New evaluations to assess, prioritize works projects

The Construction Ministry will introduce a new evaluation system for public works projects, calculating social and economic losses caused by delays in their schedules, ministry officials said Saturday.

The new method is aimed at improving cost efficiency and facilitating smooth implementation of public works, using the hitherto neglected concept of time management, they said. Specifically, the ministry will calculate and present to the public assumed losses to be caused by a possible delay in works projects.

The ministry plans to use such an evaluation in seeking the understanding of local residents, especially in purchasing land necessary for the project. The evaluation will serve as a guideline in selecting priority projects at a time when the government faces acute fiscal constraints, the officials said.

The ministry officials also said that they hope the new measure will provide greater transparency in state budget allocations.

The ministry will soon ask its affiliated think tank, the Research Institute of Construction and Economy, to study specific means of evaluation.

The introduction of such an evaluation method was proposed by a series of advisory panels. as a way to improve cost efficiency of major public works projects, such as dam and road construction. The institute’s earlier model study on a project to construct a bypass road in Kanagawa Prefecture has shown that a three-year delay in the project would cost additional 9.4 billion yen, or 24 percent more than what would have been otherwise.