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BCA launches new rebranding roadmap

The Building and Construction Authority is looking to make improvements to the built environment industry with a five-year rebranding roadmap.

SINGAPORE: Dirty, male-dominated and laborious.

These may be some of the impressions the public has of the built environment industry, which also includes the construction sector.

But the Building and Construction Authority is looking to change that -- with a new five-year rebranding roadmap.

Rolled out this week, it aims to attract and retain local talent in industries ranging from architecture, to engineering consultancy and construction. It also aims to attract more women to the sector.

"We are going to tell them that we are beyond bricks and mortar; we actually do offer a meaningful career, in particular in the development of green buildings, universal design," said Neo Choon Keong, Group Director, Manpower & Strategic Policy Group, Building and Construction Authority. "We are also going into innovations and technologies."

And one of the things the roadmap will look at is improving the work environment in the sector such as shifting from on-site construction to prefabrication off-site to provide a safer and cleaner work environment.

Prefabrication is currently being done in about 70 per cent of public housing projects, and BCA hopes more private companies will catch on.

The BCA had earlier said it will roll out more land tenders to build some 10 integrated construction and precast hubs by 2020. Singapore currently has two of such hubs.

Another focus of the roadmap is to attract more women into the sector. And this will be done mainly through a new pledge to enhance human resource practices.

The pledge is the first BCA-coordinated initiative to improve HR practices in the built environment sector.

Companies including developers, architecture and engineering consultancies and builders which have signed the voluntary pledge will have to commit to adopting good HR practices.

These include introducing flexible work arrangement schemes.

"Of course we are trying to bring more (females) to join the consulting side, they can be architects and engineers," said Neo.

"We are also trying to bring them to join the contractor side and we think we have a better chance if we can improve the working conditions and the HR practices, definitely this (built and environment sector) is one sector we can bring in females."

The overall rate of female participation in the labour force is at about 50 per cent, but in the built environment sector the number is half of that -- according to the Building and Construction Authority.

"We are moving towards greater productivity, much more safety. There's the green and gracious builder scheme," said Suria Abdul Rahman, Assistant Manager, Straits Construction. "And so I would say that the industry has basically evolved to make it more conducive, and a better environment."

BCA is also targeting students and their teachers, in creating greater awareness of the sector as a career option.

Structured internships will also be introduced for polytechnic and university students in built environment courses. The BCA will be involved in developing guidelines for companies to enhance internships for students.

The agency will also introduce a three to five day Teachers' Attachment Programme to help teachers provide better career guidance to students.

Lecturers teaching built environment courses at the Institute of Technical Education will get the first-hand taste of the course later this year. It will subsequently be rolled out to polytechnics and Junior Colleges.

The BCA also intends to raise the number of locals in the built environment sector. Currently locals comprise a quarter of the workforce and the BCA hopes to raise that figure to about one-third. 

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