Korea Architectural Information System with Sustainable Process Innovation and Governance(KAIS)
Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs

The Problem

Construction administration is integral part of the government for the protection of citizens’ property rights and convenience, and the level of efficiency in the administration is closely related to the overall competitiveness of a country. Also, building information provides essential reference materials for public policy-making in the area of construction and real estate. In 1997, there was a sharp surge in the construction demand in Korea as a result of rapid industrialization, democratic progress, and economic growth. The construction boom then led to an explosive growth in demand for building and construction-related government services. The demand increased both in quantity and quality beyond the agencies’ capabilities, revealing the following shortcomings:

* Incomplete Building Record-keeping and Inefficient Building Energy Monitoring

Building records constitute an important body of information, accessed nearly 18 million times a year on average (number of transcripts issued and number of times viewed). They also provide fundamental data for public policy-making in construction and real estate. The management of building records was, however, far from how it should have been until recently. Due to the manual entry of information, building data were often incomplete or inaccurate. This also made compiling statistics quite difficult, while increasing the workload for government employees and prolonging the processing time of public services for citizens. Inefficiency also plagued the monitoring of building energy consumptions. Buildings account for 25% of total national energy consumption rate, and the public policies and services related to improving/monitoring energy efficiency in buildings were largely lacking.

* Complex Permit Procedures and Lack of Transparency Undermining Public Confidence

Around 90 laws and statues and 20 government agencies were involved in the process of issuing a simple building permit. During the process, the applicant was required to submit nearly 40 documents on average and had to visit government offices at least 5 times. Worse, government employees in building and construction administration were frequently reassigned, resulting in a lack of continuity and delays in services. The inefficiency led to corruptions as some people used bribery to have their services fast-tracked. According to 2002 statistics published by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, the rate of corruption in building and construction administration was as high as 8.5% (4.1% in government-wide average rate).

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The digitalization of building and construction permit processes was, therefore, aimed at resolving the inefficiencies in this public administration field, touching on policies as well as public services and internal processes. Under this informatization project, KAIS was placed in charge of managing the electronic building and construction administration system and providing electronic public services.

* Construction of an Integrated Database for Buildings Nationwide and Their Energy Consumptions

A database was developed by compiling permit data on 6.7 million buildings across the nation along with the buildings’ basic information, boosting the efficiency and productivity of related administrative processes. In addition, the database has contributed to both the timeliness and accuracy of the building and construction policy-making.
The database also contains building’s energy related information, such as the amount of consumption of electricity and gas by each building. This database, designed to encourage Koreans to conserve energy voluntarily, not only provides users with the status of energy usage for their buildings or homes, but also offers tips on how to reduce the amount of energy consumed.

* All Process Automation: One-click/ One-stop Processing of Building Permits

A process-centered innovation initiative was undertaken to improve the building permit process, as the special characteristics and complexity of this process demanded measures beyond simple digitalization. To allow permit applicants to determine whether their project is legally feasible in advance, a self-diagnosis service is made available by consolidating all relevant provisions from some ninety laws and statutes related to the building and construction field. Equally important, the project made it possible to complete all permit-related formalities through a one-stop service system. Applicants for building permits no longer have to personally visit a government office (No Visit), and the application has now gone paperless (No Paper). The document requirement for the permit process, which used to consist of ~40 different documents (in addition to the building blueprint), is now completely eliminated in favor of entering relevant information online. Finally, the processing time for permit applications has been drastically reduced, as over twenty organizations involved in the process can now confer with each other online, instead of visiting each other for conferences.

