Problem



Poor governance in construction of public facilities such as schools and roads is a major concern in some countries including Pakistan. Construction is a major sector in terms of financial outlay of a district government and is responsible for the development of infrastructure for citizen services and improved quality of life. However, low quality construction leads to poor service delivery to citizens and ultimately erodes the writ of the state. Moreover, small scale projects in rural areas are mostly executed by local contractors who have not studied civil engineering formally. According to anecdotal evidence, there is rampant corruption in such projects by the contractors in collusion with the government officials.

Solution

Careful monitoring of construction projects, especially small scale projects in remote and rural areas is an important governance task to ensure that the work done is up to requisite quality level. Hence, we have devised an innovative way to ensure that such projects are carefully monitored to minimize chance of corruption. Standardized quality testing procedures are available in civil engineering practice but such procedures require lab testing and expensive field equipment which are not deployed for small scale projects which we will target. Low-cost cameras and smart phone will be used for the monitoring of small scale construction projects which are of high frequency and carried out by mid or low-level contractors. These are the projects that are mostly likely to be neglected in terms of their monitoring requirements. Our main focus is on small road construction and small-scale building projects.

Process

Construction monitoring process

  • The field monitor will visit the construction site and take photographs from his smart phone or a DSLR of the critical construction stages and the materials used in the stages according to a pre-defined protocol.
  • The pictures will be timed and geotagged by the smartphone or DSLR.
  • The photographs will then be transmitted and uploaded to a provincial construction-monitoring server.
  • At the office, the trained civil engineers or auditors will review the photographs and record their observations on the quality of the construction work. The auditor will then take one of three actions for each of these pictures:

    • Mark the quality of construction as being satisfactory
    • Mark the construction as being deficient in quality
    • Request additional pictures to be able to make a decision
  • If the quality is satisfactory then no further action needs to be taken and the protocol and stage of construction will be marked as being approved.
  • The payments for the next step are only released to the contractor if the review cell approves the construction stage being monitored.