposure to and use of computer technology.

Consistency of results between two sample groups is evaluated with the Mann-

Whitney U and Wilcoxon Wtests. Correlation testing is performed using Kendall's tau-b in

order to identify the independent variables which are correlated with foremen's acceptance

of handheld computer/communication technology. Multiple linear regression analysis is

performed to identify characteristics of foremen which predict their acceptance of

technology. Results are found to be highly significant (P<0.01).

This study identifies problems in the scheduling communication process. Results

show that foremen are partially excluded from the flow of information within the scheduling

communication process, thereby reducing their efficiency in coordinating the work, and that

delays often occur due to problems involving the flow of information. Results suggest that

the scheduling communication process can be improved by increasing foremen's

involvement in the scheduling process and by enabling foremen to access the information

they need to coordinate the work. This study also demonstrates foremen's general acceptance

of existing computer technology which has the potential to facilitate such improvements.

xvi















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION


After first presenting the study's purpose, this chapter reviews the literature

concerning the scheduling communication process. It then specifies the primary research

questions explored, outlines the study's objectives, and summarizes the research design.


Purpose and Overview of Study


The purpose of this study is to improve the project scheduling communication

process in the construction industry. The study focuses on construction foremen, and

explores how the construction scheduling communication process may be improved through

the role of foremen. It seeks to examine the characteristics of foremen related to their role

in the scheduling communication process and to develop a profile of these characteristics.

It also considers foremen's perspectives on problems involving the scheduling

communication process and how the process may be improved. A key objective is to

investigate the concept of foremen using handheld computer/communication devices (also

referred to herein as handheld digital communicators) as a means of improving the

effectiveness and efficiency of the scheduling communication process. The research is

therefore designed to learn about foremen's experiences with computing technology, to

discover their attitudes toward the concept of using handheld digital communicators, and to









2

enable identification of any relationships that may exist between particular characteristics

of foremen and their assessment of whether using handheld digital communicators would

help them perform their jobs more effectively.


Scheduling Communication Process


The scheduling communication process is the flow of all information that pertains

to project planning and coordination. It is a dynamic process which requires timely

interaction among multiple project participants. Ideally, the process begins well before

construction activities are underway and involves a gradual transfer of responsibility from

preconstruction managers to operations managers. The process reaches its peak activity level

during the construction phase, which is the focus of this research. Although the as-built

record is established by documenting progress concurrentlywith construction, the scheduling

communication process concludes with emphasis on organization of project records as the

job is closed out and documentation is finalized.

At the inception of a new project, the construction schedule is the "beginning of the

potential to communicate the required information to all participants" (Birrell, 1989, p. 35).

The schedule becomes "the hub of a communication system" which links together a myriad

ofproject participants, each with diverseresponsibilities inthe construction process (Birrell,

1989, p. 34). This communication system must be efficient in order to ensure success in the

dynamic environment of a project under construction. It has long been recognized that the

efficiency of construction operations is directly related to the quality of communications

employed (Fletcher, 1972). As Parker (1980) states, "construction productivity is directly









3

related to the amount and quality of the communication that flows between the people who

are managing and those who are doing the work" (p. 173). Failure in the communication of

the schedule will result in inefficient construction despite the integrity of the schedule

(Birrell, 1989).

Computer technology has led to the development ofbetter field management systems,

and such systems have enabled construction contractors and managers to monitor field

operations more effectively. Despite such advances, however, there is much room for

improving communications and project information flow (Boles et al., 1998). Errors in

information exchange, coordination, and communication are blamed for many of the

problems that arise during construction (Arnold and Teicholz, 1996). In fact, lack of

communication among project participants has been suggested as the main cause of

fragmentation and low productivity in the construction industry (Meyer and Russell, 1991).

In a study which surveyed over 100 construction executives, Birrell (1989) concludes that

lack of communications or poor communications is a major impediment to labor flow

efficiency on site (Birrell, 1989). Abou-Zeid and Russell (1993) conclude that the

communication of project information needs to be improved. In their study of Electronic

Data Interchange (EDI) conducted through the Construction Industry Institute (CII), Bell and

Gibson (1990) also point out the industry's communication problems:

There is a need in the construction industry for more efficient communication
mechanisms for transferring data between and within owner, engineer, contractor and
supplier/subcontractor organizations, e.g.:
1) Design data from owner or designer to the contractor;
2) As-built data from contractor to owner;
3) Procurement-related data between contractors and their subcontractors and
material suppliers;









4

4) Construction and project control data between contractors and owners and
within project and contractor organizations. (p. 4)


Communication of the construction schedule, most closelyrelated to the fourth point above,

is again recognized as an area needing improvement

At the beginning of a project, throughout its construction, and in post-construction

analysis, the schedule is considered the "dominant information tool for managers of

construction operations" (Barnes, 1993, p. 404). As defined in this study, the schedule

includes both the as-planned schedule (planning of upcoming work) and the as-built schedule

(documentation of actual progress). Cost and schedule functions are two of the most

important elements of a construction control system, and "control depends on data acquired

on the site during the execution of the project" (Abudayyeh and Rasdorf, 1991, pp. 679-680).

Although most construction projects employ some means of cost and schedule control,

"many projects suffer from ineffective control due to inefficient flow of information"

(Abudayyeh and Rasdorf, 1991, p. 680). The scheduling communication process is usually

disjointed and often fails to promptly and accurately capture construction progress data that

managers need to make informed decisions. In addition, addressing the immediate demands

and problems concerning work in progress consumes the bulk of field management's

attention, resulting in historical documentation which is frequently either inaccurate or in a

format which is extremely difficult to utilize effectively.

Foremen are closer to the actual construction work than any other supervisors or

managers on a project, and thus are recognized as a valuable source of information about the

project (Coble, 1994). In Borcherding's (1977) study of participative decision making,









5

management realized the value of foremen in field decision making. They reasoned that

foremen make good decisions since they are close to the work. Managers in that study found

it especially valuable to involve foremen in the preconstruction phase, when bidding or

scheduling a project.

However, inefficient means of communication between foremen and management

during the construction phase can lead to reduced productivity and poor documentation.

Despite the development of more advanced project management software packages, "project

participants still have difficulty receiving project data in a useful form" (Boles et al., 1998,

p. 131). Although the most direct source of detailed information about work being performed

is the construction foreman, construction managers often lack an efficient means of

communicating as-planned schedules to foremen and receiving accurate and timely field

productivity information from foremen. It is well known that "accurate, complete

documentation and efficient communication are critical to the success of a construction

project," and that the current "lack of accurate documentation causes confusion and

difficulties with regard to claims and disputes" (Liu, 1997, p. 399). Also, field problems

which require collaboration with management often involve site visits by management and

take excessive time to solve. Inefficient means of communication results in problems during

construction (e.g., delays and productivity losses) and problems after construction (e.g.,

claims and litigation). There is a general need in the construction industry for improved

methods of disseminating information to project team members (Boles et al., 1998; Parfitt

et al., 1993).









6

Construction researchers have contemplated how to use computing technologies to

improve communications between the field and the office, and also within the project itself.

Oglesby, Parker, and Howell (1989) discuss the use of computer terminals placed at strategic

locations on the job to augment communications via portable radios. They suggest that if

verbal information exchanges via portable radios were enhanced by communications via field

computer terminals, such use of computers could "both support and formalize these

information exchanges" (p. 444). These authors point out that one potential use of such a

system would be to communicate the schedule to field personnel. They suggest that the

details of the schedule, such as crew assignments and changes to the schedule, could be

accessed by all interested parties at the computer terminals in the field. They conclude that

such a scheduling communication process would be "far better than relying on word of

mouth or written plans, some of which may relay out-of-date information" (p. 444). There

is a recognition in the industry that "paper-based jobsite construction processes are becoming

obsolete as they are unable to deliver just-in-time information" (De la Garza and Howitt,

1997).

Oglesby, Parker, and Howell (1989) also discuss how computers could be used in the

field for tracking resources, such as drawings, ordered or stored materials, tools, and

supplies. They point out that proper coordination of such resources is essential for

productivity, but that the superintendent or foreman often ends up "hunting through written

records"which are "incomplete, not in usable order, or not readily accessible" (p. 444). They

conclude that "computers can make the process of finding things quicker and easier" (p.

444). Foreseeing the growth of the Internet, electronic mail was identified as another specific









7

application of utilizing computer terminals in the field, and the authors state that "the list of

potential uses for such communication is almost endless" (p. 444). Productivity can be

greatly enhanced by the reuse and transfer of data in electronic format (Parfitt et al., 1993).

