Why Daily Reports Are a Must for Assessing Productivity Rates on Construction Projects?

One of the key challenges that faces contractors and other organizations who are responsible for delivering projects is how to determine the actual resource productivity rates. Using time attendance systems including timesheets, RIFD and other advanced technologies are good for assessing the actual total resource hours spent on the project but they all fall short from accessing the actual resource hours spent against completing specific project scope elements which is needed for assessing the actual resources productivity rates.

Daily Reports which is a must requirement on all construction projects can provide a quick and robust solution for this challenge. Along with adopting professional project management practices and using applications like Oracle Primavera P6 and PMWeb PMIS, organizations can implement effective project control system that address the resources productivity analysis and reporting needs.

Defining the Control Accounts Needed to Deliver the Project Scope of Work

For a construction project and prior for developing the cost estimate and project plan, the project scope of work needs to be well defined using the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). In addition, the responsibility for delivering this scope needs also to be determined using the Organization Breakdown Structure (OBS). The intersection of the WBS and OBS will identify the control accounts for which the project’s resources, cost and schedule will be estimated, planned, monitored and controlled.

The control accounts are usually the cost accounts that will be used across the project to have a common definition of the level of control to be performed on the project. The cost account will consist of multiple levels to map the level of detail the organizations wants to have their projects controlled at. In addition, the cost account number will be the same cost account number will be used in Oracle Primavera P6, PMWeb PMIS and other applications used by the organization in controlling project’s resources and expenses.

Planning the Resource Hours Needed to Deliver the Project Scope of Work

It is very common in construction projects to have the planned resource usage for delivering the project done in Oracle Primavera P6 where the schedule activities will be loaded by the labor and non-labor resources needed to deliver each activity. Usually, the resource loaded schedule will be created from the cost estimate where the project work quantities, productivity rates and required resources will be estimated.

Oracle Primavera P6 will be used to create the estimated resources report which will include the following fields:

·        Cost Control Account

·        Schedule Activities included within each cost control account

·        Resources Assigned to Each Schedule Activity

·        Planned Resource Hours Estimated for Each Activity

Capturing the Estimated Resource Hours

The Oracle Primavera P6 estimated resources report will be saved as a MS Excel file and then imported to PMWeb Estimate template where it will be saved as the Baseline Estimated Resource Hours. It is recommended to attach the detailed resources report and other schedule layouts and reports, in PDF file format to the Estimate template. The template will have a pre-defined workflow that will map the steps for reviewing and approving the project’s estimated resource hours. Should there is a need to have an updated version of the estimated resource hours, then the process will be repeated to ensure that all versions are maintained and can be tracked and reported on.

Capturing Actual Resource Hours Used to Deliver the Project Scope of Work

The Daily report is a formal project document used to capture the details of completed work in place and the resources used in completing this work. It is formal because all construction contract agreements require the contractor to submit the daily report to document the work accomplished, events occurred and other details on what has occurred during that particular day. The contractor should itemize the completed work for each particular day to the level that will enable the contractor to make full use of this data to report actual progress, assess productivity rates and provide support when there is a dispute on what work was done on a particular date.

For the reported completed work on each particular day, PMWeb daily report module allows the contractor to capture the location of the work done using the Location Breakdown Structure, Company who did this work, description of work done, quantity and unit of measure for completed work and the relevant cost control code for that work. Again, those are the same cost account codes used in Oracle Primavera P6.

PMWeb daily report module also allows capturing the actual resources, labor and non-labor, hours that were used to accomplish the reported work in place. For each resource entry, the daily report will capture the schedule activity that those resource hours were spent against, the cost control account associated with resources, the achieved activity % complete and the actual resource quantity spent on that date. For the resource hours, PMWeb daily report allows capturing when the resource started and finished working, total hours and whether those hours were normal pay, overtime or weekend pay. In Summary, PMWeb Daily Report module will be used to capture the actual resources hours spent at each control account which is also known as Actual Quantity or Actual Quantity for Work Performed.

Similar to other document templates in PMWeb, a workflow will be created for the daily report to ensure that it is formally submitted by the project team member who was assigned to prepare the daily report. The daily report will be forwarded to those team members who are responsible for reviewing and approving the content of the daily report before it is transmitted to the project owner’s authorized agent.

