Technology Blueprint for the Local Construction Industry in Place

The National Computer Board, together with the Ministry of National Development and the Construction Industry Development Board, have put in place an integrated technology masterplan for the Singapore building and ...

Singapore, 2 December 1996 | For Immediate Release

The National Computer Board, together with the Ministry of National Development and the Construction Industry Development Board, have put in place an integrated technology masterplan for the Singapore building and construction industry to help it use IT strategically to raise efficiency, productivity and quality.

A key component of the masterplan is an integrated construction and real estate network, CORENET, which will link various players in the construction and real estate sector to enable them to communicate and exchange information seamlessly.

When CORENET is fully implemented, it will radically reengineer the industrys bUsiness processes. Architects and engineers will be able to perform plan checking electronically. They will also be able to submit development applications and design drawings to different government agencies simultaneously, through electronic means. Quantity surveyors will be able to make calculations automatically with the help of intelligent systems, while procurers will be able to make tender annoucements, handle submissions and compile tenderers information electronically through the network.

Since the CORENET initiative was announced in September last year, steady progress has been made. Government agencies and the private sector have collaborated to bring about a comprehensive suite of systems and services under CORENET. These range from building plan checking and submission to automated quantity takeoff and online information services.

Building Plan Checking

A suite of building plan checking systems is being developed to enable architects and engineers to submit their architectural building plans for new residential and commercial building projects to the building authorities in a CD-ROM and over the network. This will replace the manual method of submitting multiple copies of bulky paper drawings. The system will run on most commercial CAD packages. The system will minimise paper usage, enable consistency in evaluation, expedite approval, and ultimately, shorten the development cycle. About 200 architectural firms stand to gain from productivity and manpower savings from the plan checking systems.

BP-Expert, developed by the Building Control Division in Public Works Department, will be the first building plan checking system to be released in early 1997. Six private sector architectural firms are currently participating as pilot sites in the project to ensure that the system conforms to local design and drafting practices. Development efforts are also ongoing to test the submission of building plans over the network. The plan is to eventually allow the private sector to practice self-check so that engineers need only submit plans that require permission for waivers. Several CAD vendors are also in the process of customising their CAD systems to ensure that they support the requirements of BP Expert.

Work is currently ongoing to develop similar plan checking systems in various government agencies responsible for checking other building plan types covering structural plans, fire codes, sewage, development control, car parks and roads.

Automatic Quantities Take-off

Another exciting development is CORENETs Automatic Quantities Take-off System. The system reads directly from CAD drawings and automatically calculates the precise amount of building material required for any given part of a building. This tedious and predominantly manual task is currently carried out by quantitiy surveyors. A prototype which is compliant to the British Standard Methods of Measurement practiced by our local construction industry has been completed at the Public Works Department. The Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers is now studying the impact of such a system on the practices of local quantity surveyors.

On-line Information

CORENETs homepage ( is already the de facto website for the local construction industry with links to all relevant government sites and local professional bodies. Examples of services in the CORENET homepage are government land sales results, property sales record, Geographic Information Systems Maps and construction and real estate statistics.


Training programmes will be made available in the use of the various CORENET systems and services. The NCB and the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) will be coordinating these training programmes. Currently, 25 architects and draughtmen from the pilot sites have been trained to use the architectural plan checking system.

The success of the technology masterplan for the local building and construction industry hinges on greater dialogue and cooperation on the part of the various construction disciplines as they migrate towards a shared paradigm. To this end, the NCB and the CIDB has facilitated the formation of the Singapore Chapter of Industry Alliance for Interoperability (IAI). The goal of IAI is to define, promote and publish a set of open standards as a basis for information sharing through the building project life cycle and across disciplines and technical applications.