An emerging means of improving the transfer of scheduling and coordination

information to and from the field is the implementation of handheld

computer/communication technology. Various construction research projects during the

1980's and 1990's have investigated the use of such technology (including radio frequency

identification, radio frequency data communication, optical character recognition, voice data

entry, magnetic stripe and smart cards) to improve field communications and information

transfer (Bell and Gibson, 1990; McCullouch, 1991b; Pan, 1996; Stukhart, 1995; Stukhart

and Berry, 1992). Research involving radio frequency technology in construction was

pursued because of the obvious information-flow benefits of "real-time, interactive

communication with a computer without being physically attached to that computer"

(McCullough, 1991b, p. 677). Using handheld computers for field data collection has been

recognized as beneficial, partly since "their use would help avoid dependence on site

personnel memories at the end of the day when much of the paperwork is normally done"

(Russell, 1993, p. 392). In addition, electronic documentation offers a solution to the

problem of underutilized daily log information collected by foremen (Tavakoli, 1990) by

enabling managers to access such data more efficiently. Coble (1994) points out that foremen

are the most appropriate individuals to use such devices since "the most accurate information

about a construction project comes from those actually embroiled in the day to day activities

on site" (p. 1451). Pen computing provides a simple means of data entry which actually









8

emulates the earliest means of written communications, marking symbols and letters on a flat

surface (Tidwell, 1992). Handheld computers have been designed to meet the needs of

construction field personnel, integrating components such as digital camera, touch screen,

and two-way communication (Alexander et al., 1997). Other research has investigated

multimedia documentation of field activities and use of the Internet for information exchange

as a means of improving record keeping and information flow (Liu, 1997). As De la Garza

and Howitt (1997) point out in their study ofjobsite wireless communications, "A shift to

an electronic-based exchange of information can help alleviate the timely delivering and

accessing of relevant amounts of information" (p. 3). Although handheld computers have

been utilized in the field to a limited degree, isolated attempts to implement such technology

have done so by equipping project engineers, upper-level field supervisors, or inspectors with

these automated tools (McCullouch, 1991 a; Rojas and Songer, 1996). Construction foremen,

however, have not generally been equipped with such a device, even though foremen are

arguably the best source of detailed project information (Borcherding, 1977; Coble, 1994).

Technology trends were extrapolated by Tatum, et al. (1991) in order to predict future

trends in the construction industry. The authors suggest that "computer literacy in

construction companies will eventually extend to the construction worker in the field to

facilitate the exchange of real-time information between the project team members" (p. 27).

They also state that "technology employing electronic transmission of data will significantly

diminish the significance of geographic location," (p. 39) and that "improved access to

databases is needed to improve productivity" (p. 50). Similarly, De la Garza and Howitt









9

(1977) suggest that "the Construction Industry at-large will profit from leveraging walkie-

talkie wireless voice communication with wireless data communication" (p. 2).

However, human factors must be considered in any attempt to implement such

promising technologies. Stukhart (1995) states that despite future advances in technology,

"by and large people will still be the major problem" (p. 51). Tatum et al. (1991) point out

that "the significance of computers is underrated and not well understood by many people"

(p. 53). In regards to computer use in the field, they state that "there is a strong resistance by

some field superintendents to using computers in the field" (p. 53). Other researchers have

recognized that human factors must be considered when attempting to implement technology

to improve construction operations. Coble (1994) emphasizes that successful implementation

of handheld computing at the foreman level begins with understanding the background and

job-related concerns of foremen. In their study of pen-based computers for use in

construction inspection, Rojas and Songer (1996) conclude that mobile computing offers

much potential benefit to construction field personnel including engineers, inspectors,

superintendents, and foremen but that "little would be accomplished if field personnel reject

this technology" (p. 1033). Similarly, Cahoon (1995) emphasizes that one requirement for

technology implementation in the construction industry is that "there must be buy-in at the

supervisory and craft level" (p. 28).

This study seeks to evaluate field personnel's acceptance of such technology. The

focus is on the first-line field managers, namely craft foremen. It explores the concept of

foremen using handheld digital communicators to improve the effectiveness and efficiency

of the scheduling communication process. A better understanding of how foremen relate to









10

this technology will provide guidance for practical implementation efforts, and will be a

helpful resource for future research and development.


Research Questions


Several primary research questions provide a framework for exploring how the

construction scheduling communication process may be improved through the role of the

construction foreman:

1) What problems exist in the scheduling communication process?

2) What is the role of foremen in the scheduling communication process?

3) How can the scheduling communication process be improved?


What Problems Exist in the Scheduling Communication Process?


Since foremen are the last link in the communication chain whereby a plan of work

is transformed into the reality of work in place, it is important to consider their perspective

regarding communication problems. What problems have foremen experienced with the

scheduling communication process? How do foremen rate their access to information they

need to do their jobs? Are foremen adequately informed about the schedule? Is production

slowed because foremen are waiting for information needed to perform the work? What are

foremen's main causes of delay? This research explores the obstacles that foremen encounter

as they relay information to their crews and report back to management.











What Is the Role of Foremen in the Scheduling Communication Process?


An important part of exploring how the scheduling communication process can be

improved through the role of the foreman is to investigate the level of involvement that

foremen have in scheduling and coordinating the work. What involvement do foremen have

in the initial planning process? Do foremen actually use the formnnal schedule to organize their

work? What involvement do foremen have in creating the as-built record of the job? Human

factors must also be considered. What are foremen's attitudes towards creating the as-built

record of the job? What are foremen's attitudes toward the schedule? Is the schedule helpful

to foremen? Are there any characteristics of foremen that correlate with their practices and

attitudes related to the scheduling communication process? Exploration of foremen's

characteristics related to their role in the scheduling communication process should provide

insight regarding how the process can be improved.


How Can the Scheduling Communication Process Be Improved?


The foreman is the individual most keenly aware of the field communication

problems that arise as a plan of work is transformed into work in place. Thus, foremen's

ideas regarding how to improve scheduling and coordination should be explored. What

suggestions do foremen have about how to improve scheduling? What suggestions do

foremen have about how to reduce delays?

Since little is known about foremen's exposure to computers, questions were

designed to learn more about the potential of foremen as users of handheld









12

computer/communication devices. What is the computer literacy rate of foremen? Do

foremen use computers as part of their job? Do foremen use computers at home?

Attitudinal factors are explored since they could largely determine the outcome of

any attempt to automate foremen with handheld digital communicators (Cahoon, 1995;

Coble, 1994; Rojas and Songer, 1996; Stukhart, 1995; Tatum et al., 1991). What are the

attitudes of foremen toward computers? Do foremen think that using a computer could help

them do their job better? What are the attitudes of foremen toward the concept of using a

handheld computer/communication device as part of their job? Additional insights couldbe

gained by investigating whether any characteristics of the role of foremen in the scheduling

communication process correlate with their attitudes toward new computing technologies.


Research Objectives


In order to answer the questions outlined above, the primary objectives of this study

are established as follows:

1) Investigate problems in the scheduling communication process.

2) Examine the role of foremen in the scheduling communication process.

3) Explore means of improving the scheduling communication process.

More detailed objectives which focus on specific research to be performed in this study are

presented below.











Investigation of Problems


Several research objectives direct the investigation of problems in the scheduling

communication process:

1) Review the literature related to the scheduling communication process.

2) Learn what problems foremen experience with scheduling and coordination.

3) Evaluate foremen's access to information they need to do their jobs.

4) Assess whether or not foremen are adequately informed about the schedule.

5) Determine foremen's sources of delay, including delays in project

information flow.


Examination of Foremen's Role


The following research objectives guide the examination of foremen's role in the

scheduling communication process:

1) Determine the extent of foremen's involvement in the initial planning

process.

2) Investigate foremen's practices related to scheduling (e.g., whether or not

foremen actually use the schedule to organize their work).

3) Ascertain foremen's attitudes toward scheduling (e.g., their perceptions of the

usefulness of a written schedule).

4) Explore factors which may affect foremen's role in scheduling (e.g., the

relationship between worker safety and productivity).









14

5) Examine foremen's involvement in creating the as-built record of the job

(e.g., their common practices of record keeping and attitudes toward

documentation).


Exploration of Process Improvement


Corresponding to the third primary research question, the following objectives

explore means of improving the scheduling communication process:

1) Learn about foremen's ideas regarding how to improve scheduling and

coordination (e.g., how to reduce delays).

2) Explore the concept of foremen using a handheld computer/communication

device to improve effectiveness and efficiency in the scheduling

communication process.

3) Measure the computer literacy rate of foremen (including an assessment of

computer use by foremen at work and at home).

4) Investigate foremen's attitudes towards computers, including their attitudes

toward the concept of using a handheld computer/communication device as

part of their job.

5) Determine whether there are characteristics of foremen which predict their

attitudes toward new computing technologies with potential to improve the

scheduling and coordination process. It is hypothesized that such predictive

characteristics of foremen will include the following:









15

a) Demographic information such as craft, experience level, age, and

education.

b) Involvement in the initial planning stage of a job.

c) Experience with written schedules, including look-ahead schedules.

d) Attitudes about scheduling.

e) Attitudes about worker safety.

f) Documentation practices and attitudes concerning its importance.

g) Sources of delay, including delays due to scheduling conflicts and

information flow problems.

h) Experience with computing technology, including exposure to, use of,

and attitudes toward computers.

Each question in the survey, which is designed to gather information on the above

characteristics, could theoretically be stated as a hypothesis. Since this research is

exploratory, however, strict hypotheses are not formed at this point. As detailed in Chapter

2, the survey instrument provides a means of gathering information regarding many specific

characteristics which correspond to the general characteristics presented above. As detailed

in Chapter 3, preliminary evaluation of results reveals the most pertinent characteristics of

foremen, and explicit hypotheses are then developed and tested.


Summary of Research Design


This research project seeks to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of

construction information systems, specifically regarding the communication of project









16

schedule information. A key element of the study is its focus on field operations, particularly

on the role of the foreman. Under exploration is the concept of automating the construction

foreman with computerized data management and communication tools so that the foreman

becomes an integral part of the communication process within the scheduling information

system.

This study focuses on foremen working on relatively large general commercial

building projects. New construction totaling approximately $1.5 billion at Universal Studios

in Orlando, Florida, provided a wide variety of trades and a plentiful source of foremen to

study. In addition, two large commercial projects in Orlando and two in Gainesville, Florida,

provided an external pool of foremen to study in order that results could be validated outside

of the Universal projects. These four non-Universal projects ranged in size from $12 million

to $30 million.

