Public Works Department is one of the very prominent departments of the Government of Kerala and is the statutory authority for designing, planning, monitoring, constructing and undertaking maintenance of public works of the State Government such as Government Buildings, Roads, Bridges etc, irrespective of the source of funds for the same. The Department is headed by the Minister for Public Works and the Secretary to Government at the Secretariat. The present organisational structure of the Public Works Department is mainly divided into various wings based on the nature of works and each wing is under the administrative control of a Chief Engineer. Under the Chief Engineer, there are Superintending Engineers or circle offices. Each circle consists of a number of Divisions under the control of Executive Engineers. The Divisions are divided into subdivisions under the control of Assistant Executive Engineers and the Subdivisions in turn are divided into a number of Sections under charge of Assistant Engineers. Apart from this, organizations like Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP), Kerala State Construction Corporation Ltd (KSCC), Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB), Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala Ltd (RBDCK) and Road Infrastructure Company Kerala Ltd (RICK) also functions under the department.
The history of Kerala Public Works Department can be traced way back from 1823 in the State of Travancore (which later formed the major part of Kerala State following the reorganisation of states in 1956) with the formation of the Maramath Department as a branch of the Huzur Cutchery (Government Secretariat) with an executive branch known as the Panivakai Maramath. During 1854, this was converted in to Public Works Department. The budget system was started in 1862and the expenditure of the department brought under due control and in 1898 a new scheme was drawn up for auditing the accounts of the department. The PWD Code was introduced in 1901. The number of offices, officers and their salaries in the department was periodically reorganised in the later years. On March 19- 1934, a new Irrigation Division with three sub-divisions and nine Sections were formed to carryout Irrigation works in the State excluding the area commanded by the Kothayar Project. The Water Works and Drainage branch was separated in 1935 and organised in to a separate department. Later on as per the G.O (P) No 27/90/PW & T dated 29th March 1990 the Public Works Department was bifurcated into two departments viz, Public Works Department and Irrigation Department with effect from 1st April 1990. Over the years the Public Works Department has grown substantially and now has eight wings, two project wings and six public sector undertakings.