Of course, the PMWeb daily report is not limited for capturing the completed work and actual resource hours spent, but also include all other requirements of a daily report such as weather conditions, progress photographs which can be attached to reported completed work, checklists to confirm quality of delivered work among others. The daily report output format can be designed in any desired format to meet the project’s daily report reporting requirements.

Nevertheless, the most important aspect of the daily report is that it is a formal project document that needs to be transmitted on daily basis to the project owner’s authorized agent. A PMWeb Transmittal will be generated from the daily report to ensure that it complies with the project’s communication requirement in terms who need to review and approve the report.

The importance of being a formal project document is that the same work in place and resource hours spent used in assessing the productivity rates will also be the same data to be used by the contractor in case there is a claim for disruption, lost efficiency among other claim headings that require assessment of actual resources hours spent on completing specific scope of work.

Why Using Daily Reports to Capture Actual Resource Hours and Not Timesheets

Although PMWeb Timesheet module allows capturing the actual hours spent by each resource against each cost account and schedule activity similar to what was captured in the PMWeb Daily Report module, nevertheless it lacks capturing the details of what work was accomplished during each specific day of the week. In addition, it is not a formal project document like the daily report where the contractor needs to submit to the project owner’s representative on daily basis. The hours captured in the timesheet could be good for payroll purposes or when reporting engineering tasks rather than construction tasks but for sure not for measuring resources productivity rates on a construction site.

Nevertheless, the resource hours captured in the Timesheet module could be of great value to assess the resources efficiency rate which is unlike the resource productivity rate, its purpose is to determine the total hours charged by each resource as reported by the Timesheet against the total actual hours spent by each resource in performing specific work as reported by the Daily Report.

Assessing and Reporting Resources Productivity and Efficiency Rates

The resources productivity and efficiency analysis will use the data captured in the Estimated Resource Hours module and the Daily Report module. A combined tabular report will be produced that will have the following fields:

·        Project. This is the project reference for which the reported resources data is presented.

·        Cost Account. This is the cost account used in the Estimated Resource Hours and Daily Report Modules of PMWeb as well as all other modules. It is also the same cost account number used in Oracle Primavera P6. It is a recommended best practice the projects across the organization use the same cost account number reference.

·        Task. Those are the tasks that are part of every cost account.

·        Resource. Those are the resources needed to perform each activity. It is a recommended best practice the projects across the organization use the same resources reference.

·        Budget At Completion (BAC) Hours. Those are the estimated hours for each resource to complete the activity scope of work.

·        % Complete. This is the activity % Complete as reported by the updated schedule at the end of the reported period which is usually the same as the monthly financial periods.

·        Earned Resource Hours. This represents the resource hours that should have been spent based on the reported % Complete. It is calculated by multiplying the Budget At Completion (BAC) Hours by the % Complete.

·        Actual Hours. For each task within a resource, there will be the actual resource hours spent to complete the scope of work as reported by the daily report.

·        Spent Hours. For each task within a resource, there will be the actual resource hours charged as reported by the timesheet or any other time attendance system.

·        Variance Production which will be the difference between the Earned Resource Hours and Actual Hours.

·        Variance Spent which will be the difference between the Actual Hours and Spent Hours.

·        Resource Productivity Index which will be the Earned Resource Hours divided by the Actual Hours spent in completing the same activity.

·        Resource Efficiency Index which will be the Actual Hours divided the Spent Hours.

·        Period and Year for which the reported resources data is reported at.

This report is a standard report across all projects being executed by the organization. Data can be selected for a single project or for a group of projects or all projects. The reported can be filtered by period, cost account and resource reference. It is recommended to limit using the Task filter till after a project is selected as task or activity numbers would vary from one project to another.

The same reported data can be also displayed in different graphical formats to make it easy to identify variances at project, cost account, resource and even task level. In addition, graphical reports can be created to display the variance and efficiency trends during the project duration as the data is captured at each period of the project duration. This analysis can be also done across multiple projects.

In conclusion, contractors and similar to other organizations who are involved in delivering construction projects are always faced with the challenge of having reliable resources productivity that will help them not only in coming up with better project cost estimates but also to reward productive resources. Daily Reports which are a contractual obligation to use and maintain on construction projects, can prove an effective solution to overcome those challenges.