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I J ~ ~ ~ I I J ~~ International
The development and value of a
construction material information
M E Woodbridge
Transport Research Laboratory
Berkshire RG45 6AU
United Kingdom PA3285197 PA3285/97 WOODBRIDGE, M E (1997).The development and value of a construction
material information system. Annual Roads Convention on Road Transport: The Key to
Development, Dar es Salaam, 24 -26 September 1997. THE DEVELOPMENT AND VALUE OF A CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL
M E Woodbridge*
*Senior Highway Researcher, Transport Research Laboratory, United Kingdom
The aggregates business significantly influences the economy and the environment and it is in the interests of everybody
that cost effective utilisation of aggregates occurs.,
The paper describes the creation of a materials information. system in Indonesia. The diverse geographical nature of the
country posed special problems in ensuring that a system useful to both central Government and the local provincial
engineers was devised. However, the results of the initial research were successful because the Indonesian Department
of Transport commissioned the local engineers' offices to carry out their own surveys. Later work was focused in
coordinating these surveys. Training courses were held to enable the engineers to carry out their own surveys and
process the data using a database software package. The training courses were very successful because the performance
in terms of quality and quantity of data improved but there is still scope to improve the utilisation of the system by
potential users. The package is to be linked with the Integrated Road Management System in Indonesia which may assist
in this respect.
When properly installed with accurate data the information system has many benefits. Data is available in a single
location and in a compact, standard format. The system is simple to understand and provides the basic information
required by highway engineers. The database can be manipulated to provide answers to specific enquiries. The data can
be updated when necessary without problems and can be usedu in conjunction with terrain classification and Geographic
Information Systems packages (such as MapInfo) to indicate potential new material sources. Costs of installing and
maintaining the system are not high. In short, it is an improvement on the status quo.
In the West, a~rgate consumption is currently about S tonnes per person per year. In developing countries the figure
is less, possibly between 1 and 2 tonnes per person. For Tanzania with an estimated population of 30 million an
aggregate consumption between 30 and 60 million tonnes annually is indicated. The location, exploitation and movement
of large tonnages of stone has a considerable impact on the economy and environment.
Construction aggregates are of low value and most of their cost to the consumer is for transport from the source to the
point of use. Aggregate prices in the UK average around £6 per tonne, whilst haulage is of the order of £0. 1 per tonne
per km. It is thus advisable to locate quarries as close as possible to the construction site but this is not always feasible
and depends on geological conditions. Before commencing any construction project, surveys are carried out to locate
raw materials. A review of the records is generally undertaken before embarking on field surveys but such records are
often either dispersed, out of date or of uncertain reliability. Obtaining good records is costly because it requires
With modem computer technology it has become possible to store any information systematically and compactly. The
information is capable of being analysed according to specific needs and the results can be produced and distributed
effectively. Spreadsheet or database software systems can be used but databases are more efficient at storing and
manipulating large amounts of data. Nowadays the two are interchangeable. If this information were available in one
central locality it would facilitate cost effective planning of road construction and maintenance and enable better
management of existing natural resources.
This paper describes the research undertaken to create an information system in Indonesia. The research was co-funded
by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the Department for International
Development (DfID) and carried out by staff of the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) of the Unlited Kingdom who
collaborated with a sister organisation in Indonesia, the Institute of Road Engineering (IRE). Similar work is also in
progress in some of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
342 ~~~~~~PAPER 5.2
Indonesia is divided into 27 provinces, including the capital Jakarta, spread over a vast area of land and sea far
exceeding that of the USA, see Fig 1. It is a country with an estimated population of 200 million, with diverse ethnic
groups and languages, although there is an official language spoken throughout the archipelago. Central Government
is located in Jakarta, a megopolis of 12 million people on the comparatively small island of Java, which has 7% of the
land area of Indonesia supporting 60% of the total population. Official policy is to encourage emigration to the eastern
provinces which are relatively underpopulated. There is thus a programme for the construction of many new or upgraded
roads in the eastern provinces. Apart from this, however, there is a need to maintain and, from time to time, rehabilitate
the existing road network and provide the resources for an expanding motorway system to alleviate traffic congestion
The Indonesian Government recognised the worth of a working materials information system to assist both the central
planning department and the provincial engineering offices. Quanrying activities are haphazard and most are unrecorded:
also, although regulations exist they are often not enforced. BY contrast, in the developed world quarrying operations
are now carefully regulated. Quairry output is controlled, reserves are measured and future development programmes
are required by law. Safety regulations are strictly enforced. In this way, usage trends and the effects of environmental
impact can be known in advance, and planning facilitated.
3 BENEFITS AND COSTS OF AN IINFORMATION SYSTEM
For road construction the location of suitable raw materials has generally been regarded as a specific task and costed
separately for each project. Because of the unavailability of good information and the uncertainty of locating suitable
raw materials close to the point of use, contractors usually quote a premium price for the construction aggregates.
