Multiskilled workforce planning: a case from the construction industry

Araz Nasirian, Babak Abbasi, T. C.E. Cheng, Mehrdad Arashpour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this research was to present a platform to identify the optimal staffing of a multiskilled workforce in the construction industry. The novelty of our model is its capability in developing a customized and context specific multiskilled workforce staffing strategy that identifies the best compromise between multiskilling costs and benefits with consideration of unique features of different production environments. Another novelty of our multiskilled workforce staffing is its capacity to explore every possible schedule associate with every possible staffing strategy. Our model chooses the multiskilling staffing strategy corresponding to the schedule that leads to the best results in terms of cost and time. The paper examined optimal multiskilling staffing and scheduling and compared it with well-regarded existing multiskilling strategies in the construction industry, such as chaining and direct capacity balancing, using an optimization technique. The parameters of the optimization model were informed by a small hypothetical case and a real case off-site construction factory producing bathroom pods in Australia. Developed an optimal multiskilling staffing strategy continuously and in some cases significantly outweighed the existing well-regarded multiskilling strategies. The optimal multiskilling staffing strategy is highly context-specific and can be very complex because achieving it needs having an appropriate staffing platform. Subjective decision making on a multi skilling staffing strategy that does not deploy the workforce to the most appropriate workstations can lead to a significant productivity loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04022021
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Multiskilling of workforce
  • Off-site construction
  • Operation cost
  • Operation time
  • Scheduling
  • Staffing

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