* Standard System Developed and Distributed for Local Administrations Nationwide

To effectively implement the innovations and improvements described above, KAIS was developed as a national standard system, through cooperation between the national government and local administrations. The major benefits of the use of a single, standard system by all local administrations across the country are the elimination of redundant investment and the heightened level of consistency in administrative processes.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The objective of this project was to develop a national standard system for creating public policy infrastructure in building and construction administration. By introducing innovation in key processes, the project was aimed to increase the reliability and accuracy of these processes, to enhance the quality of public services and the convenience of citizens, and to improve the efficiency in government processes and the productivity of government employees.
The project was initiated by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and was carried out by the Building and Construction Administration Informatization Planning Task Force. The list of parties involved and the respective responsibilities and contributions were as follows:

* Control Tower Comprehensively Responsible for Project Planning and Implementation: Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs acted as the control tower for the project by planning the project, securing budget funding, providing budget support, securing legal basis for the project, and setting up a collegial body to deliberate on key issues. The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs solely led the project planning stage while reflecting on the opinions of local administrations, and it jointly implemented the project with local administrations.

* Project Implementer: Building and Construction Administration Informatization Planning Task Force

In order to effectively carry out this project, a temporary unit named the “Building and Construction Administration Informatization Planning Task Force” was set up, composed of officials from the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and local administrations, as well as private-sector experts and citizens’ representatives. The task force established a medium and long-term roadmap for the project, and for better and more efficient implementation of the project, created three teams under it; namely, the Regulatory Infrastructure Team, Project Team, and the External Advisory Team. The three teams closely cooperated with and learned from one another to identify major issues of the project, thereby playing a key role as problem-solvers. During the operation stage of the project, particular efforts were made to public education and campaign, and to the promotion of the new system to ensure its active usage; the task force staff traveled across the country to visit local administrations, offering seminars for the staff, the general public, and architects, as well as conducting public hearings, surveys, and interviews.

* Working Group: Service users (citizens, architects, etc.) and service providers (local administration staff and related government agency staff)

From the early stages of the project, a working group was set up, having as its members both the users and the administrators of the system; that is, general citizens and architects, and local administration staffs and staffs from other government agencies involved in the permit process. Throughout the project period, the working group met several dozens of times, with workshops held as frequently. These meetings helped to determine the actions for improvement and to find solutions to the problems encountered during the course of the project.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The core values of the KAIS system are speediness, transparency, convenience, efficiency, and greenness. Its slogans, such as ‘Seamless One Stop Convergence Service’, ‘All Process Automation', and ’No Visit, No Paper’, represent the innovation it brought about.

* An Approach Combining Top-Down and Bottom-Up Techniques

The foremost task for planners and implementers was to have government employees part with the bureaucratic mindset and practices which had been prevalent in public administration for over five decades. A top-down approach was necessary in order to attain this goal, at least at the level of the national government. This was, meanwhile, coupled with a bottom-up approach at the level of the working group, which proved effective for tapping the creativity of many participants and for solving problems at hand.

* Informatization from the User Perspective

The utmost emphasis was placed on developing user-oriented services. For this, services were analyzed thoroughly from the perspective of their users, actively reflecting the point of view of public service customers. From the outset, main prospective users of building and construction administrative services, including architects, developers, the general public, and local administration staffs, were invited to participate in the process. A call center was also set up to provide user support and to collect user feedback for continuous improvement of the quality of service.

* Online Process-based Approach

Beyond the simple digitalization of public administration work, KAIS views all tasks in continuum and aims to optimize the entire process the tasks constitute. Communication with external agencies, required in the permit process, presented a particular challenge as this was a highly important element in ensuring continuity and transparency in the processing of a task or a service. In order to achieve innovation at the level of processes, it was necessary to integrate external agencies into the system. In sum, it was through a process-based approach that overall tasks in building and construction administration could be changed for the better. Meanwhile, by ensuring continuity in the processing of public services, we were able to enhance the convenience of service users and increase work efficiency in public administration. Finally, all of these efforts helped KAIS become one of the most representative standard e-government service systems in Korea that it is today.