However, if an accurate, concise and easy-to-use inventory system of material sources were available it would greatly
facilitate the planning and costing of construction projects. Materials appropriate to the type of construction planned
could be more easily selected and, conversely, shortages identified. The data would be available in a consistent format
and could be updated at suitable uintervals. In the end, the material supply costs would be better forecasted.
The costs of inistalling and maintaining an up-to-date database are not high compared to the potential benefits. One field
of three persons should be able to classify two deposits per working day. Laboratory facilities are required to carry out
testing but these are presumnably already available. A computer specialist plus an assistant are required for data
processing. The surveys could commence with a review of the existing data., following this stage the identification of
materials for current road projects could be undertaken. The data should be updated at appropriate intervals according
to the need.
The overall objective in Indonesia was to determilne the distribution, quality and quantity of construction matenials.
I lowever, for a project of this scope, there were different ohiectives for each participating orgarisation, see Table I.
Table 1 i Project Objectives for each participating organisation
Ind Dep of Transport Obtain data on the location, properties and cost of road materials.' identify shortages
I RE Develop the technical capability of staff., develop the methodology to collect &
______________________ proccss materials data, develop expertise to locate new material sources
TRI-Dfll) Develop meithokdologies transferable to other developing countries
113R~l Obtai bette infonationfor assessment of road management schemes
These- differences influenced the database design. For the local engineers a simple spreadsheet would probably have
been adequate but for central planning and research a more complex database was required and this was ultimately
343 chosen. The overall concept had to embrace all needs for the project to be sustainable.
5 PROJECT DESIGN
There have been three phases of development of the materials information system in Indonesia. The first two phases
involved the initial decisions regarding the list of data to be collected and the software system required to process it. A
database system was selected because the amount of data required were very large. Three database systems were worked
out: one simple one for entering reconnaissance and/or existing data, with approximately 60 data fields in two database
files: a much more complex one containing nearly 500 fields in 20 database files and a third system for detailed pit and
borehole information. All systems were linked via common data fields.
With the benefit of hindsight the systems initially developed should have been more user friendly. However, it was not unti the third phase, when the Department of Transport began to do its own surveys via the offices of the loeg,
engineers, that it was realised that the initial systems developed for the IRE geologists and engineers were too
complicated for the local engineers. A simpler standard field data collection form had to be devised, an appropriate
software system developed, training courses given to the local engineers in all aspects of the work including the
laboratory engineering testing of the samples, and periodic vetting of the performance of the provincial teams carried
out. No aspect of the work could be taken for granted and, clearly, it was essential to underline the importance of
obtaininig good quality data for the system to have any future credibility.
6.1 Field Form and Fieldwork
The field data collection form, agreed with IRE engineering staff, is presented in Figure 2. Properly completed, it
provides the basic data of raw material deposits, whether they are unconsolidated materials from rivers, soil/surface
weathered rock, or crushed hard rock from quarries. The form is easy to understand by non-geologists: it is divided into
several categories with many items, If an item consists of a series of options, the list of options is displayed on the field
sheet The data required is arranged in the order that the investigators might collect It. In other words they would seek
information concerning the location of the deposit first, followed by the general environment or setting of the deposit,
followed by details concerning the material itself, and so on. A list of possible laboratory tests is given: the choice of
which tests are necessary arc for the investigators to decide. The laboratory results would have to be entered on the form
later. The form presented is tailored for Indonesian conditions but could be adapted for other countries without difficulty.
Concerning the field work, a training course to explain and demonstrate the basic principles is essential, especially if
the personnel involved are not trained geologists. There are three topics of special importance:
how to determine the strategy and tactics of proceeding with a survey in a particular area, ie which quamres
to survey and in what order? This has caused difficulty, but reference to the national/local road building plan
primarily, followed by the need to investigate the main quarries in the major towns, would have top priority.
I. ~~~~~~~~how to determiine quarry location accurately on a map? Most local engineers found this a difficult task and
maps in Indonesia are not easy to obtainl However, it is of great importance, especially if the project is
expanded at a later stage with GIS software where accurate coordinates are necessary. To resolve the problem
I.,., ~~~~~~of map location the purchase of Geographic Positioning Systems, a hand-held apparatus which is relatively
inexpensive to buy and maintain (about $ 1000 when new for a modest model), easy to use and sufficiently
accurate for the purpose, was recommended.
how to collect representative samples from a deposit for laboratory testing'? This is not necessarily'a simple
task, especially fr-om soft surface deposits, but the implications are very important.
the standardisation of laboratory testing throughout Indonesia
6.2 Computer Work
The following describes the software developed for Indonesia but alternative arrangements can be made elsewhere.