A questionnaire was developed in order to facilitate in-depth personal interviews

addressing the multiple research questions discussed above. All interviews were conducted

in person by this researcher. Most interviews were recorded on audio tape, which enabled

timely completion of the interviews and also provided an accurate and detailed record of

responses for subsequent review. Purposive sampling, also known as judgmental sampling

(Babbie, 1990), was used to obtain a valid sample of 119 foremen.















CHAPTER 2
METHODS


This chapter describes the methods used to accomplish the study's objectives, as

presented in Chapter 1. The descriptions encompass (1) design of the survey instrument, or

questionnaire, (2) sample selection, including both the main and external samples, (3) field

data collection by means of personal interviews, and (4) statistical procedures for analysis

of results.


Questionnaire Design


The questionnaire used in this research was designed to facilitate an organized and

consistent method of gathering the data during personal interviews (see Appendix A, page

143, for unabridged questionnaire). Questions were tailored to focus on the construction

foreman. The survey instrument was the means of investigating (1) problems with the

scheduling communication process, (2) foremen's role in the scheduling communication

process, and (3) how the scheduling communication process can be improved.

Questions pertinent to the research were developed and then refined in an attempt to

address the issues as specifically as possible. A pilot study was performed in order to test the

proposed questions and to obtain feedback regarding other relevant issues that should be

addressed. Those questions which could be answered with a limited set of possible choices

were identified, and the corresponding sets of answers were developed. Other questions were









18

left open-ended, either due to the wide range of expected responses or simply to allow the

respondents the freedom to fully explain their answers. For many questions, a Likert scale

was deemed appropriate and scaled answers were developed. Several variations of Likert

scales were used. The two most common ones were the frequency scale and the agreement

scale. An importance scale and a quality scale were also used. These four types of scales are

shown below:

Frequency Scale:

1 2 3 4 5

never rarely sometimes usually always

Agreement Scale:

1 2 3 4 5

strongly disagree disagree no opinion agree strongly agree

Importance Scale:

1 2 3 4 5

not at all of little imp. fairly imp. important very important

Quality Scale:

1 2 3 4 5

terrible poor OK good excellent


Demographic Information


The first section of the questionnaire gathered demographic information about the

project and individual being interviewed. This included the project name, general contracting









19

company name, the foreman's craft and company name, the foreman's experience in

construction as a worker and as a foreman, the foreman's union affiliation, the foreman's

length of employment with current employer, the foreman's average crew size, the foreman's

education level, and the foreman's age.


Initial Planning Practices


The next section of the questionnaire dealt with the foreman's role in the initial

planning process. The questions in this section investigated the input that foremen have in

the development of the project schedule, and are listed below:

* At the beginning of a new job, does anyone from your company or the company

managing the job ask you how you plan to do your portion of the work? (for

example: what specific methods you will use to do the job, or how you will organize

job tasks) [Frequency Scale]

If yes, who asks you?

Description of this interaction:

* At the beginning of a new job, does anyone from your company or the company

managing the job ask you how long you think it will take to complete your portion

of the work? [Frequency Scale]

If yes, who asks you?

Description of this interaction:











Use of Written Schedules


Several questions were developed to determine how often written schedules are used

on projects, foremen's level of exposure to these schedules, and whether they find the

schedules to be helpful. The first question in this section was developed in order to assess

the personal use of written planning by foremen. That is, do foremen just keep track of

everything in their heads and deal with field coordination on an as-needed basis, or do they

actually utilize some type of written plan which they use to map out the work and stay

organized? The specific questions follow:

* Do you use some type of written plan to organize upcoming work? Yes / No

If so, what kind of plan do you use?

A. list of activities B. bar chart C. network diagram D. other:

* How often are there written schedules for projects you work on? [Frequency Scale]

* Do you see these schedules? [Frequency Scale]

If so,

What form are they in? (Bar chart, list of activities, diagram, etc.)

How often are the written schedules helpful to you and your crew?

[Frequency Scale]


Use of Look-Ahead Schedules


The use of look-ahead schedules (short-interval schedules) was also investigated.

Such schedules are valuable to foremen because they serve as the link between the overall









21

schedule and the organization of resources needed to perform specific tasks (Hinze, 1998).

Therefore, the use of such schedules within the sample was deemed important to this study.

The questions asked regarding look-ahead schedules follow:

* Are look-ahead schedules used on your jobs? [Frequency Scale]

* If so,

How far ahead do the look-ahead schedules plan the work?

Who makes these schedules?

What does this schedule look like? (is it a list of activities? a bar

chart? a network diagram? something else?)

Do you help plan the look-ahead schedules on your jobs? [Frequency

Scale]

If so, how?


Attitudes About Scheduling


Several open-ended questions were asked to discover attitudes of foremen and their

crews towards the use of schedules and the general practice of scheduling, as well as to learn

their ideas for improving the process:

* Do you follow the schedule?

* How do you feel about the schedule?

* How do your crew members feel about the schedule?











* Do you wish you had more information about the schedule? Yes / No

If so, what?

* Do you have any suggestions on how to improve scheduling?


Scheduling and Safety


Several questions were then asked about safety in order to gather information about

foremen's perception of the relationship between scheduling and safety. Scheduling and

safety are necessarily intertwined, and "safety is a topic that must underlie every activity that

is included in a schedule" (Hinze, 1998, p. 215). Therefore, it was determined that

respondents' opinions about safety issues were important in this study on scheduling. The

following questions were asked:

* How important do you think worker safety is? [Importance Scale]

* How does following safety rules affect production?

A. slows down production B. does not affect production C. speeds up production

* Do the completion goals of the schedule make it difficult to deal properly with safety

issues? [Frequency Scale]

* Do you think you can make good job progress and be safe at the same time?

[Agreement Scale]

* How is safety information communicated to you?

* Do you think that having safety activities in the written schedule which relate to

upcoming work activities would help you to know what safety issues should be dealt

with at each stage of the job?












Documentation Practices


The next section investigated the practices of foremen regarding documentation.

Questions were developed to determine the types of information they record about the work

of their crews, whether they keep records beyond the minimum documentation required, how

important they think this documentation is, and how frequently their records are actually

used and/or checked. These questions were pertinent to this study because of the importance

of accurate as-built information in order to update the schedule and to notify all interested

parties of the current status of the work.

* Do you record information about the work your crew does? Yes / No

If so,

What do you record & how do you record it? (i.e., time sheets, daily

logs, production rates, pictures, notes, etc.)

How often do you record this information?

How much time per day do you spend recording this information?

Who do you give this information to?

If pictures are taken,

do you use a regular camera or a digital camera (or both)?

what is the purpose of the pictures you take?

Are you required to keep records? Yes / No

If so, by whom?











Do you keep any records that are not required? Yes / No

If so, what?

How important do you think the job records you keep are?

[Importance Scale]

Why do you think this?

Do you think your job records are used to evaluate your work?

[Frequency Scale]

Is the data you record checked by anyone? [Frequency Scale]

Are you asked questions by anyone about the data you record?

[Frequency Scale]

If you have to shift your crew to another area (because you're waiting

for information you need in order to do your current work, waiting for

inspections, waiting for other trades, etc.) do you...

Make notes about why you had to move your crew to a new

area? [Frequency Scale]

Keep track of the time lost from moving your crew to a new

area? [Frequency Scale]


Sources of Delay


Several questions inquired about the experiences of foremen regarding access to

information needed to perform the work and the level of difficulty in getting answers to

specific questions that arise concerning execution of the work. Other potential sources of









25

delay were investigated, as well as foremen's suggested solutions. Opinions regarding the

openness of management toward the foremen's suggestions to improve work processes were

also addressed.

* In general, how do you rate your access to the information you need to do your job?

[Quality Scale]

* Please give your opinion about the following statement: Your production is often

slowed down because you are waiting for information needed to perform the work.

[Agreement Scale]

If so, what are some typical kinds of information that you have to wait for

which are needed to perform your work?

* Is it difficult to get necessary questions answered? [Agreement Scale]

If so, Lwhy is it difficult?

* How do you go about getting questions answered? (RFI's etc.)

* What else causes you delays on the job?

* How can these delays be reduced?

* Is management willing to listen to suggestions you have abouthow to improve work

processes? [Frequency Scale]


Computers and Technology


The last section of the questionnaire gathered information about the computer literacy

of foremen, their exposure to and use of computers and related technology, and their attitudes

toward the use of computers as part of their jobs. It is important to note that the method of









26

asking the last several questions in this section was somewhat different. These final questions

involved explaining the concept of handheld computer use in the field and demonstrating

sample handheld computing devices. The concept of obtaining field measurements via stereo

imaging was explained. Specific handheld digital communication devices were demonstrated

for foremen in order to obtain their evaluation regarding whether such devices would help

them do theirjobs, as well as to measure their acceptance levels concerning their use of such

devices.

* Do you personally use a computer to perform any part of your job? Yes / No

* Do you use a computer at home? Yes / No

* Do you have children who use computers at your home? Yes / No

* Do you like to play video games?

* Do you use any type of electronic organizer? Yes / No (If so, what?)

* What communication devices do you use? (2-way radio, cell-phone, pager)

* Would you say that computers are beneficial to construction companies? [Agreement

Scale]

* Do you think that a computer could help you do your job better? [Agreement Scale]

* If your employer told you a computer would help you do your job better and wanted

you to start using one as part of your job, how would you feel about that?

* Do you think that computers could ever replace part of the foreman's job?

[Agreement Scale]









27

* Assume you had a camera which took pictures that enabled anyone looking at the

pictures to know all the dimensions in the pictures. Please give your opinion

regarding whether such a camera would be useful to you. [Agreement Scale]

If this camera would be useful, for what purposess?

How accurate would such a camera need to be?