* Pilot Launch to Verify System’s Effectiveness and to Minimize Trial and Error

Before the official launch of the system, a pilot project was carried out. Given its timeline and budget, KAIS was a project that would be best conducted in a progressive manner with a medium and long-term roadmap. Pilot programs allowed us to test the effectiveness of services provided by the system and minimize errors, ultimately enabling a more efficient budget execution.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The KAIS project was carried out through a stage-by-stage approach, based on a medium and long-term roadmap and in accordance with a clearly-formulated vision.

* Online and Offline Services Provided in Parallel (2000-2004)

Under this project, all necessary documents across all processes handled by building and construction administration were digitalized. For users who were not familiar with information systems, both offline and online services were continuously offered during a four year phase-in period.
- 1999-2002: Development and distribution of the e-building and construction administration system
- 2003: Development and distribution of a building policy information system (ADSS)
- 2001-2004: Consolidation of building records and development of a policy information database, and a building record update project

* Full-scale Internet-based Online Service (2004~2007)

The scope of digitalization of the building permit process was widened to the fullest extent during this period. Now, all related services can be accessed through the internet, from anywhere and at any time, making the ‘no visit, no paper’ service access a reality.
- 2004: ‘e-Building and Construction Administration System Development Plan’ (ISP/BPR) established
- 2005-2007: Internet-based building and construction administration system completed and distributed to local administrations nationwide

* Completion of the Online Conference System and Increased Sharing of Information (2008-2009)

The online conference system for inter-government agency conferences was completed during this period. Also, nearly 200 systems of approximately 150 government agencies, including local administrations, were linked together to enable sharing of building information.
- 2008: Cyber conference system deployed
System integration between government agencies for information sharing
- 2008: Master plan for upgrading the e-building and construction administration system established and development projects launched

* Construction of an Integrated Building and Energy Database, Offering Information on Buildings and Energy Consumption (2010-2011)

The integrated database that provides information on both the buildings and the buildings’ energy consumptions, such as electricity and gas, has contributed to the reduction of energy usage in buildings and to the progress towards green growth in the construction industry.
- 2010-2011: Development of a smart building and construction administration system
- 2010-2011: Development of an integrated national building and energy database and database services

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The biggest roadblocks to the success of the KAIS project had mainly to do with the resistance to change, passive attitudes, and the lack of cooperation on the part of stakeholders, including public servants long accustomed to bureaucratic practices. A few examples follow below:

* Lack of Cooperation on the Part of Architects: Skepticism and Apprehension

There was a strong apprehension among architects, who were one of the main groups of potential users of KAIS, that the introduction of this system would reduce their role and importance. In order to dispel such misgivings, efforts were made to convince the stakeholders of the benefits of the project, saying that this system, while aimed at improving the quality of public services, can also help reduce the workload for architects. Efforts of persuasion were made more effective by being coupled with continuous campaigns and system support through call center.

* Reticence on the Part of Local Administration Staff: Fear and Resistance to Change

The initial reaction to the project among building and construction permit staffs in local administrations was one of fear, as this meant that they would have to depart from their usual work practices. Local administration employees of older age groups were particularly strongly opposed to the idea of digitalization of work processes. To win their hearts and minds, visits were made to all 248 local administrations across the country to explain to their staffs the efficiency gains expected from the project and the need for work innovation through digitalization. The initial visits were followed up by several other informational meetings for further discussing of the matter and for collecting feedbacks. The operation of a support center also helped to elicit cooperation and participation.

* Lukewarm Attitude of Collaborating Organizations: A Wait-and-Watch Mode

Some twenty institutions involved in the building process, including the electric power and gas companies, fire department, office of education, and the army, behaved unconcerned if not uncooperative. They were generally lukewarm about this project in which their role, they felt, was only incidental or tangential. Like for other stakeholders, visits were paid to them to explain benefits of the project and to ask for their understanding and cooperation. Before the start of the project, MOUs were signed with these institutions to ensure the sustained level of participation, and information and education campaigns were carried out in a continuous manner.

