Linear programming approach to optimize strategic investment in the construction workforce

Issam M. Srour*, Carl T. Haas, David P. Morton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The construction industry in the United States and other parts of the world has been facing several challenges, including a shortage of skilled workers. A review of the relevant body of knowledge indicates that one of the key reasons for this problem is the absence of human resource management strategies for construction workers at project, corporate, regional, or industry levels. This paper addresses the issues of workforce training and allocation on construction projects. It presents a framework to optimize the investment in, and to make the best use of, the available workforce with the intent to reduce project costs and improve schedule performance. A linear program model, entitled the Optimal Workforce Investment Model, is built to provide an optimization-based framework for matching supply and demand of construction labor most efficiently through training, recruitment, and allocation. Given a project schedule or demand profile and the available pool of workers, the suggested model provides human resource managers a combined strategy for training the available workers and hiring additional workers. The input data to the proposed model consists of a certain available labor pool, cost figures for training workers in different skills, the cost of hiring workers, hourly labor wages, and estimates of affinities between the different considered skills. The objective of the model is to minimize labor costs while satisfying project labor demands. Results from application of the model to typical situations are presented, and recommendations for future developments are made.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number002611QCO
Pages (from-to)1158-1166
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2006


  • Computer programming
  • Construction industry
  • Employees
  • Optimization
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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