* Would a device like these (demonstrating mock-up Gator Communicator and

IBM/BellSouth Simon) help you do your job? [Agreement Scale]

* Would a device like these (demonstrating mock-up Gator Communicator and

IBM/BellSouth Simon, including concept of accessing the schedule through these

devices) help you with scheduling and coordination? [Agreement Scale]


Sample Selection


The construction foreman, defined as the first-line field supervisor, was chosen to be

the focus of this research. In particular, this study sought to examine construction foremen

working on relatively large commercial building projects, with the assumption that large

projects have a higher level of need for efficient and effective scheduling, coordination, and

communication tools than small or medium projects. It was further assumed that foremen of

trade contractors working on large projects would be more aware of the needs for efficient

and effective scheduling, coordination, and communication tools than foremen working on

small or medium projects.

The purposive (or judgmental) method of sampling, as described by Babbie (1990),

was utilized in this research. Judgmental sampling allows the sample to be selected based on









28

the researcher's "knowledge of the population, its elements, and the nature of [the] research

aims" (p. 97). This nonprobability method was chosen since the dynamic nature of

construction projects and the itinerant qualities of construction foremen would make

probability sampling prohibitively expensive and time consuming.

It would have been extremely time consuming to even attempt developing a list of

all the construction foremen working on a selected group of projects. Identifying a larger

population of foremen, such as all the construction foremen working in the state of Florida,

would be even less feasible. It is also unlikely that an accurate and complete list would result

even if one spent the inordinate amount of time necessary to identify all the subcontractors

intending to be on a selected group of projects during a certain range of dates. It would be

equally difficult to contact all of these companies and request the names of their foremen

expected to be working on particular projects during a certain range of dates.

Furthermore, locating individual foremen selected in a random sample would be

extremely time consuming and infeasible, particularly on large project sites. For those

foremen who would actually be found, many would probably not qualify for inclusion in the

study because they were actually superintendents. With trade contractors, distinguishing

between foremen and superintendents is often difficult and people within the contracting

companies usually assume that the superintendent is really the person being sought. They

simply direct an interviewer to the superintendent since they believe this individual will be

able to deal with public relations more smoothly than the foreman, or possibly since

discussions with superintendents would be less disruptive to the work process. Even some

field representatives of general contracting firms are not able to distinguish among a given









29

subcontractor's foremen, general foremen, and superintendents who are working on their

projects.

In this study, purposive sampling enabled the interviewer to locate construction

foremen relatively quickly by walking through the construction projects and observing the

ongoing work. It allowed for flexibility of timing, so that a foreman who was taking a break

could be approached rather than one who was working with the crew (e.g., helping them get

ready for a concrete pour that afternoon). It also enabled the interviewer to include a good

cross-section of trades. For example, if only electrical and concrete foremen were

interviewed on a particular day due to their availability, the interviewer was able to seek out

other trades the next day.

Construction work at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, was chosen as the source

of projects from which to draw the main sample. Multiple projects ongoing within the

development activities of a single owner provided an ideal environment for maintaining a

low level of variability and enabling good internal validity of results. Although the

circumstances at Universal Studios appeared ideal for the study since it was a large project

and included an even cross-section of several trades, the possibility was considered that any

unique project characteristics could yield skewed results. Thus, it was determined that the

results of the study would be more reliable if an external sample of foremen was also

surveyed in the same manner as the main sample. The external sample data could then be

compared to the main sample data to check for consistency of results. Thus, four other

projects (two in Orlando, Florida, and two in Gainesville, Florida) were selected in order to

provide external validity to the results of the study.









30

The total volume of work within the Universal Studios projects was approximately

$1.5 billion. These projects included the Islands of Adventure theme park and the Portofino

Hotel. Islands of Adventure was divided into six major "islands," each with a different

general contractor or construction manager (contractual arrangements varied), except that

one contractor was building two of the six islands, resulting in five different prime

contractors. Another contractor was building the hotel project, resulting in six different prime

contractors performing all the work sampled within the Universal Studios projects.

The four projects selected for the external sample included a $30 million retail center

in Orlando, Florida (Winter Park Village), a $12 million office building in Orlando, Florida

(One Legacy Point), a $25 million hotel in Gainesville, Florida (University of Florida Hotel

& Conference Center), and a $16 million student residence facility in Gainesville, Florida

(Student Residence Facility 2000). Two of the six general contractors in the main sample

(Universal Studios projects) were also represented in the external sample (consisting of three

general contractors), and one of these two general contractors was represented in both the

Orlando and Gainesville external samples. This helped minimize any influence that different

general contractors and different geographical areas may have on results within the external

sample.

A total of 121 foremen were surveyed, but two of the surveys were discarded. In one

of these discarded cases, the substantial portion of the questionnaire was incomplete. In the

other, the participant initially identified himself as a foreman but the interview revealed that

he was actually functioning more as a general superintendent. Therefore, the total number

of valid surveys was 119. This sample represented eighty different companies and sixteen









31

different trades or trade groups. In general, trades were categorized according to standard

divisions of work as developed by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).

Nomenclature was adjusted and some trades were grouped together to reflect the actual

conditions of the sample. For example, drywall, plaster, and metal framing were grouped

together since this work is typically performed by crews working under the same foreman.

The full list of categories used is given below:

1. Site Work

2. Concrete

3. Masonry

4. Ironwork

5. Carpentry

6. Roofing

7. Drywall / Plaster / Metal Framing

8. Flooring / Tile

9. Painting

10. Special Finishes

11. Miscellaneous Specialties

12. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

13. Plumbing

14. HVAC and Plumbing

15. Fire Sprinklers

16. Electrical









32

Since some mechanical foremen performed both plumbing and HVAC, and others

specialized in one or the other, separate and combined categories were created in order to

accurately reflect the foremen's actual work activities.


Data Collection


For the main sample, contact was made with Universal Studios managers overseeing

the construction work. After describing the research project and obtaining permission to

conduct interviews with foremen on the Universal studios job sites, arrangements were made

to gain access to the sites, including confirmation of proper insurance coverage for the

interviewer, parking passes, visitor badges, and project logistics information. Attendance at

a general superintendent's lunch meeting enabled this researcher to describe the research

project to the top field representatives for each of the general contractors and to obtain

approval for interviewing foremen on each respective project.

For the external sample, contact was made with project managers on the individual

projects. After describing the research project, arrangements were made to gain access to the

construction sites.

Interviews for the main sample data (N=87) were conducted between January 29,

1999, and March 10, 1999. Interviews for the external sample data (N=32) were conducted

between June 15, 1999, and July 30, 1999. All interviews were conducted by this researcher

on the actual construction sites. Most were conducted either outdoors or in partially

constructed buildings, and a few were conducted in job site office trailers.









33

Utilizing judgmental sampling, the interviewer walked around on the projects,

observing the work and looking for foremen to interview. Once potential candidates were

identified, the interviewer asked them several questions about their job descriptions in order

to confirm that they actually were functioning as foremen (defined as first-line field

supervisors). If they were first-line field supervisors, the interviewer briefly described the

research project and asked them to participate in the research by answering several questions

about their experience in the construction industry. Most foremen were agreeable to this idea,

although it was sometimes necessary to assure them that the study was simply the

interviewer's own research project towards completion of a college degree, that it was not

for purposes related to corporate politics, and that all answers would remain confidential.

After a given foreman had agreed to participate in the survey, the interviewer asked

permission to tape record the interview. A few foremen refused to be tape recorded, but most

did not object to the use of a recorder.

Although conducting the personal interviews was very time consuming, it worked

quite well as a method of data collection. The interviewer was quickly able to ascertain

whether or not an interviewee understood the question, thereby enabling the question to be

repeated or clarified, if necessary. Regarding the benefit of personal interviewing as a means

of data collection, Babbie (1990) states, "If the respondent clearly misunderstands the intent

of a question or indicates that he does not understand, the interviewer can clarify matters and

thereby obtain relevant responses" (p. 188). For this reason, the data collected most likely

have a higher level of integrity than if the same survey were conducted by mail or otherwise

distributed for independent completion by the respondents.









34

As previously noted, a somewhat different method was employed for asking the last

several questions in the section regarding use of computers. These questions differed from

the others in that they were asked after explaining a concept and demonstrating how

handheld computers might be used in the field.


Analysis Techniques


The statistical software package used for data analysis is SPSS 9.0. Scaled answers

and answers to closed-ended questions were entered directly into the system to reflect the

answers from the survey instrument. Answers to open-ended questions were either partially

or fully transcribed, and then appropriate codes created, in order to enable entry of the data

into the SPSS data file. Results are first described with descriptive statistics and basic

interpretations. Response frequencies are calculated and both tabular and graphical output

is generated for presentation purposes. Statistical tests are then used to analyze the data.

The Mann-Whitney Uand Wilcoxon Wtests, which enable comparison of two related

samples, are used to evaluate the consistency of results between the main and external

samples. These nonparametric tests are appropriate for analysis of ordinal data, and do not

make strict assumptions concerning population distributions (Agresti and Finlay, 1986). The

equation for the Mann-Whitney U is



U = NIN2 + N(NI + 1) Ti Equation 1 Mann-Whitney U
2

where N1 and N2 are sample sizes of the two groups being compared and T, is the sum of

ranks of one sample. The related equation for the Wilcoxon W is











=m(m + 2n + 1) N(N\ + 1)
W = + N N1N2 N) + Ti Equation 2 Wilcoxon W
2 2


where m is the number of observations in the smaller group, and n is the number of

observations in the larger group (SPSS Base 9.0, 1999).

