Construction Project Management Information System (CPMIS) and Construction Information System
Civil Engineering Division, Infrastructure Headquarters, Seoul Metropolitan Government

The Problem

For the past several decades, it was common practice for the Seoul Metropolitan Government to send its employees to the construction site to monitor the progress of large scale projects. These projects, however, often suffered from schedule delays and corruption and the need to address such problems became a serious issue.
More than 500 documents were produced a year in the inefficient hard copy format. The archives stored around 3000 records which were often moved around. Thus, using the index to find a specific document in the archive could take as much as two or three hours. Furthermore, official documents were disposed after they were kept for three to ten years. As a result, some records could not be found at all.

The Construction Project Management Information System (CPMIS) was developed to address the above inconveniences, to prevent corruption, and to systematically manage important data.

In line with the growing importance of management in the construction industry today, the demand for integrated and systematic management systems through informatization has grown. Therefore, the Seoul Metropolitan Government faced the growing need to develop service that could provide up-to-date information on all its construction projects as well as address inconveniences in a timely manner.

The CPMIS is a system that was developed to maximize efficiency construction management, and prevent corruption in construction.

Our division oversees the construction of bridges, main roads and facilities. Our projects are very large and complex. The actual construction work is conducted by construction companies while the supervision remains in the hands of our division employees. Construction companies make reports to us on a regular basis or whenever it deemed necessary. And this previous process has revealed several problems.
Therefore, CPMIS was developed to address such inconveniences, to prevent corruption, and to systematically manage important information.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
By developing the CPMIS and the Construction Information System (CIS), it became possible for multiple construction companies to share information real-time. This enabled systematic construction project management, with which we were able to build high-quality infrastructure that increases the convenience experienced by Seoul citizens. Also, the new systems enabled us to accumulate data and build a feed-back system for the construction project data that could be used for benchmarking for future projects. The overall service quality has improved as the administration of the construction became more transparent and information on project progress became accessible to the general public.

We developed a standardized work process, thereby strengthening our position as an expert in the construction of roads, bridges, and public structures. We established a real-time online work processing system for the realization of e-government. We set the standards for construction processes for the relevant parties such as architectural companies, construction companies, and construction management companies. We not only provided an information system tool that supported systematic project management, but we also helped minimize the number of unnecessary on-site visits, thereby increasing the transparency of administration. We also helped the construction companies reduce their paper-based documents and build the foundation for electronic work processes. The information accumulated through the CPMIS will be made available for reference for future projects. The CPMIS thus functions as a feed-back system and a construction knowledge management system.

Our achievements through the development of the CPMIS can be summarized in the following three points.

First, by standardizing the work processes, we strengthened our position as an institution specializing in roads, bridges, and public structure construction projects. We also played a key role in realizing the e-government by establishing a real-time online work system which also helped the construction sites minimize the volume of their paperwork.

Second, we provided work process standards and information management tools to the relevant industry parties, such as architectural firms and constructions firms. This helped minimize unnecessary on-site visits and increase transparency of administration.
Third, we increased transparency in administration and the quality of our services in construction by disclosing information on construction progress to the public real-time.

By establishing an integrated management system that utilized advanced techniques such as installing web cameras on the construction sites that enabled remote supervision in office, we were able to reduce unnecessary on-site visits that previously involved a three-hour round trip two to three times a week. This contributed to a reduction in the construction period by around 5%. After the improved work processes were implemented, the time required to search for documents was cut from hours to mere minutes, which saved up to 60% in time. The time required to communicate with external parties used to take five hours on average considering the time spent on paper-based approvals and dispatch of documents. However, with the new system, the time required for communications was reduced to less than an hour, which contributed to an 80% reduction in time.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The CPMIS was developed by the construction engineers of the (former) Construction Safety Division which was in charge of the construction of Seoul’s urban structures at the time of system development. The CPMIS was developed to incorporate the needs for a systematic management tool among the construction engineers of the division, and the demand for real-time information sharing among the participants in a construction project. The various ideas and opinions of the related parties were collected and largely reflected in the completion of the final system.

The Construction Information System was built to reflect the citizen demand for the transparent disclosure of information on construction administration and Mayor Sehoon Oh’s search for ‘creative governance’ ideas to provide more transparent service to citizens. Dalgeun Chung of the (former) Construction Safety Division proposed the idea which eventually led to the development of the Construction Information System. And, a developer was selected (Bolim Information System) to develop the system.

(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 goal was to identify and address problems in advance through a real-time communications among different stakeholders and participants by developing an integrated and systematic construction project management strategy. Such strategy would allow for a consistent management of information throughout a construction project’s life cycle – from planning/survey, to design, to construction, and to post-management – thereby improving the quality of construction projects and providing high quality administrative services to the public through a transparent disclosure of information on the progress of construction projects.

Also, after the system was built, three rounds of advisory committee sessions were held before its official roll-out. And, throughout the course of the system development, working-level review meetings were held at least once a week to discuss how best to operate the system following its launch.

After the system was rolled-out, it went through further testing, modifications, and evaluations to increase its usability and create a safe operational environment. User requirements were collected and reflected in the system modifications. Practical user training sessions were also held to demonstrate how the new system could make work processes more convenient.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
After the system development plan was established, Bolim Information System was selected to develop the system through a bidding process and contract negotiations which included a technical evaluation.

The first two months of system development were spent on evaluating the current work processes. Then, the next three months were spent on system design in cooperation with the working-level employees. The program was then developed over the following five months based on the completed design.

