Korea Architectural Information System
Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs

The Problem

(1) Building administration is one of the most complex work areas, dealing with information backbone of the country.

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:

(2) Complex Permit Procedures and Lack of Transparency Undermining Public Confidence

The complexity of building administration has caused inconvenience to the public and deteriorated the efficiency of public administration.

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.

(3) Building administration has also proven detrimental to the perception of transparency in government work.

The complexity and inefficiency of building administration also served to prevent administrative procedures from being disclosed to the public, which, in turn, resulted in it being perceived as a realm of questionable integrity.

A 2002 publication by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea indicated that the construction sector was rife with corruption, while a 2001 Transparency International report pointed out that the Bribe Payers Index, or BPI, for construction-related government services was the highest virtually anywhere in the world.

Legislation for the building of structures and administration guidelines is coordinated by the Ministry of Land,Transport, and Maritime Affairs (MLTM), a central government agency. The public distrust in the entire sphere of building administration is directed toward the central government at large, leading to plummeting confidence in the government itself.

(4) Incomplete Building Record-keepong

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.

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.

(1) 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.

(2) Construction of an Integrated Database for Buildings Nationwide

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.

(3) 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.

(1) The key to the solution is to build IT-based information systems

Strenuous efforts were made to find answers question of how to address the seemingly constant public distrust in government employees, most of who are honest servants spending countless days and nights grappling with enormous volumes of documents, due to the news of corrupt building administration officials repeatedly making headlines. In results, the officials in charge and the professionals in private sector reached a conclusion that nothing but implementing IT-based information systems may be the ultimate solution and worked together to put it into action.

(2) Formation and operation of the task force team is critical to secure thein driving the project

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 team secured applicable funds, and committed legal experts, administration experts, computing experts, and other professionals. This was the beginning of the Building Administration System Project.

(3) A wide range of stakeholders’ participation essential to the success of the project.

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.

In order to encourage citizens as applicants and government employees who had exclusively used paper documentation to apply for and process application formalitiesto make actual use of the system, it was essential to induce them to participate in the entire processes of development, deployment, and operation of the system and have their frontline voices incorporated therein.

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.

(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 transparency-convenience- efficiency-speediness.

(1) 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.

Efforts were made to identify and address any inconveniences and unreasonableness faced in applying for and undergoing administrative procedures from the customer’s perspective.

This significantly enhanced efficiency and accuracy. Together with these user convenience features, other activities were pursued to encourage the use of the system, including the revamping of applicable laws allowing for the Internet submission of design documents and attachments.

(2) 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 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.

(3) Promotion and training

For 6,961 service users and 26,960 government employees during the deployment phase of KAIS, training visits to offices, collective training, and the provision of user manuals, video clips, and various other training materials were intended to help users familiarize themselves with the system in a prompt and effortless manner.

Brochures, posters, leaflets, and other promotional materials were also distributed and a wide range of media, including newspapers, magazines, and websites were used.

The Building Administration Systems, KAIS was named "Seumter" in Korean standing for the fundamental source of making something possible. This band name was designed for the system to appear easy and more approachable for the users.

(4) Continuity and consistency in the maintenance of the system

It operated a call center so that users could obtain instant solutions to any difficulties they faced while using the system.

Online Q&A and FAQ message boards were also operated to diversify the range of channels through which the users might ask questions about the use of the system and voice their requirements.

A maintenance center was also operated to provide software maintenance services for requirements and regulatory updates as well as hardware maintenance covering servers, networks, and other infrastructure components.

Together with these user support measures, the Ministry is also engaged in a wide range of efforts to encourage the use of the system, including the constant provision of guidelines and training for local government employees and user award programs for those government agencies and government employees.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
(1) Online and Offline Services Provided in Parallel (1998-2002)

- 1998 ∼ 1999 : The Ministry of Construction and Transportation expanded the pilot program and developed AIS.
- 2000 ∼ 2002 : The Ministry of Construction and Transportation deployed AIS to 250 local governments across the country.
- Mar. 2000 : Cited by the Anti-Corruption Special Committee as a best practice. (The chairman commented, "Allowing for efficient processing and computer-based auditing, the computerization of job processes is expected to significantly eliminate corruption in the construction sector.")
- June 2000 : Awarded in the Public Sector Innovation Competition of the Ministry of Planning and Budget.
- Dec. 2000 : Received the Chairman’s Prize in the Best Practice Reporting Competition of the Second National Foundation Committee.

