It seems due to some logistic issues construction is very slow in tropico 4 (most of the time builders are idle with a long list of jobs). Is there any tips how to improve their productivity?
Make your workers spend less time walking.
When expanding to a new area, build a garage there first. Your workers take a construction truck out to the build site, but they walk back. This is particularly problematic when building mines or farms in remote places. But if you build the garage first, they'll build the mine and then drive back.
Make sure your workers' other needs can be satisfied quickly. Build Garages so that your workers can get to food, entertainment, churches, doctors, work, and their homes quickly. This means they'll spend less time away from the job (or at least their breaks will be shorter).
Have skilled builders.
A skilled builder puts up structures much faster than a neophyte builder.
Select traits and a background that increase worker training.
Enable the Literacy Program edict, set your Ministry to Council of Ministers, and have a TV Station set to Learning with Larry.
Pay your builders more, so your skilled builders won't walk off and take different jobs. If there's a factory job available, then your builders may well decide to get an education and take that job. Make sure the job satisfaction of being a builder is better than the job satisfaction of other available jobs. (There's no good way to keep them from taking a college job, other than manipulating the open slots in the job — make sure there are no open slots, then make them all available and hire foreigners a split-second before the freighter arrives. The job satisfaction of college-education jobs is so high – usually 80-plus – that it's really not worth trying to compete with that.)
Rushing the actual construction.
Send El Presidente to oversee construction. Alas, there is only one El Presidente, so make sure that the building he's supervising is on the highest priority, and that nothing else will be built first. (At equal priorities, Construction Offices build the thing that's closest to the office.) You may have no idea which end of a hammer to swing, but your workers don't know that; they'll build faster just too see your backside that much sooner.
Spend real world money to buy the Quick-dry Cement DLC. If you wait for a Steam sale, you can get this at 75% off. This allows you to build a Cement Factory, which makes your construction workers build things faster (and exports cement, which doesn't sell for much but doesn't require any input goods to make). You may build up to five Cement Factories, and each one will accelerate construction further. Side note: you don't need to buy blueprints to make the Cement Factory.
Grit your teeth and throw money at the problem with the "Quick Build" button on the thing being built. It doubles the price of the building, but this can be worth it for cheap buildings (like, say, Garages that make your builders spend less time walking) or if you think it'll eventually pay for itself (for anything that makes you money).
Did I mention that building Garages will help?
(If you have the Modern Times DLC, a network of Metro Stations can help, but those get expensive pretty quickly; they're much better for tying together two different "towns" than getting your people from one block to the next.)
The obvious solution is to build more construction offices. Whilst this doesn't actually improve the efficiency of them (which I agree is pretty terrible, lazy lazy workers) it does in my experience get building work completed faster. It is especially effective if you build them at opposite ends of your settlement. Ensure that the work mode of the construction office is set to 'sweat shop' (default work mode) rather than 'take it easy' to make sure that they work a full day.
Another problem I noticed in my latest run through of Tropico was that construction appeared to regularly get stuck and not progress when workers were being dispatched from certain construction offices. I eventually traced this to the road that the offices were attached to was so congested with traffic that the workers were stuck in the building rather than moving to the site. It is important therefore that your construction offices are not on main roads (perhaps build them up tracks instead). This is particularly important if you keep the original pre-built construction office that is likely to become your city centre.
I've just noticed that a more thorough review was given in this question.
If most of your workers are idle with a long list of jobs, then there probably aren't enough trucks in your city to transport all of the goods and people. Build some garages to remedy the situaiton.
In addition, some other things that could speed up construction:
- Putting a higher construction priority on buildings you want done first
- Send El Presidente to a building you want to be built faster
Most of the construction time is not in building time, but in transportation. Builders get there quick, but they may get back slowly. Or they might be sick and hungry or spend a lot of time away.
Build garages in faraway areas, especially for things like oil and mines which tend to be far away from the city. Construction will slow to a halt if they're walking back from all the way across the island!
Place construction offices near your city center. That is, make sure that there's enough housing for builders right behind the office. Try to place the church, clinic, market/farm nearby as well.
Quick build your construction offices and garages. Both are relatively cheap, and the production boost is almost worth it. There are plenty of faraway buildings which are not worth the transportation time as well, such as farms and fishing. Builders aren't cheap either; they're a lot of mouths to feed, so later in the game when you're making a lot of money, you should consider rushing cheap buildings instead of building a third construction office.