* Resistance from Energy Suppliers: Fretful about Sharing Customer Information

Being private-sector firms, energy suppliers have priorities that are different from public institutions, such as profit and protection of customers. They, therefore, showed resistance to the idea of disclosing energy consumption data that were needed for setting up a building energy information system. They also differed from public institutions in terms of information supply method. In order to bridge this gap, the project team made sure that they understood the government-level efforts for energy saving and solicited their participation. Regulatory improvements were also introduced to allow sharing of energy consumption-related information for government-initiated programs or public interest programs.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
Since 2000, fundings provided toward the KAIS project amounted to 10 million US dollars for phase I, 15 million US dollars for phase II, and 8.5 million US dollars for phase III, summing up to be 30 million US dollars in total. The source of funding at the initial stage was the Information Promotion Fund of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs. Thereafter, the project funds were appropriated from the e-Government budget.

By types of project, the cost of construction of databases was shared between the national government and local administrations. The cost of implementing the information system and its distribution was covered by the national government, given that the system followed the national standard and that the services provided by it were public services.

By purposes of project, the budget may be divided into two types: education and consulting budget to support system development and to help increase the use of the system, and system maintenance budget to ensure the stable operation of services. The key accomplishments of the KAIS projects are as follows:

* Integrated Database for Nationwide Building Information, a Great Addition to Public Policy Infrastructure

The integrated database containing information about buildings nationwide, constructed under this project, is also a major contributor to the timeliness and accuracy of public policy-making in areas including housing and construction. The database enables the automation of generation and supply of building-related statistical data and helps to increase work efficiency and productivity in public administration.
- Building registers: 1 month to draft registers for 2,000 households => Less than one minute
- Building statistics: 2-3 months for data to reach the national government => Real-time data generation

* One-Stop Building Permit Service for a 1 Trillion-won Economic Effect

The no visit/ no paper permit application process, enabled by this system, has greatly simplified the related procedures for citizens. Meanwhile, the online conference system has drastically cut the processing time of permit applications.
- Permit issue/ processing time: 60 days => 15 days
- Number of office visits: 5 visits => No visit
- Design: 200-2,000 sheets of blueprint => Electronic submission
- Document requirements for permit application, construction start, construction completion reporting: Some 50 types of manually drafted documents => Automatic document generation
- Drawing storage: Stored in large archives => Digitally archived as a database
- Information supply to other government agencies: Off-line => Nearly 1 million online information transactions per year
-Corruption: 8.50% (2002) => 1.20% (2006)

* Comprehensive Management of Energy Consumptions in Buildings Nationwide, Yielding a 2,344 million US dollars Economic Effect Annually

The building energy database, constructed as part of this project, made it possible for all Koreans nationwide to find out the exact information on the energy usage of their homes and buildings. The system, met with an active public response, is producing an estimated annual economic effect of 2,344 million US dollars.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Since its inception, the KAIS project has been continuously updated and re-adjusted to remain in tune with the changing social and cultural environments. The KAIS system, born out of this project, is not an information system for a single organization, but a national standard system, whose performance and effective usefulness has now been widely recognized both in and outside Korea. As an evolutive model of informatization, consisting in progressive stages (construction of the database  implementation of the information system  development of a comprehensive set of interlinked services), KAIS also holds a strong potential to be emulated in other countries.

Fundamentally, KAIS is an information system providing citizens with an easier and more convenient access to government services and enhancing work efficiency in public administration and the productivity of government employees. Such information infrastructure can be a useful model for developing countries, both as a public service model and as an informatization model.
Meanwhile, the experience of developing and implementing the e-building and construction administration system and the know-how gained from dealing with the many obstacles through the course of this project can assist developing countries or countries with underdeveloped IT infrastructure. This experience and the know-how, if transmitted to countries that need them most, are likely to tremendously contribute to the development of building and construction administration policy and designing of an informatization roadmap for this area of public administration.

