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Benchmarking of construction efficiency in the EU Member States (Pilot Study)

This pilot study investigates the factors influencing the relative resource usage in construction industries, with particular reference to national framework conditions. The focus is on identifying the different resource factors and their relative importance as a basis for more detailed future analysis of these differences.

The contract to carry out the pilot study was awarded to:

Bernard Williams Associates
Kings House
32-40 Widmore Road
Bromley, Kent BR1 1RY
United Kingdom

The contractor critically reviewed existing comparative studies on the performance of EU construction industries and developed a method to explain differences and relative efficiencies, using information supplied by private and public stakeholders in the construction sector.

A prototype model was developed based on two types of indicators: (a) the perception of the impact of key factors on the resource usage, and (b) the total labour input in the project costs (on- and off-site workers) for various sub-sectors. The labour input index takes into account the costs of off-site production of pre-fabricated components and therefore the level of industrialisation of the construction process at national level.

The analysis demonstrates a close correlation between the two indicators and also that the better-performing countries are often those benefiting from most or all of the following factors:

  • an extensive industrialisation of the construction process;
  • total or partial delegation of detailed design to the contractor (or, as in Germany, to a highly trained professional construction engineer);
  • a well-paid, well-trained, motivated workforce;
  • a limited use of sub-contracting;
  • well-developed, lean construction management;
  • a single point of responsibility for design and construction.

The Commission organised on 16 January 2006 a one-day evaluation and validation workshop to present the draft results of the pilot study and to ask for the views of stakeholders on the practical uses of the pilot study's conclusions. The final report was finalised in March 2006.

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