Article Date: 07/12/2013

Expert Suggests Ways to Avoid ‘Pitfalls’ When Implementing the Measured Mile Method

By Steve Rizer


“Of course, you’re going to get inappropriate productivity measurements. That’s a fact. You’ve really got to look at what you’re doing. If you take away one thing [from this presentation], once you do all of the calculations, I really advise you to step back and look at the results of what you’ve done and determine whether or not it really makes sense.” This is one of the key points that Delta Consulting Group co-founder J. Mark Dungan made when, during a presentation he delivered at AACE (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering) International Inc.’s annual meeting last week in Washington, D.C., he outlined the pitfalls that can arise in implementing the Measured Mile method.


The Measured Mile method is a widely accepted, popular approach for quantifying lost labor productivity. The original Measured Mile method compares identical activities between unimpacted and impacted sections of a project. Dungan used a “broad meaning” of the Measured Mile method for the purposes of his presentation. 


In addition to the problem of “inappropriate productivity measurements,” another pitfall of the Measured Mile approach involves “incomparable or dissimilar items,” Dungan said. He stressed that “it’s very important” to compare similar types of work when performing such an analysis. “That’s a key fundamental to the principle of the Measured Mile methodology because as you move away, as you start to commingle work or group work [together], and that work is not necessarily similar, it’s going to make you vulnerable to [a] challenge. So, it’s very, very important that you’re comparing the same types of work, and you may find that you have to do several different methodologies, Measured Mile studies, on the same project such that you’re consistently comparing the same type of work.”


A problem that Delta “often” finds with Measured Mile analyses involves “flawed data,” Dungan reported. “The people who are recording the data might not necessarily record it accurately every day.” He noted that it is “very difficult to calculate what was done in a period of time and correlate exactly to that the [number] of labor hours that were associated with it.”


Other problems stemming from the Measured Mile approach that Dungan cited include “inappropriate or no cause-and-effect analysis” and a “failure to understand the premises of existing procedures.”


Dungan believes that the Measured Mile approach “is a good methodology” to determine the productivity impact related to certain causations, calling it “probably, in my opinion, the best for so many reasons. But, what we found is that [it is] easy to mis-apply the methodology for several different reasons.”


The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article also includes coverage of the following other news from the conference:

  • More comments from Delta Consulting Group's J. Mark Dungan.
  • A discussion about who should be performing project-controls work.
  • Controlling cost through the estimating and risk-assessment process.
  • Five keys to success for optimizing the performance of “virtual teams” in construction projects.
  • Trends in international construction arbitration.
  • Exhibitor Briefs involving EcoSys, Eos Group Inc., Half Dollar, and Trimble.

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