Assignment and allocation optimization of partially multiskilled workforce

Jorge E. Gomar*, Carl T. Haas, David P. Morton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Multiskilling is a workforce strategy that has been shown to reduce indirect labor costs, improve productivity, and reduce turnover. A multiskilled workforce is one in which the workers possess a range of skills that allow them to participate in more than one work process. In practice, they may work across craft boundaries. The success of multiskilling greatly relies on the foreman's ability to assign workers to appropriate tasks and to compose crews effectively. The foreman assigns tasks to workers according to their knowledge, capabilities, and experience on former projects. This research investigated the mechanics of allocating a multiskilled workforce and developed a linear programming model to help optimize the multiskilled workforce assignment and allocation process in a construction project, or between the projects of one company. It is concluded that the model will be most useful in conditions where full employment does not exist; however, it is also useful for short term allocation decisions. By running the model for various simulated scenarios, additional observations were made. For example, it is concluded that, for a capital project, the benefits of multiskilling are marginal beyond approximately a 20% concentration of multiskilled workers in a project workforce. Benefits to workers themselves become marginal after acquiring competency in two or three crafts. These observations have been confirmed by field experience. Extension of this model to allocation of multifunctional resources, such as construction equipment, should also be possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2002


  • Construction industry
  • Optimization
  • Personnel management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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