Home Innovation Insights

Ed Hudson, MBA
February 28, 2020

PROVE IT! Time & Motion Studies of Building Product Installations

You know your product addresses the growing construction labor shortage, but your claims are falling on the deaf ears of skeptical potential buyers. They’ve heard that claim before and want someone to provide verification that it really works. Unfortunately, for manufacturers who have developed truly improved products, there are few standard test methods to empirically validate benefits like these.

Home Innovation Research Labs has a unique observational research facility specifically designed for evaluating product installation. We help manufacturers by reviewing the desired marketing claims, designing the appropriate evaluation method, conducting the evaluation, and issuing a proprietary report that summarizes the findings. A typical study involves hiring construction professionals or do-it-yourselfers to install product on a life-size structure (like the two-story home currently in our lab, shown below) or use tools and equipment under realistic jobsite conditions and scenarios. The entire process happens in our controlled laboratory where research sponsors can observe first-hand from a comfortable, private observation gallery. We video record the installations so the sponsor can share the experience with other team members and possibly for use in future marketing or instructional segments.

Two-Story House in Home Innovation's Lab Facility

One recent example is work we did for Georgia-Pacific. The company approached Home Innovation to verify installation time of its new Dens Element system. As a result of our time and motion study, they were not only able to prove quicker installation time, but they also got crucial user feedback to help them refine the application method and marketing messages prior to product launch. You can check out a summary video of the study and findings on their YouTube channel.

But our time and motion studies are certainly not just limited to Exterior Gypsum Sheathing. We’ve conducted time and motion studies on a wide range of products and materials. Some of the non-proprietary reports available include:

Our Process

Time and Motion Methodology. Home Innovation uses Group Timing Technique (GTT) for most time studies. This method measures work crew activities that are non-repetitive in nature, such as the installation of building materials. GTT allows an observer to record the installation time of an entire work crew, distinguishing between productive and non-productive time and the specific details of work activities. GTT is a fixed-interval work sampling procedure based on probability sampling theory – its data gathering and analysis apply principles of sample statistics. Typically, 10 to 20 discrete activities (or groups of activities) are tracked in a study of this type.

Study Mockups. Home Innovation constructs life-sized structures in our lab to serve as the basis for conducting a time study. Realism is key – the structure should reflect typical construction style and practice to make the installation identical to a typical jobsite installation. This includes details such as the materials used, the size and height of structure, the number of doors and windows, inside and outside corners, pitch and shape of roof, and many other factors. Our existing 2-story home can be modified/mocked up for the installation if it suits client needs.

Selection of Installation Crew. Selecting a reliable, skilled crew with the correct crew member composition is a crucial aspect of an effective time and motion study. Working with each client, Home Innovation considers which qualifications are needed for the study. Specific experience, time working together as a crew, types of tools and safety equipment, communications skills, and other qualifications are typically considered.

Data Gathering. Home Innovation works with each client to establish the specific activities to be tracked in the time study. Typically, up to 12 activities (or groups of activities) can be tracked in a study of this scale, such as layout/planning, measuring, supplying materials, cutting, positioning, fastening, or others that are relevant to the study objectives. A Home Innovation research analyst collects readings of all crew members, usually at 30-second or 1-minute intervals.

A/V Recording. Home Innovation supplies at least 3 fixed position cameras to capture video of the entire installation process. Our clients very often use the video gathered for side-by-side comparison of installation times. Sometimes, clients also choose to supply their own camera crew to obtain high quality video for future promotions and/or training.

Analysis & Reporting. After completion of the installations, Home Innovation compiles and analyzes the time study data and drafts a presentation-style report that summarizes the findings, including a description of the study design, process, analysis with summary tables, comparisons, and extrapolation of the findings to a common industry-recognized metric so that the findings can be applied to construction projects.

If your product could do with some real-world verification of its marketable features and benefits, get in touch. We’d love to put your product to the test in our space and help you prove your claims.

Back to Top

Filed Under:

Add your Comment

All fields marked with * are required