DEVELOPING A CONSTRUCTION INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Yan-Chyuan Shiau, Ming-Teh Wang, Tsung-Pin Tsai, Wen-Chian Wang
Department of Construction Engineering
Chung Hua University
Abstract: Building market has been shortened for last few years and tremendously affected
the construction profit in Taiwan. In order to survive in such abominable environment, people
have put many efforts on construction methodology, materials, budget planning, and strategy
alliance. However, to properly enhance the construction management is the key issue to raise
company’s competition. Therefore, an effective administrating tool is a must in construction
life cycle such as estimating, bidding, procurement, scheduling, site managing, and valuation.
This research has utilized Object Oriented concept, E/R techniques and Delphi environment to
develop the Construction Integrated Manage System (CIMS). Through the help of this tool,
user can effectively generate Bidding List, Purchasing Materials, Labor and Material Analyze
Items and Specifications. Basic Database System can help us to modify resource prices to ad-
just budget, effectively control project cost and financial planning. Budget Control System will
inform engineers when overspend occurs. Purchasing System can assist us to select the best
subcontractors with most reasoning price. Valuation system can extract money request data
from site records; therefore, prevent the over-calculating and short-calculating to achieve a
better financial administration. With the help of CIMS, we can effectively control all details
such as bidding, purchasing, contracting and evaluating, for each construction stage. This in-
tegrated system can practically control all information, maximize construction management
efforts, raise company’s strength, increase competition, and create profit for construction in-
Keywords: Construction Management, Cost Control, Delphi, Object Oriented.
tivity and competitive strength of the tradi-
tional building industry
With the rapid development of information
technology, the traditional business behavior is To assist the industry in achieving the afore-
deeply affected by the e-Commerce, and the mentioned goal, the “Integrated Information
management strategies of traditional industries Management System for the Building Indus-
are undergoing a fierce evolutional change. try” is developed to integrate vertically the es-
The features of the e-Commerce include: timate, price assessment, bidding, price com-
parison, construction management, price cal-
A. Fast Speed – Real-time service, quick culation, payment request, and cash flow man-
response and update. agement. All the relevant information during
B. Large Quantity – Simultaneity, automa- the life cycle of a project I, and the calculation
tion and diversity. result of each pre-operation is stored in the
C. Lower Failure Rate – Digital data trans- system for future use to avoid any errors
mission reducing personal input errors. caused by repeated calculations and inputs.
D. Consecutive Service – 24-hour and 7-day
service for the whole year.
II. Structure and Function of the System
With the aforementioned advantages, the ser-
vices rendered by e-Commerce are better in The “Construction Integrated Management
quality than the services rendered by tradi- System” comprises the following modules:
tional providers. The traditional service pro- A. Basic Database
viders are much weaker in competitive B. Budget Module
strength in comparison with e-Commerce C. Procurement Module
companies as they are restricted by manpower. D. Price calculation Module
Thus, it is required to respond to the develop- E. Settlement Management Module
ment of this tendency to enhance the produc-
To integrate the sub-modules successfully, the for the low level tasks of the project (such as
study uses the object-oriented and network DOKA column formwork).
development tools to develop the modules.
The function of each sub-module is described 2.1.3 Material Analysis Data
as follows: The cost of a project is acquired by analyzing
2.1 Basic Database the costs of material, labor and machinery.
All the quantities and types of material, labor
Each building project is unique in its nature. and machinery for are created in the system for
Two buildings may have the same appearances, the use of decision makers.
but the underlying bearing capacity and the
conditions of neighboring houses are different 2.1.4 Project Data
from buildings to buildings. However, In addition to the numbering, name, location
common characteristics exist among the com- and type of a project, the project data contains
ponents (column, wall, beam and formwork), the data about the client number, contract
materials (such as steel bar, concrete, ceramic number, commencement data, finish data,
tile), laborers (laborers in charge of reinforced timeframe, contract price, contractor number,
steel, painting, plumbing) and documents and designer name.
(contract, construction instructions) used for a
building. 2.1.5 Subcontractor’s Data
Since such information is common for differ- The Subcontractor’s Data contains the data
ent projects, it is very useful to arrange it for about (Fig. 3):
future use so as to significantly educe the A. Basic Data (such as name, address, uni-
workload for data management and apply the form number, capital and performance)
cumulative experience for future projects. B. Business Items (Set upon the selection
The data contained in the database of the sys- from the database)
tem include the basic resource data, work data, C. Evaluation Data (including construction
material analysis data, project instance data, capability, reputation and financial
subcontractor’s data, labor data, project data, status)
owner’s data and database maintenance data D. Unit price (Quoted by each subcontrac-
(Fig. 1). tor)
2.1.1 Basic Resource Database 2.1.6 Owner’s Data
The Basic Resource Database contains the data The Owner's Data provides the data about the
of manpower, machinery, materials, and other unit number, telephone number, responsible
data concerning the resources to be used for person, address, e-mail address, uniform
the work. number of the construction company con-
cerned, project name, contact person, remark
2.1.2 Project Items and other data related to the owner.
The project items are the data contained in bid 2.1.7 Database Maintenance Data
documentations. In order to cope with com-
plex information for a project, we need to use The cost structure differs significantly from
Object Oriented concept to mimic real world projects to projects due to the difference in the
data by different objects. Based on the WBS location, timeframe, working environment,
, we make out the construction project items and nature of projects. To reflect the actual
into three levels (Fig. 2): Large Items (15 status, the user is allowed to set different con-
items), Medium Items (341 items) and Small struction conditions for different projects.
