Benchmarking and Control Indicators for Electrical Substation Projects
Nettesheim, Justin R.
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It is estimated that over the next two decades nearly $880 billion will be spent to build and upgrade high-voltage and distribution electrical facilities, such as substations and power lines. A major contributor to this cost can be attributed to the industry’s large construction labor component, which can account for more than half of total expenditures. One way to improve labor cost efficiency is by establishing productivity benchmarking and control indicators for project performance. However, despite the size of this industry, there is general lack of published literature regarding labor control mechanisms in relation to constructing substation and transmission line projects. This paper establishes typical benchmark indicators by using comprehensive data tracked daily or weekly for 14 well-executed high-voltage electrical substation projects. The input data collected was limited to projects completed for owner in the upper Midwest by two different construction contractors. The data analysis from these inputs yielded initial manpower loading curves and S-curves trends for the typical labor associated with abovegrade substation construction. In addition, the paper provides a percent breakdown of the typical labor hours per above-grade activity. The paper also provides practitioners with practical input for managing substation construction projects by providing examples of Work Breakdown Structure, timesheets, and productivity tracking. The typical benchmarking and control indicators presented in this paper are expected to aid substation practitioners better plan and track labor performance, and also provide a framework for future research into benchmarking and control indicators in this industry sector.