Genetic algorithm model in optimizing the use of labour

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-215
Journal / PublicationConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2001


The construction industry is characterized by the existence of multiple trades and crafts. With the existence of multiple-tiers of labour-only-subcontracting in Hong Kong, tradesmen are normally assigned to tasks of a narrowly defined skill. Lately, there has been a call for the adoption of a directly employed labour scheme by the Hong Kong Housing Authority and the public works departments in Hong Kong in order to improve both safety and quality. However, current industry practice has hindered the adoption of directly employed labour, which requires assigning tradesmen to broadly defined task groupings. In implementing the scheme, the first thing to be resolved is how to maximize the levels of use of workers, because that is the major financial incentive to encourage contractors to adopt the directly employed labour policy. This coupled with the shortage of some skilled craft workers call into question the traditionally accepted 'single-skilled' or 'single-task' approach in labour deployment. A genetic algorithm model is developed to optimize the labour deployment and practical examples are presented. The optimization results are very promising, confirming the practical application value of the model.

Research Area(s)

  • Genetic algorithms, Labour deployment, Multi-skill, Subcontracting