Now widely recognized as one of the most innovative and effective e-Government systems in Korea, KAIS received the President’s Award and the Prime Minister’s Award in 2007. Used in nearly all areas of public administration, from tax to safety, traffic, and environmental administration, KAIS is now linked to approximately 200 information systems of over 150 government agencies, sharing information with them. In fact, KAIS played a key role in the development of a national administrative information sharing system in Korea, as an early cornerstone in its foundation as well as a model for its further elaboration.

KAIS has also garnered a reputation of excellence internationally and is considered a highly exportable system, which could be useful to many countries beyond Korean borders. In ‘2009 e-Challenge’, held in Istanbul, Turkey, by the European Parliament, KAIS won the ‘Best Demonstration Stand Award”.

Furthermore, KAIS was presented to various forums held in Malaysia (2006), Abu Dhabi in UAE (2010), Denmark (2010), Indonesia (2011), Dubai in UAE (2011), as well as to the Building SMART Forum (2008~2011); it was also introduced as a notably successful case of Korea's e-Government.
In particular, an MOU was signed with the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2009, and with Chinese City of Tumen in 2010, in order to introduce KAIS to these two countries. Numerous people from abroad visit Korea every year to benchmark KAIS’ expertise.

A program'ECONOMIC 30minutes'of CCTV-2 in China appointed KAIS as an advanced electronic civil complaint administration system of Korea. They're producing a documentary and are supposed to broadcast in early 2012.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
One of the important lessons of the KAIS project was that continuous investment and management according to a medium and long-term vision and roadmap are essential for the success of a public administration information system. Our experience also taught us that the first and foremost task is to change the perception of the stakeholders’, that it takes patience, time and investment, and that the success of the project depends as vitally on communication and cooperation with local administrations and the general public as on the commitment of the national government. We learned, meanwhile, that a long-term plan and a system for cooperation with expert groups are necessary to reduce trial and error, that the long-term goal and vision must not be sacrificed for short-term accomplishments, and that continuity and consistency hold key to success.

* Two-way Communication and Win-win Partnership

Communication is all the more important for a national project, which often involves numerous stakeholders with various interests. In order to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the project, communication has to be bidirectional. National government agencies, for example, should eschew authoritarian attitudes and refrain from bossing around local administrations or demanding sacrifices from citizens without first seeking their understanding and cooperation. We learned from the KAIS project a valuable lesson that policy undertakings must also rest on mutual benefits between stakeholders.

* Continuous Education and Campaigning Efforts to Build Consensus and Raise Support

A sustained effort for persuasion through education and mutual understanding is essential for building a consensus. Such effort also proved to be, in our experience, an excellent means to help public servants shed their old habits and practices, which were unchanged and unchallenged for more than five decades.
During the stage of distribution of KAIS, we offered onsite education to 6,961 service users and 26,960 local administration employees as part of an outreach program. To help the users quickly adapt to the new system, we also provided educational contents in various forms, including user manuals, videos, and brochures.

* Beyond a Simple System Implementation, a Wholesale Process Innovation in Public Administration

In a public administration field with a large number of stakeholders and an intricate web of divergent interests, such as building and construction administration, re-designing or overhauling work processes must precede technical considerations for system design. One of the important lessons we learned from this project was that work process innovation, even if it is the most challenging part of the project and liable to cause conflict and resistance, provides the very justification for the project and concrete reasons for implementing technology-aided improvements.

* Consistent Vision and Consistent Structure of Implementation

It is important for the project team to keep their eyes steady on the long-term goals and the fundamental vision for the project, instead of overly fixating on short-term accomplishments. To guarantee a stable evolution of the project and its successful outcome, it is also crucial that the project is carried out based on a consistent structure of implementation.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Dongyoung Yun
Title:   Deputy Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-2-2110-6205/82-2-503-7324
Institution's / Project's Website:   www.mltm.go.kr
E-mail:   yun773@korea.kr  
Address:   1 Jungang-Dong
Postal Code:   427-712
City:   Gwacheon-City
State/Province:   Gyeonggi-Do

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