With the establishment of Local Government in Indian Sub-continent, a Military Board was created under Mr. Robert Napier in the year 1849 to execute all the public works in the territories of Punjab, the North-Western Frontier Province and the adjoining areas. In 1854 all Civil, Military and Public Engineering Works were placed under one department with Lord Robert Napier as it's first Chief Engineer. A separate directorate of canals was also created. Later on, Public Works Departments were established in all the provinces and were placed under one central control. Keeping in view the increase in public works demand, the following three branches were established in 1866:

  • Military Works Branch
  • Civil Works Branch i/c Irrigation etc.
  • Railways Branch

A modification to the administrative arrangements was made in 1869 and a separate Buildings and Roads (B & R) branch was created. In the B & R branch the post of consulting Architect was created in January 1914.

The activities of the PWD continued to increase and various canals Circles, Public Health Circles, sanitation and Water Supply Divisions and Circles were created keeping in view the demand and necessity of Civil Works.

On independence the B & R was placed under the control of one Chief Engineer and Secretary to Government to deal with all the matters connected with communications, buildings of all kinds, sanitation, water works and electrification of government buildings.

This system was changed in May 1962, when administrative reorganization of all the government departments took place. The century old system of a technical secretary interrupted in 1955 was now revived and the Communications & Works Department of the Government of West Pakistan came into being, with attached departments of B &R and Town Planning placed under it's administrative control.
The Post of Provincial Chief Engineer, B & R was abolished and replaced by five Chief Engineers with full technical powers , each in-charge of the respective region.

The following B & R organizations also functioned under the direct administrative control of the Communications & Works Department:

Bridge Directorate

This was headed by a Director of the rank of Superintending Engineer and acts as a consultant for all bridge design and construction works of the B&R department.

    Lt. (Retd). Sohail Ashraf
Secretary (C&W)
Feb 06, 2023 - Till Date
Muhammad Asif Bilal Lodhi
Jan 12, 2023 -  Jan 24, 2023
  Ahmed Mustajab Karamat
Dec 2022 - Jan 2023
  Mujahid Sherdil
May 2022 - Dec 2022
Capt. (Retd) Asad Ullah Khan
Nov 2019 - May 2022
  Tahir Khurshid
Sep 2019 - Nov 2019
  Mohammad Sheheryar Sultan (Sitara-e-Imtiaz)
Jun 2018 - Sep 2019
Mian Abdul Aziz
Mar 1962 - Oct 1964
  Field Marshal Lord Napier
of Magdal
Chief Engineer
Jul 1848 - Feb 1856

Building Research Station

This was set up in May 1961 and is also headed by an officer of the rank of Superintending Engineer. Building materials testing work and original research on buildings problems carried out by the Building Research Station.

Road Research Laboratory

This Laboratory is under the charge of a Director of the rank of Superintending Engineer and is engaged in investigation of and original research on road problems.

These days CWD is headed by a Secretary. The CWD comprises of three departments namely, Buildings, Highways and Architect Departments besides the three afore-said organizations.

The Buildings and Highways departments are further subdivided geographically into two zones. Each zone is headed by a Chief Engineer. Architect Department is also headed by a Chief Architect. Mr. Mian Muhammad Mushtaq Ahmad is the present Secretary of C&W Department.