The field and laboratory data is inputted into a personal computer using an adapted version of a database program, in
this case Foxpro 2.6 for Windows. Every province was provided with a copy of the software. The program is suitable
only for 386-DX computers or better, having a minimumn of 8 Mbyte RAM and runs on Windows 3.1 or 31 II. Most
-11 provinces had computers of this standard but for those who did not, a DOS version was provided. The software is contained on thr-ee standard diskettes and is easy to install. On opening the program, the user is presented with a series
of three screens similar in appearance to the field data collection form. New data can be entered or existing data browsed
(looked at) or changed. The software package has an advantage over the standard Foxpro software in that the data fields cannot be altered, thus ensuring standardisation in all provinces. It also has the capability to produce a standard report,
which basically is a print-out of the data shown on the screen. Whilst this may be suitable for the individual provinces,
a more flexible system may be preferred for the central office, or for research purposes. This can be produced in a standard manner from the database software coupled to a specialist software report writing package such as Report Writer, version 6.5 for Windows. This method has the advantage that only the data required for the particular enquiry
can be selected. Alternatively, and this may be more attractive for many users, the data may be down loaded to a
spreadsheet program for further processing.
In Indonesia it is planned that each province sends a copy of their completed diskette to IRE at the end of each fiscal year. All these data are then added to the master database, which is kept at IRE. Enquiries from the Department of
Transport are addressed through this database.
The Indonesian Department of Transport commenced their own data collection in the 1994/5 fiscal year. The project was intended to run five years with a total investment of about $500,000 per year, although a large percentage of this is required for administrative and other costs. Until the third aid project started in August 1995 there had been no assessment of performance of the provincial survey teams, which was not good. Training courses were held in June/July
1996 and Table 2 gives an indication in the improvement in performance as judged from several factors. These factors were the quality of the written report and number of deposits assessed, the results of random field checking of selected
provincial teams, the assessment of their computer skills and condition of the computers and the condition of the
Table 2: Indonesia: Evaluation of Provincial Survey Teams' Performance in Materials Information Project
1994/5 1995/6 1996/7
(25 provinces) (26 provinces) (iS5 provinces)
Total no of deposit~s 423 459 359
Performance Rating* 1 2 3 4 0 1 2 3 4 0 1 2 3 4. 0
Number in category 3 9 9 l 3 4 1 4 6 1 1 1 2 3 0 0 0
*Performance Rating: I, Good;, 2, Acceptable;, 3, Requires some improvement;, 4, Requires much improvement;' 0,
No report supplied.
8 POTENTIAL 1JSES OF MATERIAL INFORMATION
There are many potential uses and markets for the materials information system. In Indonesia at least the full potential of the system still needs to be realised. In Section 3 of this paper the benefits were outlined;, the potential uses can be summnarised as follows:
to use as a databank for Government planninglconsultantlcontractor
to make resources maps of a region
to identify new sources of materials (in conjunction with terrain maps)
to make land zoning maps
All potential uses would benefit by the incorporation of software systems linking text and numrerical data with spatial data in the form of maps. Geographic Information Systems software, such as Mapinfo, can perform this capability.
345 Ultimately, it should be possible to develop electronic resources maps which would clearly have a great advantage
over lists of deposits which require additional processing to interpret.
An example of the uses outlined above is provided by Bali. Although a province of Indonesia, Bali has a higher
profile and distinctive problems caused by the need to reconcile the different activities of its population. Fig. 3
presents the current (incomplete) state of the information system for Bali: selected data have been reproduced by the
Report Writer software. They indicate that all of the construction materials. utilised at the moment are alluvial
gravels and sands. Sources of hard rock aggregate, more suitable for some uses such as unbound road bases, need to
be identified. Fig. 4 shows the conflicting nature of all these activities on the land space available on Bali and
indicates the advantages of having a zoning map of the area.
1. The location, exploitation and movement of construction materials is a large undertaking requiring
considerable effort and having a significant effect on the economy and the environment. Making available and
maintaining accurate records of these materials is a worthwhile task and facilitates project planning.
2. The development of a computer database system to store and process quarry records is described. Key
elements of the system are that it should be straightforward and available to a large number of users. An
integrated training scheme covering all aspects of the data collection and processing is essential. The design
of a simple field form and accurate collection of field data are fundamental aspects of the system.
3. The benefit of a comprehensive database system is that it promotes cost effective utilisation of construction
materials. Data only has to be entered once and can be updated: are available in a standard format: materials
appropriate to the specific needs of a project can easily be identified: and the existence of potential new
4. The costs of installing and maintaining an information system are not high compared to the potential benefits.
5. The system can be made more user-friendly by combining the numerical data and maps via Geographic
Information Systems software packages.
6. For roads, the integration of the materials information system and the management planning system is an
important step facilitating more efficient development of the country's roads.
The research was undertaken in collaboration with staff from the Indonesian Institute of Road Engineering, part of the
Agency for Research and Development of the Department of Transport, all to whom thanks are due. The staff of the
local engineers' offices also provided essential assistance and cooperation in the management of the project.
M EIi Woodbridgc
Senior H ighway Researcher,
Trnusport Research Laboralory, 1 Iniled Kingdomi
1 111 / i
U ' CC
C.) INDONESIAN INSTITUTE OF ROAD ENGINEERING
JL. RAYA TIMUR 264, P0 Box No. 2 UJUNGBERUNG -BANDUNG 40294 -INDONESIA.
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