Items (3583 items). In this structure, Large The variables are adjustable according to the
Items are used for the high level items of the budget of each project and, in doing so, the
project (such as Reinforced Concrete Structure user may control the progress of the construc-
Engineering); Medium Items are used for the tion. When the unit price of any resource
middle level items of the project (such as Sys- changes, the user may adjust the cost and
tematic Formwork) and Small Items are used budget of the project concerned easily with the
assistance of the internal calculation of the 2.2.3 Bid Document Printing
The Bid Document Printing function of the
2.2 Budget Module Budget Module is used to print bid documents.
All documents of a project, or the data of indi-
The Budget Module is used to calculate the vidual works, units, houses or buildings can be
construction cost based on drawings, rules and printed separately or integrally without prob-
other documentations. The system uses indi- lems.
vidual works of the project concerned as a ba-
sis to estimate the quantities of labor, machin- 2.3 Procurement Module
ery and material required for each unit, which
will further be used as a basis for the pro- The procurement is the first step for a com-
curement and price calculation operations. pany to gain profits. The management may
use the Procurement Module provided by the
The Budget Module is designed based on an system to control dynamic market prices,
open structure to allow the user to define the conduct price negotiation, build advantageous
smallest budget unit in accordance with niches and create the highest profits. The
awarding and procurement. The awarding Procurement Module provides the functions
can be conducted by combining the labor and of:
material, depending on the nature and works
involved. The Budget Module of the system 2.3.1 Price Enquiry
provides the functions of budget preparation, Before the awarding is conducted, it is re-
budget adjustment and bid document prepara- quired to analyze the instructions, quantities
tion. and rules of the project and print relevant data,
2.2.1 Budget Preparation so as to control the site conditions and other
information before quotation is made and
The system divides the budget of a single work minimize the possible problems that may be
into several categories to reflect the actual encountered during the construction. The
status. The divided budget includes the con- system is capable to integrate the resources
struction budget, awarding budget, execution required for the project and analyze relevant
budget and closing budget. The system cre- works and materials before sending the price
ates different project budgets based on selected enquiry sheet. It will also prepare construc-
databases, work instances and reversed de- tion instructions and unit price analysis sheets
signs. for subcontractors to arrange their resources.
The system provides the following two price
2.2.2 Budget Adjustment enquiry approaches:
In general, the budget may be affected by A. Announcement via Network: The system
some factors appearing during the budget will announce the awarding information
preparation phase and needs to be adjusted. via network, including the name, location,
The system allows the user to adjust the budget works, scale, rules and instructions of the
by one of the following approaches: project. The subcontractors may regis-
A. Adjust the total work price based on a ter, enquire and print on line.
fixed percentage. B. Price Enquiry Sheet Printing Operation:
B. Estimate and evaluate the possible The price enquiry sheet provides the in-
change in price index in accordance with formation of awarding, project type,
the time set in the Construction Progress quantity, and unit price analysis and con-
Sheet for different resources. struction instructions. The printed price
C. Adjust the unit price of a resource that enquiry sheets will distributed to sub-
may be affected by external elements contractors so that they may arrange their
and cause the price to rise significantly. resources accordingly (Fig. 4).
The overall change of the work can also 2.3.2 Price Negotiation and Comparison
be calculated in this step.
The quotation of the subcontractors input in
the system and the data imported by the sub-
contractors on line are integrated to make a vestigated in the study to find out their short-
price comparison sheet. After the identities comings and the solutions to meet the demands
of the subcontractors are confirmed, the price of construction companies. The study also
comparison sheet and the awarding budget will analyzes the historical records of different
be considered carefully to form a basis for projects to investigate the difference in their
price negotiation. nature and create an integrated system that is
capable to handle multiple projects.
The system will integrate the data provided by
subcontractors and calculate the total score of 3.2 Analyses of System Features and User
each subcontractor objectively based on dif- Demand
ferent evaluation criteria and weights (includ-
ing the construction capability, management The process analysis technique is used to de-
capability, financial status, reputation and termine the functions and information flow
market advantages) . processes required for the system. All un-
necessary functions or processes are removed
2.3.3 Contracting Documentations to simplify the maintenance of the system.
The safety system is analyzed thoroughly by
This function is used to investigate what pro- investigating individual potential problems
jects and works a subcontractor has ever per- and risks of safety, their affection and possible
formed and the experience, financial status and solutions.
management capability of the subcontractor.
