21st Century Smart Nation run by 20th Century Bureaucrat

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by CF Lai

14 Nov 2018 01:23PM

Ms. Amy Khor once announced that the GREENMARK target for building public buildings by 2020 to achieve are:

#1 - Existing public buildings - Gold Plus

#2 - New public buildings - Platinum

Well and good, when you add in expensive LED lights, energy efficient air-conditioning equipment, lots of greeneries, water saving features, blah .. blah ... and they all pat themselves on their back till they twisted their shoulders out of shape.

But one thing those bureaucrats didn't informed Amy Khor is those tonnes of paper waste generated during construction stage, entire forest of trees destroyed just to submit hard copies to those bureaucrats that demanded hard copies (sometimes as much as SEVEN SETS!!!) in every submission to them. have they ever heard of ELECTRONIC FILINGS SYSTEM?

In 2008, when I was working in Macau in construction management for a multi-billion US$ mega casino-resort project at Cotai Strip. As usual, we asked for 10s of filing cabinets and drawing hangers. The Australian Project Director turned us down and informed us to go paper-less and each manager is entitled to ONE FILING CABINET only.

His rationale is that we are using electronic document control system where all mails, drawings, documents and transactions amongst employers/project management/consultants/contractors/suppliers go on-line and paper-less (only paper is for contractual letters and payments). All shop drawings are commented on-line via WORK-FLOW and despatched to all parties via electronic document control system.

Plus reducing the number of filing cabinets and drawing hangers for 70 to 100 site staff will reduce costs by reducing floor area for site offices.

Kudos to MOH for using the paperless patient records at polyclinic where doctors will have all patient records on their PC. Unlike those days where registration office will need an attendant to carry all those patient paper records to each and every doctor room.

Now, fast forward to even present day for LTA Projects where project officers still insisted on multi-hardcopies from contractors for their submittal reviews. Don't LTA officers never heard of electronic document management system where they can use WORK-FLOW to comment and highlighted on-line onto electronic copies and then return to contractors/suppliers paper-less?

Worse, apparently, each project officer is working independently of each other and contractors will have to repeat exactly the same kind of submissions to each and every project officers independently.

E.g. if a contractor secured said, 7 no. MRT station projects, he cannot submit one time for the exactly the same equipment or material used for all 7 MRT stations.

Instead, the poor contractor has to repeat the same submittals SEVEN times to SEVEN different project officers! And multi-sets of hardcopies too for each and every project officer!

And for the past 30+ years since MRTC time, the same old material and equipment used since 1980s NSEW MRT Lines, the poor contractor/supplier has to repeat the submission of the same old material or equipment all over again for every new MRT project. What a waste of resources and labour and no wonder LTA has such a high overhead with such "low productivity" and due to extensive labour expenditures.

In 1986, when I was involved with Tiger Brewery construction, I was attached to Heineken technical Division for one week to rationalise their design to comply with Singapore Standards. Heineken explained to me that regardless of whether the Brewery is in Europe or Africa or PNG or Singapore, they had standardise their material and equipment such that in case of nay emergency, they can despatch their Holland engineers to anywhere in the world and they will know that it will be the same standard and equipment they all are trained on.

And they had established their "Heineken Material and Engineering Standards and Codes" to cut-down wastage and time spend on tender and evaluation.

Now, Khaw Boon wan talked about standardisation. isn't it time for MPT and LTA to develop their own "LTA Material and Engineering Standards and Codes" to stream-line all procurement and to cut down on manpower and time to spend efficiently for equipment and material review and approval?

Instead of waiting for months for LTA Project officer to review and approve submittals, standardisation will cut down this lengthy process to days or weeks!

Dear Mr. Khaw Boon wan, isn't it time to drag LTA into a paper-less world, a 21st Century Smart Nation?

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