(2) Evolution into KAIS (2003 - 2009)

- June 2003 ∼ Dec. 2003 : The Ministry of Construction and Transportation formulated the Building Administration Informatization and Development Plan.
- Feb. 2004 : The Electronic Government Special Committee selected e-AIS as one of the Thirty One Strategic Projects for the Electronic Government of the Republic of Korea.
- An e-AIS implementation was built over three phases.
- June 2007 : Reported as an innovative practice by the Ministry of Construction and Transportation at a cabinet conference. (President Roh’s comment: "Achieving better results without reducing the number of regulations is the right direction for deregulation, and e-AIS is a tell-tale example.")
- July 2007 ∼ Aug. 2008: A pilot service was operated by the Municipal Government of Busan.
- Sep. 2007 : Received the Prime Ministerial Award as a Best Practice for Electronic Government.
- Oct. 2007 : Received the Presidential Award in the Government Innovation Brand Competition.
- May 2008 : The system was fully deployed to, and operated by, 248 local governments across the country.
- Nov 2009 : Received the Best Demonstration Stand Award in the e-Challenges 2009 Conference & Exhibition of European Commission

(3) Increased Sharing of Information and Development of a smart building and construction administration system(2010~)

Also, nearly 200 systems of approximately 150 government agencies, including local administrations, were linked together to enable sharing of building information.
- 2010~: Development of a smart building and construction administration system

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
(1) Reticence on the Part of Local Administration Staff: Fear and Resistance to Change

During an earlier phase of the AIS operation, the biggest obstacle was the resistance by permit-issuing officers to the migration from paper-based work to the use of computer systems.

The government employees, who were more familiar with the conventional task of reviewing paper applications and attachments prepared by applicants and manually processing them, often voiced complaints that the computerization process increased their workload or that the use of the system prevented the accurate review of documentation.

To address these issues, the MLTM operated a call center to which users were able to make instant phone calls to obtain solutions to whatever problem he/she came across when using the system. The MLTM also prepared various user support systems, including on-going user training programs, to enhance the users’ability to use the system and process the tasks required.

Centered around internal tasks in this manner, the building administration system began to see its excellence recognized both within and outside of government organizations. However, applicants still needed to compile CDs of applications and attachments and make frequent visits to the permit-issuing authorities and coordinating authorities. Government personnel were also having difficulties due to the manual coordination work.

In order to address these issues, the MLTM developed and deployed KAIS, a new Internet-based version of the system.

(2) Computer-based applications are too difficult for me!

The introduction of KAIS was a shift from the production and submission of a CD by the applicant to the entry of application information on the Internet. This also transferred the task of data entry from the government employee to the applicant.

As this required the applicant to additionally conduct data verification or personal authentication processes to ensure data conformity and personal identification accuracy, measures were required to prevent applicants who found those processes onerous from refusing to use the system.

Determining that the early establishment of the system required the completeness of the system as a bare minimum and prompt responses to user inconveniences as key, the MLTM expanded staffing levels at the maintenance center and the call center.

The Ministry also operated substantial and active training programs, including the operation of permanent training centers and training visits to larger architectural firms and regional architectural associations.

Indeed, the level of satisfaction among the service users was greatly enhanced from 37.3, on a scale of 100, in April ’08 to 70.1 by December ’08.

(3) Doing my best won’t cut it!

The participation by coordinating departments and organizations was essential to enhance the efficiency of coordinating the work, which was by far the biggest efficiency bottleneck.

System user training programs for the coordination work as well as manuals, video clips and various training contents were provided. In order to encourage coordinating officers to use the building administration system, organized approaches were made, including the signing of MOUs with their supervising organizations and the disclosure of evaluation criteria.

(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
(1) Financial resources

In connection with the computerization of building administration, the MLTM committed a total of 11.6 million US dollars to the KAIS project in a sequential manner for five years from 2003.