Surveys are done to users about their demand
2.3.4 Material, Labor and Machinery for the “Integrated Information Management
Requirement Sheet System for the Building Industry” to determine
This function is used to print the type, specifi- the requirements for each module, data type,
cations and quantity of the material, labor and printing format and other functions, in the
machinery required by a subcontractor to per- hope to provide the best interface operation
form the work. features for the industry.
2.4 Price calculation Module 3.3 Creation of the Basic Data Framework
The Price calculation Module is used to trans- The data processed by the system comes from
fer the data about the works and quantities the database. Therefore, it is crucial to create
from the site daily report system, and perform an effective integrated data framework. In
the price calculation for the current works and addition to referring to the database structure
quantities of the site. The system will read of existing construction management systems,
the data of the contract quantity, procurement the study also takes the habits of users into
counts and cumulative payment request counts consideration to create a basic data framework
for cross comparison and analysis. When that are appropriately integrated for each
finding that the payment request counts exceed module.
the procurement counts, the system will give 3.4 Programming of Each Subsystem
an alert. The management may control the
expected and actual construction status from The study uses Delphi and BDE Administrator
the system and prevent the occurrence of pos- as the development tools and makes use of the
sible problems as early as possible to minimize network database writing technique to write
the risk of loss. subsystem programs. In addition to the single
PC operation mode and the client/server de-
III. System Development sign concept, the system integrates the Internet
The system is developed through the following and multi-platform features. The standard
steps: Windows interface format is used to mini-
mize the difficulty in operation.
3.1 Analysis of Existing Systems and Col-
lection of Relevant Information 3.5 Test of System Functions
The existing construction management sys- In addition to confirming that the functions
tems available in the domestic market are in- designed for each module can run as expected,
the functions are tested to make sure that the 5.1 Basic Database
system can meet the demand of the industry.
The practical instances of the industry are col- The system divides the works to 17 large items,
lected for the test, and the comments of the 341 medium items and 3583 small items, and
users are analyzed for the modification of each integrates 1200 types of resources.
subsystem. The integrated test is performed 5.2 Budget Module
after all the functions of each subsystem have
been tested and confirmed. The objective of The system creates the project budget, award-
the integrated test is to make sure that the data ing budget, execution budget and settlement
stream runs smoothly between different mod- budget based on the data in the database, indi-
ules. The users confirm it after trial use that vidual projects and the latest plans. It also
the system is capable to demonstrate the func- provides three approaches to adjust budget
tions set for the industry and meet its demand. plans.
IV. Database Structure 5.3 Procurement Module
4.1 Classification of Works and Analysis of The system provides a very useful technique
Materials for the selection of subcontractors and the de-
termination of their weights, and allows users
The work data in the database is divided into to announce the project to be awarded via
three levels: Large Items (15 items), Medium Internet. The users may also use the system
Items (341 items) and Small Items (3583 to print the quotation submitted by subcon-
items). Users may use the work data to create tractors for price comparison and negotiation,
their own project data easily. The system also and select appropriate subcontractors in a fair
provides the material analysis sheet for each and objective manner.
work, and all the labor, machinery and material
fields in the material analysis sheet have their 5.4 Price Calculation Module
own resource numbering and quantity data.
The users may change or update the data stated The Price Calculation Module provides the
in the material analysis sheet from time to time works and quantities based on the data in the
and aggregate them to acquire the unit price of daily report system, and performs the price
the work concerned. calculation for the current works and quantities
of the site. The system will read the data of
4.2 Engineering Resources the contract quantity, procurement counts and
cumulative payment request counts for cross
The system contains 1100 resources and is comparison and analysis.
capable to analyze the resources required for
each work. The users may use the system to With the assistance of the system, construction
improve their finance management capability companies may effectively control the infor-
effectively, control the budget before com- mation they need and integrate vertically the
mencing the procurement procedure, and pre- budget development, procurement and price
vent the cost from exceeding its allowed range. calculation to carry out the construction man-
The database structure of the system is built agement more efficiently. The system is ca-
with ER/Studio (Fig. 5). pable to integrate the information scattered at
different sites via Internet in a real-time man-
V. Conclusion ner to optimize the construction management
The system is capable to integrate the tasks of of the construction company concerned, im-
a project, including planning, design, estimate, prove its competitive strength, enhance its or-
budget, procurement, documentation and price ganization, and bring it more profits.
calculation. It is a very useful tool for the
management of a construction company to
control its projects effectively. The system I would like to take this opportunity to show
provides the following functions: my appreciation to National Science Council,
Executive Yuan, for its support of the study.
Project No.: NSC 90-2211-E-216- 015
Fig. 1 Data Structure of the Basic Database Fig. 5 Database Structure of the System
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Fig. 2 Construction Project Dialog pp55~56, 2001.
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Fig. 3 Subcontractor Maintain Dialog
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Fig. 4 Subcontractor’s Quotation Dialog