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Pay Construction Workers Per Job, Not Per Hour

Encourages quicker completion of road construction projects.
  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
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The main road on the 10-mile stretch from my home to my job has been torn apart due to road re-construction pretty much all year and is still nowhere near completion. Roads are currently arranged into tighter, zigzagging lanes. There is even a section of formerly 2-lane road which is now a single-lane road. Believe it or not, a couple of traffic lights were installed at each end of the project area to let cars know when it's their turn to use the single lane. Meanwhile, this progress on the project seems to be going along at an almost imperceptible rate.

I think if road construction workers were paid a lump sum per job (like independent contractors), that they would be encouraged to get roads repaired/replaced quickly, so that they can move on to the next project and make more money in a smaller amount of time. I believe workers are currently paid by the hour, (correct me if I'm wrong, please) which can encourage lackadaisical work ethics, despite the many drivers who are affected.

I imagine each road construction project is discussed thoroughly in local governmental forums before any action takes place. A budget is also determined for all estimated costs, including materials, equipment, and labor. A rough estimate of the time period is also determined before beginning the project. From past projects, costs should be able to be determined more accurately, (especially once this new labor pay system is put into place).

A total budget should include an agreed-upon amount of money allocated for a reasonable amount of money to pay workers for the project in a lump sum. This is after determining the number of workers that should be involved to get the project completed in estimated amount of time. Once all the figures are in, the salaries are calculated per worker and distributed at a weekly rate or whatever period during the project. The total amount should not be paid out to workers, however, until all the work is completed.

Now, I know some of you may have worked on roads or done some construction work. I am not accusing all workers of being lazy or anything like that, but I think this might be a better motivator to get things done more efficiently.

I also want to say that I have the utmost respect for the skilled laborers who are outside, making the public roads safer for all of us.

XSarenkaX, Nov 01 2002


       I think it's out of order.   

       Well hey, I'm really sorry.
sild, Nov 01 2002

       "The total amount should not be paid out to workers, however, until all the work is completed." - that alone makes this *completely* unworkable. (Could *you* as an individual take on a medium to long-term project where you didn't get a dime until it was completed?)
DrCurry, Nov 01 2002

       [waugs]: I don't, but it couldn't hurt to try to improve things, right?   

       [DrCurry]: Please read carefully. All I meant by that statement was that the final payment would not be paid out until completion of the project. I mentioned some sort of pay schedule during the project.
XSarenkaX, Nov 01 2002

       While most construction workers are paid on an hourly basis, most construction projects involve penalty payments for late delivery, a strong and immediate incentive on the construction company to make sure its workers are not slacking off.   

       From personal experience, the actual incentive of most hourly wage union laborers is to make sure as much as possible gets done on overtime.   

       If your area is anything like mine, then what you're looking at is probably a government job of some kind, and for some reason, we do not seem have similar penalty clauses for our governments.
DrCurry, Nov 01 2002

       Therein lies the problem.
XSarenkaX, Nov 01 2002

       My brother worked for our area's natural gas utility for a time in college, and he clued me in to one reason why these projects often seem to drag on. Utilities with underground pipes want to avoid cutting the pavement and blocking traffic, because its just as much of a pain for them as it is for us. So sometimes minor maintenance or upgrades on lines are delayed.   

       When it happens that a road widening project comes along, these same utilities will jump into action. While they have the road cut up, why not replace the lines underneath and save some paving effort? The extra coordination between these various involved bodies (DOT, gas utility, electric utility, phone companies, etc) often causes the project to take longer.   

       I would also point out that there are some aspects of road construction that cannot be hurried. You cannot magically make concrete set faster. And if you don't let it set, it is going to crack as soon as you apply a load.   

       Overall though, I think you have a laudable goal.
krelnik, Nov 01 2002

       The last time they were refurbishing the Williamsburg Bridge (or maybe it's still this time; seems perpetual), the city awarded the contractor a substantial bonus based on the number of days under the deadline it took to complete the project. To my mind, this type of incentive, along with the present idea, perhaps encourages the contrctor to cut corners and simply get the job finished regardless of safety or long - term value. Thus, I must 'bone the idea, good as its intentions are.
snarfyguy, Nov 01 2002

       I'd like to see the entire process automated. One big machine per lane, linked in parallel to knock out as many lanes as is necessary. A human touch might be required to monitor progress, clean debris and finish off the project, but otherwise the machine could run 24 hours a day (weather permitting). And it would be fun to watch the machine's progress from day to day.
phoenix, Nov 01 2002

       [snarfyguy]: I worried, too, about cutting corners and such, but I imagine that strict standards are kept and inspections by experts are common. Is there any evidence that the Williamsburg Bridge project was not done properly?
XSarenkaX, Nov 01 2002

       Not to my knowledge [XSX], but if the project wasn't done properly, such evidence may not be immediately noticeable.   

