This paper was first published in the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, Vol. 21, 1994 pp 939-953, under the title "A Pragmatic Approach to Using Resource Loading, Production and Learning Curves on Construction Projects". It has been modified only to the extent necessary to make it presentable in web page format.

Published here October, 2001.

Abstract | Introduction | Resource Loading | S-curves | What can be Learned?
Productivity Improvement | Learning vs. Experience | Original Theory | Two Approaches
Illustration | Issues | Conclusions | References | Appendix 1 | Appendix 2 


The purpose of this paper is to present some rules of thumb based on experience for the early planning of new civil and building construction work. In such construction, resource input (men, materials, equipment, etc.) is varied according to the planned timing and availability of the work. On a well-run site, this resource loading as well as its consequent output follows a distinctive pattern within relatively narrow limits for the whole of the job. Practical considerations why this should be so are presented.

Based on experience, this paper suggests first approximation profiles for both typical resource loading and progress S-curves, and shows that the difference could be due to the effects of learning. The basis for calculating the shape of the learning curve and how the application of this concept is limited on a construction site are described. The manner in which an alternative learning curve calculation can be more useful in tracking progress is demonstrated. The significance of these profiles and their relationships for improved planning and tracking of new construction work is suggested. An example of the output from a less-well managed project as compared to the planned S-curve is also included.

Keywords: learning curve, productivity improvement, progress/production curve, resource loading.


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