Labor productivity, critically important to profitability in the construction, is one of the most frequently discussed topics in the industry, and yet at the same time, is one of the most poorly understood. A literature review was conducted with the aim to identify how labor productivity is studied in the construction industry and what methodological issues exist. The literature review also investigated leading studies in productivity factors in construction generally, and considerations of productivity in relation to the off-site construction (pre-fabrication) sector specifically. The paper outlines general approaches to studying labor productivity in the construction sector. The review found that productivity is usually discussed in the literature under at least three separate topics, namely, the delimitation of construction (what is the precise aspect of construction under investigation), the measurement of productivity (what inputs and outputs are considered), and the identification of the factors that explain productivity. The review found that three issues undermining investigations into productivity in the construction sector were lack of a uniform approach to studying productivity, neglect of relevant variables, and limited generalizability. From this finding, it is recommended that a multi-factor approach is used to analyze productivity in construction. Concerning productivity considerations in relation to the adoption of off-site production approaches to construction, the literature review found that opting to use prefabrication increased overall productivity, led to reduced crew sizes, reduced onsite congestion, reduced cycle time, reduced debris, reduced total structural cost, and improved constructability.
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