Next, testing of correlations is performed using Kendall's tau-b in order to identify

the independent variables which are correlated with foremen's acceptance of handheld

computer/communication technology. The formula for Kendall's tau-b is

P- Q
S= -p+Q x Equation 3 Kendall's Tau-b



where P is the number of concordant pairs, Q is the number of discordant pairs, Tx is the

number of pairs tied on Xbut not on Y, and T, is the number tied on Ybut not on X(SPSS

Base 9.0, 1999).

Lastly, multiple linear regression analysis is performed to identify any characteristics

of foremen which predict their acceptance of the handheld computer/communication

technology. The formula for multiple linear regression is


y = fl + fix1+.. .+6xy + E Equation 4 Multiple Linear Regression


where y is the dependent variable, Po is the y-intercept, P3 is the slope, x,...Xp are the

independent variables, and e is the error term (SPSS Base 9.0, 1999).

Single-step multiple linear regression, where all independent variables are entered

into the equation at the same time, is used for hypothesis testing. Both single-step and









36

stepwise multiple linear regression are then used to develop overall predictive models. In the

stepwise method, independent variables are entered individually and are examined for entry

or removal at each step. Variables are then removed if their partial contributions to the model

are no longer significant when combined with other variables which are entered at later

stages (Agresti and Finlay, 1986).















CHAPTER 3
RESULTS


This chapter presents results of the interview surveys conducted in this research.

First, descriptive statistics are presented to profile the characteristics of the participating

construction foremen. Foremen's characteristics are examined to investigate problems in the

scheduling communication process, to study the role of foremen in the scheduling

communication process, and to explore ways the scheduling communication process can be

improved. Results are presented according to the order of appearance in the survey

questionnaire, and frequencies obtained are discussed briefly. Since every question was not

answered by all 119 foremen, the number of respondents for each question is noted in the

corresponding figures. The results are then examined for validity, correlations are

investigated, hypotheses are tested, and predictive models are explored.


Characteristics of Foremen


The responses to survey questions are grouped according to the categories presented

in the Questionnaire Design section of Chapter 2. Demographic data are presented first,

including project and foremen demographics. The remaining characteristics of foremen are

then presented in the following categories: initial planning practices, use of written

schedules, use of look-ahead schedules, attitudes about scheduling, relationship between










38

scheduling and safety, documentation practices, sources of delay, and computers and

technology.



Project Demographics



A total of eleven projects provided the data for this research. Seven projects

comprised the main sample, and four projects made up the external sample. (See Figure 1

for the percentage distribution of the sample according to the source project.) From left to

right in Figure 1, the first seven projects represent the main sample (87 responses) and the

remaining four represent the external sample (32 responses).


Distribution of Sample by Project Name


(N=119)

Main Sample External Sample


20.0 -
19.3






00 1.6







Name of Project


Figure 1


r


M"'










39

The eleven source projects were managed by a total of seven different general

contractors. (See Figure 2 for the percentage distribution of the sample by the general

contractors managing the surveyed projects.)


200




10D .



0o0


(N=119)

r2 6.1 1


CESS


Bovis


General Contractor on Project


Figure 2


Distribution of Sample by General Contractor


Whiting Turner managed Suess Landing and Lost Continent; Turner managed Isla

Nublar; CRSS managed Toon Lagoon; Beers managed Superhero Island and Legacy Point;

Metric managed Port of Entry; Bovis managed Portofino Hotel, Winter Park Village, and

Student Residence Facility 2000, and Hardin managed UF Hotel & Conference Center.



Demographics of Foremen



The demographic characteristics of the foremen included trade specialty, experience

level, union affiliation, education, and age. Foremen employed by a total of seventy-six


Whiting Rzrnan


Haimn









40

different subcontractors and four general contractors were surveyed (see Table 1).

Companies employing the foremen in the main sample consisted of fifty-six subcontractors

and three general contractors, while companies employing foremen in the external sample

consisted of twenty-three subcontractors and one general contractor. Three subcontractors

from the main sample were also in the external sample.



Table 1 Number of Companies Employing the Foremen Surveyed
TOTAL
MAIN EXTERNAL DET
SAMPLE SAMPLE DIFFERENT
COMPANIES

Subcontractors 56 23 76*

General Contractors 3 1 4

3 subcontractors represented in the Main Sample were also in the External Sample



The sample of foremen interviews was drawn from sixteen different trades or trade

groups (see Figure 3). Drywall, plaster, and metal framing were grouped together since this

work is typically performed by crews working under the same foreman. Some mechanical

foremen performed both plumbing and HVAC, while others specialized in one or the other,

so separate categories were created in order to accurately reflect the trades they represented.

The overall construction experience of foremen ranged from three to forty-eight years

(see Figure 4). The mean overall construction experience was 19.3 years, the median was

19.0 years, and the mode was 20.0 years.















16 D
(N= 119)
14 D

12D

10D

SD















Foremen's Trade or Craft

Figure 3 Distribution of Sample by Trade







12
(l=119)

10 *


8


6


4





0
3D 70? 11li 15) 19J) 23J) 27)) 32J) 43J)
60) 9J0 131D 17J) 21J0 25D3 29J0 350)

Years


Foremen's Overall Construction Experience


Figure 4















Construction experience at the foreman level ranged from 0.5 to 30.0 years, with a

mean of 9.5 years, a median of 8.0 years, and a mode of 3.0 years. The percentage

distribution for years experience as foremen is shown in Figure 5.


Figure 5


(N= 119)


.5 2.5 4.5 7J0 10O0 14.J 20J0 30J0
15 35 55 85 12.0 18.0 23J0

Years


Construction Experience as Foremen


Union affiliation was categorized into four groups (see Figure 6). As shown, 46.2%

of the foremen were open-shop and had no prior union experience, 31.9% were working for

an open-shop company at the time of the survey but had prior union experience, 11.8% were

working for a union company at the time of the survey but had prior open-shop experience,

and 10.1% were union at the time of the survey and had no open-shop experience.















462 -IT= 119)
40D


30J* 31.9


20D


10D J 112

00
Open-Shop(All) UionWiis Open-Shop)
Open-Shop(W Uniaon) Uin(All)

Foremen's Responses

Figure 6 Current and Previous Union Affiliation





The length of time the foremen had been with their current employer was examined

(see Figure 7). Durations ranged from two days to thirty years, with a mean of 4.6 years, a

median of 3.0 years, and a mode of 2.0 years.

The crew size typically supervised by foremen ranged from two to fifty-five, with a

mean crew size of 14.8, a median of 11.0, and a mode of 10.0 (see Figure 8). Most foremen

stated that their crew size varies considerably depending on the scope of the project and the

stage of the job at a given time. The answers represent what foremen considered their

average, or typical, crew sizes. Although the upper end of the range seems rather high, the

mean crew size (14.8) is comparable to another study of foremen which had a mean crew

size of 10.9 (Shohet and Laufer, 1991).









(N=118)


J .4 8 2.1 4.5 9J 15i0
-2 .7 13 33 7.0 12.J 22J0


Years


Duration with Current Employer


(?= 114)


2 4 6 8 10 12
Foremen's Responses


14 16 20 25 33 38 45 55


Average Crew Size


, J


Figure 7


Figure 8


,I


11M I










45

The level of formal education completed by foremen was examined and the results

(see Figure 9) were compared to the results obtained in a 1977 Stanford study of fifty

foremen. Although the scale of measurement used in that study was slightly different, 11.9%

of the foremen had completed ninth grade or less, 16.7% had some high school, 35.7% had

graduated from high school, 23.8% had some college, and 11.9% had graduated from junior

college or college (Samelson, 1977).




60D
(N=119)
50D -
50.4

400 *


300 -


20D *





somehig school some college 4-yr college degee
high school graduate 2-yr college degree

Foremen's Responses

Figure 9 Level of Formal Education Completed



The level of education among foremen appears to be rising, as indicated by the

increased percentage of foremen completing high school or more advanced education (see

Table 2). In the current study, 89.1% of foremen were at the high school graduate level or

higher, compared to 71.4% in the 1977 study. Percentages of foremen in this study with

some college education or college degrees, however, closely parallel the 1977 study.














Comparison of Foremen Education Levels with 1977 Study


SOME HIGH HIGH SCHOOL SOME COLLEGE COLLEGE
SCHOOL OR GRADUATE OR COLLEGE DEGREE
LOWER OR HIGHER DEGREE (2 OR 4 YEAR)

Current Study 10.9% 89.1% 38.7% 11.8%

1977 Study 28.6% 71.4% 35.7% 11.9%


Information was gathered on whether or not foremen had received some type of trade

school training (see Figure 10). The sample size, sixty-eight, is smaller for this variable since

no questions about trade school were included in the original survey. However, since many

foremen provided information about their trade school training when asked about their

formal education, this characteristic was examined for its potential relationship with the

dependent variables.


Foremen's Responses

Figure 10 Trade School Training


Table 2


(N=68)
Tn r,^










47

The age of the foremen was normally distributed with a range from eighteen to sixty-

four (see Figure 11), with a mean and median age of 40.0. The two modes were 35.0 and

41.0.


(N=119)


18 26 30 34 38 42 46 51 55 63
22 28 32 36 40 44 48 53 58

Years

Figure 11 Age of Foremen


Although gender was originally intended to be a variable in this study, no female

foremen were identified for inclusion during the sampling process. Therefore, all foremen

surveyed were male.



Initial Planning Practices



Planning is important on complex projects in order to keep all workers actively

pursuing completion of their work. Research shows that foremen's planning practices are an

important factor in the productivity of their crews. For example, one study showed that










48

foremen of productive crews spend 9.6% of their time on planning, compared to only 2.1%

by foremen of unproductive crews (Shohet and Laufer, 1991).

