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Construction Productivity and Cost Management

206 Construction Productivity and 
Cost Management  
Class Syllabus


It is every supervisors goal to complete their project on budget and within the estimated costs.  This course is intended to teach the skills necessary for effective control of construction costs at the job site. 

We will study construction cost and apply principles and practices associated with cost awareness and production control to each element of the project.  Cost control begins with the estimate and then continues through work and cost analysis, production scheduling, reporting, production control and ends with project evaluation.  The information will be studied by solving common construction problems, the consideration of case studies and discussion of common cost control issues.  


Learning Objectives:

By the end of this class you should:

  1. Understand the estimating and quantity take-off process and how they are associated with construction cost control.
  2. Be familiar with the content of a typical construction estimate.

  3. Be able to evaluate subcontractors and participate in the subcontractor selection process.

  4. Know who has responsibilities for cost control and understand the risks associated with construction contracting. 

  5. Learn how to increase productivity by using labor and equipment efficiently.

  6. Understand the general relationship among project estimating, productivity planning, measurement, project planning, scheduling and project control.

  7. Gain additional insight into the process of planning labor crews and preparing for labor costs.

  8. Know how to identify labor cost problems and solve the problems using project cost data.

  9. Learn several techniques for managing subcontractors at the job site.

  10. Learn strategies for using cost control data to influence the work and minimize negative cost impacts.

  11. Understand how to the evaluate project after completion and determine strategies for future projects.

  12. Know how to participate in a project de-briefing and understand the value associated with de-briefing.


Class Organization and Grading

The following table lists the learning modules, the maximum value in points a student can receive within each module, and the time in which the modules must be finished.  Each week you will have online class discussions (15 points) and a quiz (10 points). 


Point Value By End of Week
0. Student Orientation 0 Before start
1. Introduction to Productivity Improvement and Cost Management 25 1
2. Construction Estimates, Planning and Scheduling 25 2
3. Cost Responsibility 25 3
4. Reporting and Analyzing Actual Costs 25 4
5.Planning for Cost Control 25 5
6.Cost Control Strategies 25 6
7.The Cost of Lost Labor 25 7
8. Improving Productivity with Equipment Management 25 8
9. Enhancing Productivity With Project Partners 25 9
10.Post-Project Evaluations 25 10
Total Points


It is important that the student keep up with the class and not fall behind.   Course modules will be made available to students on Sunday of each week.  Class work must be completed before the following Monday.  Students will not be able to work ahead of the class although reading assignments will be made available in advance.   


Grading Policies

Graded assignments will consist of one quiz for each module and participation in at least two class discussions.  Students should provide at least 3 contributions to the class discussions each week to gain the maximum points. Students learn more and learn better when they discuss the topic at hand.  For that reason, I consider the regular weekly discussions to be even more important than the weekly quizzes.

Grades will be posted on a weekly basis.  You will have full access to your grade sheet so you will be able to keep track of how you are doing at all times.

Your overall grade in the course will be determined by the total number of points you have accumulated on quizzes and assignments.   The grading scale is as follows:

  • A  225 to 250 points

  • B  200 to 224 points

  • C  175 to 199 points

  • D 140 to 174 points

  • Anything less will be considered an F or an unauthorized withdrawal from the course.

You will be given more information about the grading and other course matters in the Orientation Module.


The Textbook

The textbook for this class is Unit 5, Improving Productivity and Managing Project Costs Participants Manual

Textbook ordering information can be found at this link.

The cost of each textbook is approximately $50.  


Reading Ahead

This table details the reading assignments for the entire course.  This will give you opportunity to read ahead and get a jump on upcoming modules.


Reading Assignment Start Date
0. Student Orientation None Optional/ Week 1
1. Introduction to Productivity Improvement and Cost Management Read Unit 1 Week 1
2. Construction Estimates, Planning and Scheduling Read Unit 2, Week 2
3. Cost Responsibility Read Unit 3 Week 3
4. Reporting and Analyzing Actual Costs Read Unit 4 Week 4
5.Planning for Cost Control Read Unit 5 Week 5
6.Cost Control Strategies Read Unit 6 Week 6
7.The Cost of Lost Labor Read Unit 7 Week 7
8.Managing Risk and Loss Potential Read Unit 8 Week 8
9. Enhancing Productivity With Project Partners Read Unit 9 Week 9
10. Post-Project Evaluation Read Unit 10 Week 10


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