Topic: Construction Industry
I read with interest your article in the Caribbean Report, of 24 October 2012, titled “ Doing Business just got harder: Jamaica slips two Spots in World Bank Rankings”. It is clear, from the assessment, that regulatory reforms were instituted in the majority of economies to improve ease of doing business. But, it might not be clear how much new technologies played a part in the best of the regulatory practices. This in mind, I write to briefly explain how Singapore manages to lead the world: at least with regard to dealing with construction projects.
As early as 1995, Singapore’s Ministry of National Development implemented a project called CORENET: which stands for Construction and Real Estate NETwork. Its objective was to re-engineer processes in the construction industry to achieve faster turn-around times, as well as increased productivity and quality. CORENET was implemented by the Singapore Building and Construction Authority in collaboration with other public and private organizations. An I.T. infrastructure was developed to facilitate integration of processes in a building’s life cycle: such as Design, Procurement, Construction, and Maintenance.
The current effort provides (1) information services to speed up business planning and decision making; (2) electronic building plan submission, checking and approval; as well as (3) IT standards for communication between involved parties. The benefits involve provision of (a) one-stop convenience for private and public sectors alike; (b) one-stop submission of plans to multiple authorities from any location at any time; (c) online access to check submission status; and (d) single billboard for approving authorities to post submission status.
While we argue how to approve submissions within 3-months, Singapore is doing it earlier. But, this did not occur overnight. It started with the political will to improve the system, then the allocation of resources and controls to achieve it. It really depends on how important business is to the political directorate and whether it is willing to look beyond short-term fixes to a long-term overhaul for the ultimate good of Jamaica, and those doing business in it.