The involvement of foremen in planning varied widely in this study. As shown (see

Figure 12), 20.1% of the foremen indicated that when starting a new job they are "never" or

"rarely" asked about how they plan to organize the job or what methods they intend to use,

while 57.2% said they are "usually" or "always" asked such questions. The remaining 22.7%

indicated that they are "sometimes" asked about planning and methods. Although a




40JD



30 .0



200 -
020 2







never rely sometimes aualy i y

Foremen's Responses

Figure 12 How Often Foremen Are Asked About Methods
at Start of Job


foreman's ideas may not necessarily be implemented, the responses to this question

distinguish between those who have at least some input and those whose opinions are not

even sought. The majority (55.7%) of foremen who are asked about planning and methods

reported that it is someone from their own company (normally their superintendent or project









49

manager) who asks these questions (see Figure 13). Those foremen asked about methods by

the general contracting company indicated that it would typically be the job superintendent

asking the questions.


(N=106)


fremm's cOipay GC coMpay both coupmies

Foremen's Responses

Figure 13 Who Asks Foremen About Methods
at Start of Job


Foremen also gave information on how often they were asked for their estimates of

task duration (see Figure 14). The highest percentage of answers were in the "always"

category. Again, this question does not establish that a foreman's input is necessarily

incorporated into the schedule, but it does distinguish between those foremen who are asked

what they think and those who are not asked. As with the methods question (see Figure 13),

it is usually foremen's own superintendents or project managers who ask for their input

regarding the duration of construction activities (see Figure 15).










(N=119)


never


I
rarely smcetmes usually


Foremen's Responses I
Figure 14 How Often Foremen Are Asked About Duration
of Construction Activities at Start of Job


(N=106)


Foremen's Responses
Foremen's Responses


GC company both conpuaies


Figure 15 Who Asks Foremen About Duration of
Construction Activities at Start of Job















Use of Written Schedules


The majority of foremen (60.5%) reported that they use some type of written plan to

organize their upcoming work. The most common type of plan used was a list of activities,

but four foremen (3.4%) said they use bar charts for planning their work (see Figure 16).


(N= 119)


bar chat


Foremen's Responses


Figure 16 Use of Written Plan to Organize Work


Most foremen (69.7%) reported that there is "always" a written schedule for the

projects where they work (see Figure 17). No answers were given for the scale selection

"never," so this category is not displayed in the chart. Just because a foreman knows that a

schedule exists does not mean that the foreman actually sees the schedule, so foremen were


stL 0 a=Mries















oUJJ
(N= 119)


60 0



40.J



20D* 22




rrely samames usually always

Foremen's Responses

Figure 17 How Often Projects Have Written Schedules




asked how often they see the written schedule. Approximately half (53.8%) of the foremen

reported that they "always" see the schedule (see Figure 18). While 92.4% of the foremen

stated that there is "usually" or "always" a written schedule on their jobs (see Figure 17),

only 74.0% reported that they "usually" or "always" see the schedule (see Figure 18).

Additionally, 10.1% said they "never" or "rarely" see the schedule.

Foremen were also asked how often they find that written schedules are helpful to

them. Slightly more than half (56.9%) of the foremen answered that written schedules are

"usually" or "always" helpful (see Figure 19).











(N=119)


never rrely soametns uually alwa
Foremen's Responses
Figure 18 How Often Foremen See the Schedule


(N=116)


S~ jfIffj I M Th


men's eresponses
Foremen's Responses


Figure 19 How Often Written Schedules Are
Helpful to Foremen













Use of Look-Ahead Schedules



Foremen were asked about the use of look-ahead schedules. Most foremen (70.6%)

reported that look-ahead schedules are "usually" or "always" used on projects they are

involved with, while only 12.6% reported that look-ahead schedules are "never" or "rarely"

used (see Figure 20).



50D
(N= 119)

43.7
400 *


30.0 *


20D *


10 .0

0.0
never rely sometimes mually IwyS

Foremen's Responses

Figure 20 How Often Look-Ahead Schedules Are
Used on Projects



Look-ahead schedules are designed to look into the immediate future and plan for the

upcoming work tasks on a project. Since these schedules can be structured to make

projections of one or more weeks, foremen were asked about the number of weeks projected

in the look-ahead schedules. The reported duration of look-ahead schedules varied from one

week to four weeks or more, but 72.9% answered that these schedules plan between one and










55

three weeks ahead (see Figure 21). A significant number (19.6%) reported a forward plan of

at least four weeks. Although some types of construction look-ahead schedules, or short-term

schedules, are much longer (e.g., sixty or ninety days), look-aheads normally plan the work

only two or three weeks in advance. Many such schedules also include an additional week

that looks back at the work just completed (Hinze, 1998). This study did not inquire about

the inclusion of the previous week in the look-ahead schedules.





30D .
(N=107)



200*




10 JJ





Iwee1 2wees1 3mwees 4we1s
1 or 2wes 2or3weds 3or4weeds 4wes ormmor

Foremen's Responses

Figure 21 Duration of Look-Ahead Schedules




The majority of foremen reported that the general contractor makes the look-ahead

schedules (see Figure 22). Although some foremen specified the general contractor's

superintendent or project manager as the individual who actually develops such schedules,

most answers simply indicated that someone within the general contractor's organization









56

makes the look-ahead schedules. As shown (see Figure 22), 12.8% of the foremen said they

make the look-ahead schedules themselves, and an additional 22.9% said that someone else

within their company makes the schedules. Another 12.8% of the foremen responded that

these schedules are generated by the general contractor and/or their own company, while

50.5% reported that only the general contractor creates look-aheads. Foremen who make the

look-ahead schedules themselves are considered to have the highest level of involvement in

the scheduling process, and foremen whose own companies make the look-ahead schedules

are considered to have more involvement in the scheduling process than those whose own

companies do not make look-ahead schedules.



60DJ
(N=109)
50D -
50.5

40D *

30J -

20D




fream GC&reum's coupmy
f omL's cCpOmy G Cn l CcarAtctor

Foremen's Responses

Figure 22 Who Makes the Look-Ahead Schedules



Approximately half (50.5%) of the foremen indicated that look-ahead schedules are

composed of a list of activities which are to be performed in the upcoming week or weeks










57

(see Figure 23). Bar charts, which would be considered a more sophisticated means of

planning than a list, were the form of look-ahead schedules observed by 35.4% of the

foremen surveyed. An additional 12.1% said they typically see either form (list of activities

or bar chart).





60D J
(H=99)
50D3 50


40D


30 0


20D -


ioDn 12.1


veiba nlrdy listofctYities listorbadchmft brcht

Foremen's Responses

Figure 23 Types of Look-Ahead Schedules Used





A fairly even distribution of answers was obtained when asking foremen if they help

plan look-ahead schedules for their projects (see Figure 24). Hinze (1998) points out that it

is ideal if craft supervisors are involved in developing short-interval schedules since these

schedules detail the specific tasks that the first-line supervisors know best. It was expected

that foremen who participated in planning the work would have a better attitude towards the

schedule.













40JO
(N= 112)


30 0



20.J



10D




neer rely smtimes usually lways

Foremen's Responses

Figure 24 How Often Foremen Help Plan
Look-Ahead Schedules





Attitudes About Scheduling



The fact that nearly all the interviews were tape recorded helped to further categorize

responses to open-ended questions, such as those concerning foremen's attitudes about

scheduling. With the recordings, voice inflection and general sentiment behind a response

could be evaluated if the comment itself was ambiguous.

Foremen were asked if they follow the schedule (see Figure 25; refer also to Table

10, page 155, for foremen's detailed responses). Only 4.2% gave negative responses,

examples of which include "I make my own schedule. I've been told I'm working out of

sequence" and "Well, I try to, but they're always pushin' so you never can." Typical neutral

responses are "You follow it as much as you can. But if something changes right after you













100J0
(N=118)








40. O


20.O



negatiue response eut response positive rensponse

Foremen's Responses

Figure 25 Whether Foremen Follow the Schedule


write it...then you're back to square one" and "Yes, but if there's a problem with some of the

other sub-trades, then you can't follow it." Examples of positive responses include "I try to

keep really close to it, as close as I can" and "I have to. It's based on the GC's bar chart, and

we have to meet certain dates with certain items. If I don't, I get buried in concrete, and it's

my job to chip it up."

Most foremen (65.3%) gave positive responses to the question "How do you feel

about the schedule?" (See Figure 26; refer also to Table 11, page 160, for foremen's detailed

responses.) Comparing foremen's responses regarding how they feel about the schedule (see

Figure 26) to whether or not they follow the schedule (see Figure 25), some foremen

apparently cooperate with the demands of the schedule even if they have negative or neutral

feelings about it. On the three-point scale where negative = 1, neutral = 2, and positive = 3,

the mean for "How do you feel about the schedule?" is 2.52, while the mean for "Do you















70D

60D

50. 0

40D

30D

20J --





egtiie response neutr-nsponse posiue response

Foremen's Responses

Figure 26 How Foremen Feel About the Schedule




follow the schedule?" is 2.74, implying that foremen's actual adherence to the schedule is

better than their attitudes toward the schedule. Examples of negative responses are "It's a

crock of bull since they change their minds so much and it's so tight you can't do it" and "A

lot of times it's not realistic. Coordination is poor. I can keep up with any schedule as long

as it's coordinated with the other contractors on the job site. And that's not done very much."

Neutral responses include "If they get me the things I need when I want them, then I feel

good about it" and "It's useful when it works, and sometimes it's an absolute waste of time."

Sample positive responses are "They help you get the job done. You have to have a schedule.

If not, you never will get the job done" and "You can't go without them. You gotta have

some kind of a schedule. You gotta have some kind of plan to go by."










61

The majority (62.2%) of the foremen reported that their crews do not know what the

schedule is (see Figure 27). One foreman said, "They know nothing about the schedule. They

don't need that stress."


(N=119)


noyes

Foremen's Responses

Figure 27 Whether Foremen's Crews Know the Schedule


For those foremen whose crews know about the schedule, the perceived attitudes of

their crews toward the schedule are categorized in Figure 28. Sample negative responses

include "They hate it, because we push to be done on time" and "They hate it. They'd rather

work their eight hours a day and be done with it." Neutral responses include "They hate

being threatened by it, but they like it as a challenge. And you can use it both ways" and

"They're complacent about it. They just want someone to tell them where to go and what to

do." Positive responses include "They look forward to it, being able to plan ahead" and

"They like it. That way they know what they're doing. Sometimes my crew will get here










62

ahead of me or they'll work late or something, or I have to go to meetings. They know

what's going on in order to go. They're not just sitting there."





50D
(N=43)
46.5
40D *


30D *


20D J


10.0



regtie response neutr1 srponse posite response

Foremen's Responses

Figure 28 How Foremen Think Their Crews Feel
About the Schedule



Many foremen (40.9%) reported that they want more information aboutthe schedule

(see Figure 29; refer also to Table 12, page 167, for foremen's detailed responses). A

common response was that they want to know more about how their upcoming work is going

to coordinate with other trades. One foreman who wanted more information on coordination

with other trades said he does not get the necessary details at the coordination meetings since

"a lot of times, when they have their weekly meetings, half the people don't show up."


Another common response was the desire for more accurate scheduling information. One

foreman who wanted more accurate dates for his upcoming work stated that the original










63

schedule does not get updated. "It changes so much. If they would just adjust the schedule

to reflect what's actually happening in the field."






70DJ
(N=115)
60D J

50. J

40D 409

30D J

20D *





noes

Foremen's Responses

Figure 29 Whether Foremen Want More Information About
the Schedule



The majority (74.6%) ofthe foremen have suggestions on how to improve scheduling

(see Figure 30; refer also to Table 13, page 172, for foremen's detailed responses). Although

these suggestions vary widely, a common theme among them is the need for better

communication throughout the scheduling process. As one foreman said, "Communication

is the real key. I mean, that's the biggest problem that most companies have, is the

communication issue." Another stated, "In construction, you always got communication

problems." Many foremen also suggested that activity durations need to be more realistic,

with some indicating that durations would be realistic if the input of the trades was










64

incorporated into the schedule. Similar findings appear in Birrell's (1989) study of

scheduling issues, in which approximately one-third of subcontractors claimed that durations

are unrealistic. Regardless of the specific suggestion, the fact that some foremen have

suggestions on how to improve scheduling may indicate that they are not satisfied with the

current system and/or that they are open to the idea of changing the current system.


(N=11I8)


noyes

Foremen's Responses

Figure 30 Whether Foremen Have Suggestions
Regarding How to Improve Scheduling


Scheduling and Safety


A majority (58.0%) of the foremen reported that following safety rules slows down

production (see Figure 31). It is important to note, however, that regardless of how they

answered this question, nearly all foremen went on to emphasize the importance they place

on safety. Foremen who stated that safety slows down production typically qualified their










65

answers by saying that their first priority is safety, and that the safety of their workers is

more important than production.


(N= 119)


slows down does not ffct

Foremen's Responses


speeds up


Figure 31 Effect That Following Safety Rules
Has on Production


When foremen were asked if the demands of the schedule ever make it difficult to

deal properly with safety issues, 45.4% answered that this "sometimes" happens, and 17.7%

reported that this "usually" or "always" happens (see Figure 32). It appears that although

foremen as a whole feel very strongly about their responsibility to ensure the safety of their

crews, there is a perception that the demands of the schedule create a conflict with their

commitment to working safely. Nonetheless, 97.5% of foremen either "agreed" or "strongly

agreed" that they can make "good job progress" and be safe at the same time (see Figure 33).

Thus, there appears to be a discrepancy between the goals of the schedule and what foremen














(-=119)
1 45 .4














12.
never rely sometimes usually always


Foremen's Responses

Figure 32 Frequency That the Schedule Causes Difficulty in
Dealing Properly with Safety Issues


(Nz 119 )


no opmeons

Foremen's Responses


agree


Figure 33 Whether Foremen Think They Can Make Good
Job Progress While Working Safely










67

define as "good job progress." This finding is consistent with the fact that many of the

foremen commented on the need for more realistic durations when asked if they had any

suggestions about how to improve scheduling (see Figure 30, page 64; refer also to Table 13,

page 172, for foremen's detailed responses).

Foremen were asked for their opinions regarding the inclusion of safety activities in

the construction schedule (see Figure 34). Regarding whether or not foremen thought it

would be helpful to include safety activities in the written schedule, 51.3% responded

negatively and 38.3% responded positively. Positive responses to this question may indicate

foremen's willingness to try new methods of scheduling.

Previous studies have highlighted the need to address safety issues in the construction

schedule. Birrell (1989) advised that the schedule should reflect safety concerns by its





60.
(N= 115)
50D 513


40.
383

30D


20D -


101-


negaieresponse neut1arensponse positie response

Foremen's Responses

Figure 34 Opinions of Foremen Regarding the Inclusion of
Safety Activities in the Construction Schedule









68

process logic and activity durations, and suggested the possibility of including safety

activities as part of the explicit schedule. Research funded by the Center to Protect Workers'

Rights has resulted in the development of software which enables the integration of

information from a safety database with computerized project schedules, linking relevant

items from the safety database to the appropriate activities in the schedule (Kartam, 1995).

Hinze (1998) also emphasized the importance of addressing safety concerns in the

construction schedule.


Documentation Practices


Nearly all (96.6%) of the foremen indicated that they record information about the

work of their crews. The form of documentation varied from only keeping time sheets to

keeping detailed daily reports and log books. Most of the foremen reported the same basic

practices of record keeping. They keep time sheets for their crews and also keep a daily

record of information aboutthe project. However, the practice of keeping a separate log book

(sometimes called a journal) was less common. Therefore, in order to distinguish between

levels of documentation being maintained, foremen's responses were categorized according

to whether or not they keep a log book to document pertinent activities and issues on their

projects. Based on this criteria, 51.1% of the 92 foremen providing this information reported

that they do maintain a log book (in addition to daily reports and other required

documentation) and 48.9% said they do not keep a log book.

Ninety foremen provided information on the amount of time spent on documentation.

Although the range of time spent per day on record keeping activities varied widely (from










69

five minutes to 3.5 hours), the mean was 61.0 minutes, the median was 56.3 minutes, and the

mode was 60.0 minutes.

Foremen's practices regarding photographic documentation was also examined (see

Figure 35). Foremen were asked whether or not they take pictures on their projects and for

what purpose. Although 19.5% of foremen indicated that they do not take pictures on the job,

the remaining foremen take pictures for three basic purposes: keeping a personal portfolio

of projects they have built, documenting specific problems and/or circumstances, and

maintaining a general record of progress on the job (whether or not there are problems).

From their responses, ordinal categories were created to establish levels of sophistication

concerning photographic documentation, where taking no pictures represents the lowest level

and the practice of taking pictures for general records of job progress represents the highest

level. Although special permission had to be obtained in order to take pictures on the



60.0
( 113)
50D -
494
40D *

30D -


1O.O




nopictures specific problem
persaonlprtfflio geienalrecords

Foremen's Responses

Figure 35 Foremen's Practices of Taking Pictures










70

Universal Studios projects due to the proprietary work under construction, foremen were

instructed to answer this question based on their typical habits of taking pictures on other

projects.

Foremen were asked if they keep any records that are not required, and 82.2%

(N= 118) reported keeping records that are not required. They indicated that such records

usually involve specific details they want to remember about their work, materials they need

to order, or notes about coordination with other trades.

Most foremen (83.3%) indicated that they think their records are "very important"

(see Figure 36). No answers were given for the importance category "not at all," which is

omitted from the chart. This finding indicates an important reversal in foremen's attitudes

towards documentation, as Borcherding (1972) found that "very few foremen or





1000
(N=114)

800 f 833





40 )


20.



oflittlmh importace important
fairly imp t r impr

Foremen's Responses

Figure 36 How Important Foremen Think Their
Job Records Are










71

superintendents fully appreciate the value of or need for paperwork that they are asked to

complete" (p. 122).

Foremen were asked why they think their job records are important (see Figure 37).

As with the foremen's practice of taking pictures (see Figure 35), ordinal categories were

created to rank levels of sophistication regarding documentation practices. The majority of

the foremen (67.0%) gave reasons that dealt with protecting themselves and/or their

companies from future problems, such as litigation (see Figure 37). Reasons given that deal

with maintaining control of the job and/or compiling historical data for use in estimating and

other systems account for 22.0% of the sample. Answers which included both categories

(protect self/company and job control/history) were given by an additional 8.3% of the

sample.





800J

70.0 (N= 109)
676.
60. *

50D *

40D -

30D J

20D 0




protectselfcom y protection + corol
job controlahistoiy other

Foremen's Responses

Figure 37 Why Foremen Think Their Job
Records Are Important









72

The practice of documenting work accomplished on a routine basis, whether or not

there are any particular problems, is considered in this study to be a more sophisticated level

of documentation than specifically focusing on a particular problem area. It is often difficult

to know beforehand which issues will become problems later in the job or after the job is

finished. The documentation that is detailed in all aspects of the as-built project record will

probably be better for multiple purposes than documentation of an isolated issue. The need

to document a specific problem is obvious, but it takes more foresight to also document the

as-built progress that appears to be taking place without difficulty. The practice of

maintaining a comprehensive record of as-built progress should produce the best

documentation.