       If something's built to last 30 years, but falls down in fifteen, there may not be anyone around to complain to.
snarfyguy, Nov 01 2002

       Well, how about if the inspectors are hired using the project funding, to ensure the best possible quality of work is done?
XSarenkaX, Nov 01 2002

       Worked on a job once where *all* production was tied to a weekly bonus. Most weeks it came to around $30.00. Depending on your position you were credited anywhere from 1 to 5 times the bonus. My crew got 3 times. Guys were given two weeks to get with the program, and if not, they were fired. Back when ninety bucks a week meant really meant something. I should note that this was a Government job, cost plus 10%, meaning whatever it cost the contractor, tack on that 10% for profit. Uncle Sam decided Molybedum was a strategic resource and was willing to pay a premium to secure another domestic source. The project was so overbuilt that it is studied in some colleges, on how not to build.
ty6, Nov 01 2002

       [UnaBubba]: But what is your opinion of the actual idea?
XSarenkaX, Nov 04 2002

       I like it. Barring certain safety concerns in certain jobs, all work should be like that: you are set a task and an absolute deadline -- because job completion can't wait forever -- and you finish as quickly as you can, thereby paying yourself a higher rate per hour.   

       Just make sure quality and safety inspectors are paid not for speed, but a base rate plus a bonus for each infraction they discover.
horripilation, Nov 04 2002

       [horripilation]: I think having inspectors paid that way would work nicely.
XSarenkaX, Nov 04 2002

       How can a budget be determined AFTER a project? The funds are needed before starting, to see if it is affordable in the first place.
XSarenkaX, Nov 04 2002

       When in Las Vegas, watch the road crew - they move like a well-orchestrated blur, not a crawl like on the rest of the planet.
thumbwax, Nov 04 2002

       Yes, I was reading throught the annos when I saw UnaBubbas gospel. I work for a contractor (coordinator, not an outside man), and lots of contracts now days for municipalities in my area (Jacksonville, FL) do not include bonuses for early completion. The money is just not there for giving the contractor any more, even though were supposed to be on the bottom line (from bidding). So any money that we must make has to be made up in change orders to the contract, to get money for increases in cost and time in the contract. They still keep the liquidated damages clause in there though :), but as stated before, the actual workers do not determine how fast the project goes, they want to leave there as soon as possible and get to the next job. I have roofers getting paid over $25 an hour, and they are wanting to get off of this damn job because the hassle of dealing with a government schedule, and payroll (most roofers are paid off the books, sans taxes). Until municipalities can get more cash available to pay bonuses, the work will go just as slow.
DemolitionMan, Mar 01 2003

       The idea reminded me of, and indeed, follows the lead of one of the most distinct Islamic forms of Ijarrah (Hiring)
Ajir means woiker, employee
Musta'jir means Ajir - employer
Mushtarak means joint.
Contextually, it refers to an employee whose services is not confined to one person only, but serves many people at one time, for example, a lawyer, taxi driver, tailor, etc.
1. Position: An Ajir-e-Mushtarak is an Ameen (entrusted person) with Zamaanat (liability). If any item in his custody gets lost or destroyed, he will be responsible.
2. An Ajir-e-Mushtarak is entitled to his payment once his woik has been completed. Before the woik is finished, he is not entitled to payment. For example, someone gives a watch for repair, or a tailor clothes to sew. Then, until the woik is completed, the Ajir does not legally have the right to ask for payment. The person giving the order may give some amount if he wishes. However, if urgent woik is wanted, or material has to be purchased, then some payment can be demanded in advance.
3. Payment - If any person woiks on a monthly basis, then he may not ask for his salary before the end of the month.
4. Time limit - If a Ajir Mushtarak specifies a time by which he will have the woik completed, then he is not obliged to bind himself to this time because legally he is bound on the basis of woik and not time. However, morally he should not break his promise. But if he has taken extra payment in return for doing the woik quickly, then he is obliged to complete the woik on time.
5. Withhold - Until such time as an Ajir Mushtarak has been paid, he is entitled to keep back the article that is with him. If during the time he is keeping it back it becomes damaged, or is lost then he is not responsible for it, because it is the Musta'jir or customer's mistake that he did not come and pay, and the Ajir was compelled to resort to keeping back his goods. This is the view of Imaam Maalik (RA) and the other two Imaams. But the view of Imaam Abu Hanifa (RA) distinguishes between two categories. One is that woik which changes the material or goods that are with him - for example, a tailor who cuts and sews cloth and sews the material, or a dyer who alters the colour of cloth. The tailor and dyer have the right to hold back the clients items until the customer pays.
This was cut/pasted rather than linked, as it's located be/'neath/'tween/'hind a bunch of other Islamic hiring laws elsewhere. I corrected the spelling of woik my elf.
thumbwax, Mar 01 2003


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