Channel NewsAsia

Khaw: 5 steps to promote adoption of smarter technology in construction sector

Developers of selected Government land sale sites will be required to use such innovative methods, which save time and labour costs, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote in a blogpost.

SINGAPORE: Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan spelt out five steps that the authorities are taking to speed up the adoption of intelligent, more productive technology in the construction sector.

Such "game-changing construction technologies ... will boost our construction productivity and reduce our reliance on construction workers", he wrote in a blogpost on Thursday (Aug 14).

"The desired outcome of these efforts is for our construction industry to be cleaner, quieter and faster, without compromising on safety and quality."

The five steps outlined by Mr Khaw are:

  1. The Government will deploy such technologies in selected public sector projects.

  2. It will be a requirement for successful bidders of selected Government land sales sites to adopt productive technologies like Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT).

  3. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will provide funding support to adopters of such technologies.

  4. The BCA, SPRING Singapore and industry players are working closely to develop Singapore Standards on the codes and guidelines for these new technologies.

  5. The BCA Academy will roll out a series of workshops and seminars on new technologies to build up expertise in the industry.

SAVING MANPOWER AND TIME

Mr Khaw cited an extension to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel and an upcoming sports hall at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) as examples of how such new technology can speed up construction projects.

A 10-storey building extension to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel, owned by OUE Limited, will be constructed using the PPVC method, which will see complete flats or modules manufactured in factories, then transported to the site for installation and stacked to join "in a lego-like manner", according to an MND factsheet.

As PPVC relies on building components manufactured in a factory, it reduces the need for workers, and cuts down on noise and dust at construction sites.

“As a developer, we are constantly looking for innovation and more efficient ways of building our properties, especially in land and labour-scarce Singapore,” said Mr Thio Gim Hock, Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director of OUE, the first property developer to adopt this method of construction.

The NTU will be constructing its sports hall using CLT - timber manufactured from wood harvested from sustainably managed forests, and fabricated by binding layers of timber at 90 degrees with structural adhesives to produce a solid timber panel, according to the MND.

"CLT is a new construction material which is safe and is commonly used in Europe. CLT meets the same fire safety requirements as concrete and steel. Our Singapore Civil Defence Force has assessed the material and is allowing the use of CLT for buildings up to 24 metres," Mr Khaw wrote.

He noted that PPVC and CLT enable manpower and time savings of up to 50 and 35 per cent, respectively, compared to conventional construction methods.  

Added BCA Chief Executive Officer Dr John Keung: “I am glad that more of our developers such as OUE are coming on board to adopt such game-changing construction technologies. This signals the transformation of the industry towards higher productivity, minimising construction work on-site.

"The Government will continue to push for technological advancements in the built environment sector through generating lead demand, funding support as well as building up the ecosystem and expertise for these technologies."

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia