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Laing O'Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology

Procurement and Productivity

Measuring performance: one of the greatest challenges faced by the construction sector

Impact for the industry

  • A Performance Measurement Framework was developed and tested using real data from major UK construction projects
  • The Performance Measurement Framework can support the establishment of project performance evidence in a consistent way within and between organisations
  • The knowledge of current performance can provide enhanced insights into what is going on in the field, identify process waste, and lead to interventions to dramatically improve programmes, efficiency, and carbon utilisation
  • Project performance data can be used as a basis to set national and international benchmarks for both building and infrastructure projects

It is well known that the construction industry has struggled to measure performance improvement despite the increased adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and off-site construction. The CIRIA C792 report “Methodology for quantifying the benefits of off-site construction" has been the first major attempt to investigate the benefits of off-site construction. However, the report revealed that performance data is inconsistent within and between construction organisations and/or data is simply unavailable. As such, there is little clarity on the boundaries of the data needed for meaningful collection and analysis. Therefore, there is a need to clarify what, how and why to measure project performance. This foundational work will set a basis for meaningful micro and macro performance assessment efforts.

From performance data to decisions

The availability of a consistent dataset of performance data within and between organisations can be a valuable enabler for identifying areas for performance improvement, as well as national and international benchmarking. Even though many progress monitoring technologies have been deployed in the industry, transformational performance can only be achieved when decision-makers understand what is happening in the field, evaluate performance against benchmarks, and formulate strategies to radically transform their operations. The use of digital technologies will not be meaningful until data is collected and performance is measured consistently to support project success.

The project

A multidisciplinary group of researchers at the Laing O’Rourke Centre are working closely with industry partners aiming to develop new and improved methods for measuring the performance of major building and infrastructure projects. The objectives of this project are:

  • Develop a Performance Measurement Framework with appropriate indicators for defining outcomes and value
  • Develop a Digital Dashboard to visualise data and support enhanced insights and timely decision-making
  • Develop a Digital Twin Construction ecosystem for collecting, interpreting, and visualising construction data
  • Use large construction datasets to set up industry benchmarks, identify patterns in data and simulate and predict future scenarios.

Early Outcomes 

This project supports and works closely with the Construction Productivity Taskforce. The work is being presented to multiple key stakeholders, including developers, consultants, and Tier 1 and Tier 2  contractors, and has driven further engagement from the industry to trial the new methods on new live projects. The early results have identified two key metrics that simultaneously measure the speed of construction operations and the efficiency of labour utilisation. Moreover, the data has been presented using flowlines to visualise process waste and identify areas for improvement. The research team has provided feedback on the Taskforce’s guide entitled “Measuring Construction Site Productivity: A Seven-step Framework for Success” based on the preliminary findings. The work has been presented at academic conferences such as the CIB W78 conference in Melbourne, Australia, in June 2022 and the 31st Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction in Lille, France, in June 2023. 


Selected publications

  • Rathnayake, A., & Middleton, C. (2023). Systematic Review of the Literature on Construction Productivity. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 149(6), 03123005,
  • Murguia, D., Rathnayake, A. & Middleton, C. (2023). Master Schedule Optimisation with the Use of Flowlines and Performance Data. In: 31st Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Lille, France, 1463-1474,
  • Rathnayake, A., Murguia, D. & Middleton, C. (2023). Analysing the Impact of Construction Flow on Productivity. In: 31st Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Lille, France, 1510-1521,
  • Murguia, D., Chen, Q., Jansen van Vuuren, T. Rathnayake, A., Vilde, V., and Middleton, C. (2022). Digital Measurement of Construction Performance: Data-to-dashboard strategy. IOP Conference Series: Earth Environmental Science, 1101, 092009,
  • Jansen van Vuuren, T, Middleton, C (2020) Methodology for quantifying the benefits of offsite construction, C792, CIRIA, London, UK (ISBN: 978-0-86017-897-2)

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Professor Campbell Middleton

Director, Laing O'Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering & Technology

Dr Danny Murguia

Senior Research Associate


Dr Ashan Asmone

Research Associate

Asitha Rathnayake

Asitha Rathnayake

PhD student