One month after the development, the system was checked for errors and modified through a series of development tests, user tests, and integrated tests. Before the official roll-out, the system was tested in actual work scenarios to facilitate its adaptation to the work place.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
A number of problems were found during the several months in which the data, formats and work processes used on the construction sites were surveyed.

First, although there were guidelines our division used at that time, it was difficult to apply them in a standardized way because some of the guidelines were vague. In addition, the special requirements of construction sites meant that many items were often treated as exceptions. So, the document formats and data types vary for each site, causing further difficulties in applying the guidelines in a standardized way even for the same work.
In response, we standardized the data and document formats to support common work processes, and we inserted the clause “To be handled through the system” in various specifications and contracts.

Second, those who worked on-site were initially reluctant to adopt the new system. They were comfortable with old practices and did not understand the need for change.
We found it hard to ignore the voices of those who work on-site as they were the ones who would use the new system the most. No matter how good the new system was, it would be useless if it were not used at all. We also had to approach this problem very carefully because we knew that the work progress could actually slow down if we suddenly forced new work processes on the workers.

In the face of these challenges, by offering them incentives to create a win-win situation, we encouraged construction companies and construction management companies to adopt project management methods using the CPMIS provided by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, instead of using their own 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
During the planning stages, the Seoul Metropolitan Government determined the optimal system developmental approach. The system developmental plan was established after an expert review of the plan was carried out by the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Information System Planning Bureau . A company with a lot of experiences in handling the management of public construction projects was selected through a public bidding process that included a technical review. During the period of system development, advisory committee and working group sessions were held to ensure that problems do not occur when the system was actually applied to the real work process. The system also underwent two rounds of information system audits to build the best system possible.

System development was supervised by the Public Works Division in the Seoul Metropolitan Iifrastructure Headquarters . A working group and advisory committee were organized that consisted of managers from each department of the division. Visits were made to construction companies and construction management companies – the actual users of the system - to collect the user requirements, encourage their active participation and to promote the usability of the system. Participation from citizens and interested parties was also encouraged by reflecting their opinions, as well.
Among the 777 people that monitored the progress of Seoul’s city governance, only 18% knew about the Construction Information System website. Based on an analysis of the frequency of use among the 70 people who had visited the website, it was found that 48% had visited the site more than once a month.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Urban Infrastructure Division consisted of a working group that supervised the project, an advisory committee (expert group), and an auditor, while the system development company was made up of a project manager, quality management team, technical support team, standardization team, C-PMIS development team, electronic authorization system development team, validation team, and maintenance team. After the development of the CPMIS, two executive presentations and three working-level support group meetings consisting of 11 working level employees were held, and one progress report to the technical audit supervisor were made.
The working-level group, which was made up of 12 people from related departments to collect feedbacks related to work process improvement and system development and to conduct decision-making for each project phase (Three meetings were held to solve problems).

Experienced managers from different departments (administration, architecture, civil engineering, electronics, mechanicals, and landscape architecture), gathered to analyze and analyze the needs and review the workflows.
System developer Bolim Information System ran an internal development team and consulted with the working-level group whenever issues (issues, problems, flaws) arose, after which their conclusions were reflected in the project.
The number of documents, such as process reports (work order reports, status reports), between our division and the system developer, amounted to around 3,300 in 2010, 3,900 in 2009, 3,300 in 2008, and 2,500 in 2009.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Changes in the communications environment led by the internet and growing public demand for high quality and transparency have led to the need for customer-friendly policies that support online processes through regulatory reforms and the real-time disclosure of information. The CPMIS promises to improve the quality of large scale construction projects executed by all public institutions and also increase the administrative transparency of these projects.

The Korea Rural Community Corporation benchmarked our system when building its project management system. Other local governments also showed great interest in our system during the Local Information Innovation Exposition hosted by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. Our system was praised by outside experts and was awarded the most prestigious President Award, with scores that were much higher than those of other local governments.

Key points that can be benchmarked in the public sector

• Integrated database management covering each stage from planning, research, design, and construction to post-management.
• Increased work process efficiency through an electronic authorization system.
• Prevention of the corruption that typically accompanied reduced contact frequency with the construction company by minimizing unnecessary site visits through use of construction site images and real-time web-cameras.
• Accumulated reference data for use in similar future projects.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
We believe the improvement of construction project management, and establishing a collaborative management system for real-time sharing of information among project participants for identifying problems and seeking solutions is essential in providing the public with high-quality, convenient, and safe public structures. Through the transparent disclosure of information to the public, we can provide the public with credible administrative service and high-quality public structures.

Our system is composed of three parts.

First, a standard classification system which standardizes and manages construction project management components, such as projects, construction classification, organization, construction details, and etc.

Second, an electronic document exchange system which standardizes construction project management and handles these work processes through electronic documentation.

Third, a construction project management system which supports the integrated management of the data and information that arises in the course of construction project management.

Our division employees were initially skeptical about the rationale of the new system, but as they received repeated training and became familiar with the user manual, they started to respond positively to the system.
This was because the new system reduced the need to travel long distances with a hard copy in order to submit a report. Instead, site employees are now able to carry out this task over the internet while sitting in their office. Also, the new system allows data to be retrieved more quickly and easily.

The architectural and construction companies that work with our division are also responding increasingly favorably to the new system because it has reduced their work time and paperwork.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Civil Engineering Division, Infrastructure Headquarters, Seoul Metropolitan Government
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Seonhwi Cho
Title:   Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   02-3708-2546
Institution's / Project's Website:   02-3708-2599
Address:   Deoksugung-gil 15, Jung-gu, Seoul Metropolitan City
Postal Code:   100-739
City:   Seoul

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