Most of the budget was committed to the development of the standard building administration programs, the building of the hardware infrastructure, user training, and system installation.

Although the MLTM experienced substantial difficulties in securing funds in the initial phase of the development, the ministry successfully persuaded budgeting authorities to earmark sufficient amounts of capital, based on an analysis that the economic benefits of the system would reach 944 million US dollars per year.

The fact that the waste of funds would be enormous in the case of the individual development of local governments was a pressing reason for the establishment of standard programs at the state level.

(2) Technical resources

Korea’s network infrastructure and high level of Internet penetration provided an optimal environment for KAIS, in essence, an Internet-based application.

This underlying infrastructure formed a framework allowing anyone to use the Internet to file an application and have it processed from anywhere in the country.

As discussed above, however, building administration work accompanies the handling of very important information, such as building information and personal information, as well as the transfer of large volumes of information.

In order to satisfy these system requirements, we developed and used a design document management tool that supports the filing and reviewing of electronic documents and uses its own encryption and compression technologies.

(3) Human resources

The commitment of human resources was focused on the Building Administration Informatization Planning Task Force.

The task force consisted of seven full-time members, whose activities were supported by an external advisory committee and a panel including local government representatives.

Developing and operating the system under the direction of this task force, the project group consisted primarily of private system integration firms.

(4) Benefits

(4-1) 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.

- Permit issue/ processing time: 60 days → 9 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 → online
-Corruption: 8.50% (2002) → 1.20% (2006)

(4-2) Integrated Database for Nationwide Building Information, a Great Addition to Public Policy Infrastructure

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

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.

The accomplishment achieved by the KAIS resulted in a comment made in a cabinet conference in June 2007: "Achieving better results without reducing the number of regulations is the right direction for deregulation, and the KAIS is an excellent example." Its efficiency was also demonstrated by the 2008 Presidential Award received in the Government Innovation Brand Competition, considered the Korean equivalent of the Public Service Awards.

Being the first information system to have successfully integrated a no-visit, no-paper solution within Korea, the KAIS has also become something other systems are modeled after.

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.

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.

Numerous people from abroad visit Korea every year to benchmark KAIS’ expertise.

Stakeholders and researchers from these countries took significant interest in the no-visit, no-paper processing of permits and the digitization of large volumes of drawings.

Government officials, in particular, from Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Lesotho, and some other African countries exhibited high levels of interest and agreed to the possibility of introducing the system to their own countries.

An MOU was signed with the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2009, and with Chinese City of Tumen in 2010.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Communication is all the more important for a national project, which often involves numerous stakeholders with various interests.

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.

(1) 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.

From the development and deployment by the MLTM of a standard application to computerize the work processes of local governments in 1998 until its advancement into a new system based on the Internet in 2007, the philosophy we initially had" convenience for public service users and efficiency for administrative organizations" was adhered to in a consistent manner. The list of user needs and requirements was well maintained and faithfully incorporated into the system.

Another factor for our success was that the MLTM, a government-wide control tower for building administration, has been continually studying and giving thought to applicable work processes and laws and maintaining a consistent implementation system.

(2) Consensus among participants

The biggest obstacle to innovation was resistance to the introduction of a new system due to conventional practice.

Vigorous training and promotion and tremendous persuasion activities to overcome this obstacle, however, helped begin developing a consensus among the stakeholders.

As a consensus on improved public welfare and increased efficiency in public administration started to form, the use of the system suddenly gained momentum.

Over and above all other factors, users’trust in the information system was crucial to its success.

(3) The key to the success is not technology but process innovation.

A major pitfall that most public computerization projects may fall into is the cult of technology.

In a public informatization project, therefore, the improvement of administrative procedures comes before technical implementation, and the latter must serve to support the former.

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.

(4) A thorough customer-oriented philosophy

In the early phases of the development of KAIS, customers were encouraged to directly participate in the project to have their opinions incorporated, while an unending list of requirements from them generated in the operational phase has been valued and incorporated in the system.

Risk factors were only resolved by making personal visits to local government offices experiencing anticipated or actual problems so as to identify the causes of any problems and actively cooperate with the stakeholders.

This process was only made possible because customers were given consideration over the interests among stakeholders.

Contact Information

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

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