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Proposed Improvements to the MCAA Method for Quantifying Construction Loss of Productivity

  • Author(s): Sun, Xiaodan Sun
  • Advisor(s): Ibbs, William
  • et al.
Abstract

Project changes are often encountered in construction industry and can hurt labor productivity, which in turn can jeopardize project success for all parties. Contractors and owners frequently fail to agree on the merit, responsibility and impact of changes at the time of their occurrence. This failure to agree becomes a major source of claims and litigation.

There are several ways to calculate productivity loss caused by changes. One method to quantify loss of productivity is the MCAA (Mechanical Contractors Association of America) Factor method. The MCAA method has been in use for over forty years, and has gained wide acceptance in the construction industry and before various Courts and Boards of contract appeals. But the model has been rejected in several recent claims. Some researchers commented that this method has several deficiencies that limited its use.

This dissertation aims to make improvements to the existing MCAA model. We document the MCAA model’s history, identify typical mistakes made in its application, and compare it with other studies and previous legal case decisions. Suggested improvements to the model are then offered.

First, based on the observations and analysis of this dissertation, we recommend the following when using the MCAA model: 1) Establish causation for EACH Factor and explain clearly when, where, who, and how productivity was affected; 2) Use fewer Factors rather than more Factors; and 3) Do not blindly rely on the Loss of Productivity (LOP) damage percentages contained in the MCAA manual.

Secondly, this research proposes structural improvements on the MCAA model for its use in a LOP claim: 1) suggested use of a cause-effect visualization tool to establish causation; 2) improved definitions by explaining what each Factor means and how that Factor hinders labors productivity; and 3) suggestions for quantification of LOP impact for each Factor.

Finally, this dissertation proposes procedures and guidelines to use the MCAA method in LOP analysis.

This dissertation will help parties (both the contractor and the owner) better understand the MCAA method in estimating productivity loss so that the measure of the loss of productivity can be less subjective and more transparent. With the improvements provided in this dissertation, LOP can be better quantified and LOP disputes can be solved more quickly and reasonably.

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