When asked if their records are used to evaluate their work, foremen gave varied

answers with some bias toward the affirmative end of the scale (see Figure 38). On the five-

point frequency scale shown, where "sometimes" = 3 and "usually" = 4, the mean response

was 3.3. Most foremen are used to being evaluated based on their job records. When asked

if their records are checked by others, foremen again gave varied answers with bias toward

the affirmative end of the scale (see Figure 39). On the five-point frequency scale shown,

where "sometimes" = 3 and "usually" = 4, the mean response was 3.6. Although 19.5% of

the foremen indicated that their records are never checked by others, 62.8% reported that

their records are "usually" or "always" checked. Regarding whether or not they are asked

questions about their records, foremen's responses varied, with a very slight bias toward the

negative end of the scale (see Figure 40). On the five-point frequency scale shown, where

"rarely" = 2 and "sometimes" = 3, the mean response was 2.9.















(N=114)


never rarely sometimes usually always

Foremen's Responses

Figure 38 How Often Foremen's Records Are Used
to Evaluate Their Work


(N=113)


never ey sometnes usually always

Foremen's Responses

Figure 39 How Often Foremen's Records Are Checked













40D
(NT=114)


30.



20J0 219








never rely sometimes muiully aways

Foremen's Responses

Figure 40 How Often Foremen Are Asked Questions
About Their Records




Regarding foremen's practices of documenting situations when they have to shift

their crews to other work areas (because they are waiting for information needed to do their

current work, waiting for inspections, waiting for other trades, etc.), responses show that

such occurrences tend to be documented. Most foremen (76.1%) reported that they "usually"

or "always" keep notes detailing why they had to move their crews (see Figure 41).

Similarly, the majority (57.2%) said they usually or always keep a record of the time spent

remobilizing their crews (see Figure 42). These findings, which relate to foremen's specific

practices of documentation when shifting crews to other work areas, are relatively consistent

with the findings that foremen are generally aware of the importance of their job records (see

Figure 36, page 70, and Figure 37, page 71).















(H= 117)


never rarely somletes usualy


Foremen's Responses I

Figure 41 How Often Foremen Keep Written Notes in the
Event They Have to Move Their Crews


never rely oaimmiee usually


Foremen's Responses


Figure 42 How Often Foremen Keep Records ofTime Spent
Remobilizing Their Crews


O.












Sources of Delay



Foremen were asked to rate their degree of access to the information they need to do

their jobs (see Figure 43). Most foremen (63.6%) answered that their access to information

is "good" or "excellent." On the quality scale shown, where "OK" = 3 and "good" = 4, the

mean response was 3.8.


terrible poor

Foremen's Responses


UK good


Figure 43 How Foremen Rate Their Access to Information
Needed to Do Their Jobs




Although foremen gave fairly positive responses to the general question about their

access to information, their responses were somewhat negative when asked more specific

questions. As shown (see Figure 44), 56.3% of the foremen either "agreed" or "strongly

agreed" that their production is often slowed down due to waiting for information needed to


(N=118)


f P-ilary










77

perform their work (see Table 14, page 181, for foremen's detailed responses regarding the

type of information for which they have to wait). It should be noted that many foremen

indicated that this "sometimes" happens, but since the question specifically asked if they are

"often" slowed down, these foremen answered in the "disagree" category. On the agreement

scale shown, where "no opinion"= 3 and "agree"= 4, the mean response to this question was

3.3.




50D
(N=119)

40. *
39O5

300 *





10 0


i oL
trngly disagee disagee no opi n agee strgly agee

Foremen's Responses

Figure 44 Whether Waiting for Information
Often Slows Production




Similarly, 42.0% of the foremen either "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that it is

difficult to get their questions answered (see Figure 45). Foremen who "agreed" or "strongly

agreed" that it was difficult to get their questions answered were also asked why it is

difficult. Common response categories were developed based on the answers received (see

















(N=119)

40. 412


30 0 32


20D






gu gy clisagee disagree noopnioin agee trglya e

Foremen's Responses

Figure 45 Whether Foremen Find it Difficult to Get
Their Questions Answered



Figure 46). As shown, 38.6% of theses foremen said that the people with the answers are

typically either overloaded with work or not available when needed; 34.1% said itis difficult

to get answers because there are so many layers of management; 11.4% blamed incompetent

architects, engineers, or managers in general; 4.5% said people are reluctant to give them

answers because they are afraid of taking responsibility for their decisions; 4.5 % said they

do not know why; and 6.8% gave other reasons.

Foremen were also asked what type of communication they use when asking their

questions. As shown (see Figure 47), 36.4% of the foremen only ask verbally, 20.3% only

ask in writing, and 43.2% ask either verbally or in writing, depending on the situation.
















(N=44)


n---m


00 "4 U


wf&:loadora ail. incopetence donthnow
layers ofmgt relctanceto decide

Foremen's Responses


Figure 46 Why Foremen Think it Is Difficult to Get
Their Questions Answered


(N=118)


vbal:,n only rittn olerbal writt.:fnn only

Foremen's Responses

Figure 47 How Foremen Ask Their Questions














When foremen were asked about their main sources) of delay, they gave eight basic

responses (see Table 3; refer also to Table 15, page 185, for foremen's detailed responses).

This question was open-ended, and the response categories were developed after all

interviews were completed. Most foremen cited two or three of the sources of delay listed.

The most common type of delay specified is unanswered questions, cited by 42.6% of the

foremen. Being delayed by other trades was also frequently (37.7%) cited by the foremen.

Incomplete or conflicting documents was cited by 31.0% of the foremen. Delays specifically

attributed to scheduling, coordination and communication problems was the fourth most

common source, cited by 28.7% of the foremen.


Table 3


Foremen's Main Sources of Delay


SOURCE OF DELAY CITED

Unanswered Questions

Other Trades

Incomplete or Conflicting Plans / Specifications

Scheduling, Coordination, and Communication

Changes to the Work

Material Delays

Weather

Manpower


PERCENT OF FOREMEN CITING

42.6

37.7

31.0

28.7

27.8

25.4

14.4

10.5









81

Other studies indicate similar findings regarding sources of delay. In a study by

Borcherding and Oglesby (1975), foremen cited not having engineering information,

materials and equipment as causes of delays and sources of dissatisfaction in their work.

Superintendents in that study specified a lack of necessary coordination by supervisors to

maintain the schedule. Borcherding and Garner (1981) listed material availability, crew

interfacing, overcrowding, and absenteeism as major problems affecting productivity. That

study also named communication breakdown, overcrowding, and lack of cooperation among

crafts as demotivating factors. Birrell's (1989) survey of construction executives noted

interference from other work crews as a common problem, and recommended improvement

of on-site communications in order to minimize interference between crews. Birrell (1989)

also named poor or changing design information as a major impediment to on site labor

flows. A study which surveyed project managers also found interference between trades to

be a frequent source of delay (Garcia, 1997). Other key sources of delay indicated in that

study are material delays and labor shortages. Both Birrell (1989) and Garcia (1997)

specified problems and delays involving information flow. The most prevalent cause of delay

noted in Garcia's (1997) study is lack of information. Birrell (1989) described incomplete

information, including slow responses to questions, as a major inhibitor of labor efficiency.

Garcia (1997) also found that delays due to lack of information correlated positively with a

lower degree of computer-aided planning. In other words, there were fewer delays due to a

lack of information when there was a higher degree of computer-aided planning.

Foremen were fairly positive regarding the willingness of management to listen to

their suggestions about how to improve work processes. As shown (see Figure 48), 69.5%










82

of the foremen said that management is "usually" or "always" willing to listen to their

suggestions. Some indicated that the willingness to listen does not necessarily mean that

management will act on their suggestions, but they still felt that their voices were being

heard.




50D.
(N=118) 475

40. *





20D *






never mrely somtkmes mually trwYS

Foremen's Responses

Figure 48 Whether Management Is Willing to Listen
to Foremen's Suggestions





Computers and Technology



A number of foremen (16.0%) reported that they already use computers to perform

some part of their jobs (see Figure 49). These foremen described using computers for the

following purposes: equipment testing, scheduling, safety records, daily reports, expense

reports, ordering materials, tracking production rates and other information about crews,










83

communicating via fax and email, operating building control systems, accessing installation

instructions, surveying, requests for information, pay requests, and accessing information on

project-based Web sites. Most of the foremen who already use computers for work reported

using desktop computers. Locations mentioned by foremen for their use of desktop

computers include in the job site trailer, back at the main office, or at home. Five foremen

had used or were using a laptop or handheld computing device in the field.


100.0


(N=119)


Foremen's Responses

Figure 49 Whether Foremen Use Computers to Perform
Any Part of Their Jobs


Computer use by foremen at their homes was much more prevalent. Approximately

half (50.4%) of the foremen reported that they use a computer at home (see Figure 50).

Results of this study indicate that foremen's home computer use may be influenced by their










84

children's use of computers, as 58.8% of the foremen reported that they have children using

computers in their homes.


60D


40JD


(N=119)


no yes

Foremen's Responses

Figure 50 Whether Foremen Use Computers at Home


The prevalence of video game use among foremen was measured since similarities

can be drawn between playing a video game and using a handheld computer. Regarding

whether or not foremen like to play video games (see Figure 51), answers were categorized

into negative, neutral and positive responses. Foremen's answers were split fairly evenly

between negative responses (47.9%) and positive responses (40.3%), with 11.8% neutral

responses. Foremen's use of electronic organizers was also measured, and 31.9% of the

sample reported that they use some type of electronic organizer.




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