For discussion FCR(97-98)49
on 7 November 1997


Architectural Services Department
New Subhead "Expansion of computer-aided drafting system"

Members are invited to approve a commitment of $12.5 million for expanding the existing computer-aided drafting system.


The computer-aided drafting (CAD) system in the Architectural Services Department (Arch SD) cannot cope with the substantial increase in the quantity and complexity of CAD drawings required for building and maintenance projects.


2. The Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S), with the support of the Secretary for Works and the Director of Information Technology Services (DITS), proposes to expand the existing CAD system by acquiring 78 additional workstations and related hardware and software.


3. The existing CAD system in Arch SD consists of 115 workstations shared by some 350 technical officers who are engaged, among other things, in drawing production. This sharing, at a ratio of three officers to one workstation, has resulted in some of the technical officers having to resort to manual drafting in carrying out their drawing-related duties. This is not satisfactory. We propose to expand the existing CAD system on the following grounds -

  1. To cope with the increased workload
  2. Since the setting up of the CAD system in the department in 1984, the expenditure on building projects has increased by 5.8 times (from $1,424 million in 1984-85 to $8,300 million in 1996-97). In terms of the number of projects, the increase has been significant over the past two and a half years (from 353 in March 1995 to 915 in October 1997). Furthermore, we anticipate that there will be about 1 100 projects being managed in 1998-99 (i.e. 20% increase over 1997-98) and that the workload will remain at a consistently high level in the coming years. To cope with the increasing demand for CAD services generated by these projects, we consider it necessary to acquire additional CAD workstations.

  3. To handle multi-task applications
  4. CAD is no longer a pure production tool for limited applications. We also use the system to perform non-drafting tasks such as conversion of hard copy information into soft copies, network administration and checking of digital drawings submitted by consultants and contractors. Another important non-drafting function of the system is to facilitate the sharing of information. An expanded CAD network offers a wider interface with other information technology systems in the department. Multi-disciplinary team work, which is common in Arch SD, involves the sharing of information. With the help of the CAD, we can share drawing information and re-use it with modifications where necessary by other systems, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the multi-disciplinary work of the department. The inclusion of these non-drafting functions in the system has raised the usage rate considerably.

  5. To meet industry standards
  6. CAD is widely used in the building industry and has become the de facto "tool-of-the-trade" for drawing production. Compared with manual drawing, CAD can produce drawings of much higher quality and accuracy, thus reducing chances of mistakes and risks of claims. There has been a growing tendency for Arch SD's client departments to request the use of CAD. The Hospital Authority has, for example, requested that all its projects costing $10 million or above should employ CAD.

  7. To address environmental concern
  8. The CAD system uses digital format in lieu of hard copies for the production and transmission of drawings and is thus a more environmentally-friendly tool.

4. The proposed expansion will achieve the following objectives -

  1. to provide more tools for CAD operators for drawing production;
  2. to enhance the existing system for handling bitmaps, complex graphics and Chinese annotations;
  3. to provide an easy-to-install-and-maintain intelligent connection to major CAD/design networks to facilitate data communication;
  4. to integrate existing CAD workstations and microcomputers in one system; and
  5. to cater for network administration and support.

5. The proposed expansion will improve considerably the workstation to officer ratio to slightly better than one to two. While the ideal may be to achieve a one to one workstation and officer ratio, we consider it more appropriate to carry out the expansion by phases so as to enable users to better integrate into the system and to allow time for adjustments to be made. We will consider the need for further expansion of the system in the light of experience.

6. We plan to implement the proposed expansion in accordance with the following timetable -

(a) Preparation of tender document October to December 1997
(b) Tendering January to April 1998
(c) DeliveryMay to June 1998
(d) Installation and commissioningJuly to September 1998


Non-recurrent cost

7. The estimated total non-recurrent cost is $12.5 million, broken down as follows -

$ million
(a) Hardware/software 11.9
(b) Site preparation0.3
(c) Training0.3

8. As regards paragraph 7(a), the expenditure of $11.9 million is for acquiring workstations, peripherals, servers, software and cabling for the expanded system. A list of the hardware and software included in the proposed expansion is at the Enclosure.

9. As regards paragraph 7(b), the expenditure of $300,000 is for acquiring additional furniture and electrical sockets, etc. for operating the additional computer equipment.

10. As regards paragraph 7(c), the expenditure of $300,000 is for the training of staff to operate, administer and manage the expanded system.

11. Computer support groups of individual disciplines will process the tender and manage the expanded CAD system under the guidance of the Departmental Information Strategy Management Committee. We do not require additional staff for implementing the project.

Annually recurrent cost

12. The proposed expansion of the CAD system will result in additional annually recurrent expenditure of $1.25 million from 2000-01 onwards upon the expiry of the warranties for the system. The breakdown is as follows -

(a) Hardware maintenance620
(b) Software licenses and maintenance300
(c) Consumables 300
(d) Rental of communication lines30

13. As regards paragraph 12(a), the annual expenditure of $620,000 is for maintenance of the expanded portion of the CAD system.

14. As regards paragraph 12(b), the annual expenditure of $300,000 is for annual charges for software licenses and maintenance support of the expanded portion of the CAD system including the database and other supporting software.

15. As regards paragraph 12(c), the annual expenditure of $300,000 is for acquiring consumables such as toner, ink cartridges, storage media, back-up tapes and plotting paper.

16. As regards paragraph 12(d), the annual expenditure of $30,000 is for the rental charges for telecommunication lines for the expanded portion of the CAD system.

17. This project will have no impact on fees and charges for services as Arch SD's CAD system only provides services to in-house staff and their counterparts in related departments working on Government and subvented projects.


18. We implemented the existing CAD system, which now comprises 115 workstations, two pen plotters and two electrostatic plotters, in three phases in 1985, 1989 and 1994 to improve Arch SD's productivity in drawing production.

Works Bureau
October 1997

Enclosure to FCR(97-98)49

List of Hardware and Software Required for the Propsoed Expansion of the Computer-aided Drafting System

ItemQty DescriptionOne-off

178PC with Pentium Pro 200MHz minimum CPU, 64MB RAM, 2GB Harddisk and 19" Monitor2,730136.5
26Main File Server with Dual Pentium 200MHz minimum CPU, 128MB RAM, Fast Wide SCSI I/O Interface and Hot-swap ability72072
33Backup File Server with Pentium Pro 200MHz minimum CPU, 64MB RAM, Fast Wide SCSI I/O Interface18018
44RAID 5 Compatible Harddisk Array each with not less than 20GB initial storage and capable of expanding to 40GB44044
54Tape Drive Backup System, each capable of backup one harddisk array12012
62Low end large volume disk storage16016
71Colour Plotter909
81Heavy duty plotter24024
920A3 Laser Printer (2 nos. per floor)40040
Network ethernet -upgrade the backbone and the adapters to allow a full transmission of 100Mbps throughout the network

600 Fast ethernet60060

40 24 ports hubs 1,080108

11 BCN Fast Ethernet Adapters93593.5

111Network Operating System for 6 File Servers and 300 PC Workstation30024
1278AutoCAD License without AME1,404102
1320User licenses of CAD overlay software300 24
1430User licenses of CAD 3-D modeling software60048
1578User licenses for Chinese Add-on software27322.3
1620Licenses for third party software for architectural applications, e.g. plumb/drain drawings30024
1720Licenses for third party software for building services applications, e.g. airconditioning layout30024
1820Licenses for third party software for structural engineering applications, e.g. steel drawings30024

Site preparation200-



Last Updated on 5 November 1997