Higher energy performance standards for green buildings; S$19 million to support construction sector SMEs to digitalise

Higher energy performance standards for green buildings; S$19 million to support construction sector SMEs to digitalise

HDB BTO flats under construction
HDB BTO flats under construction. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A new Singapore Green Building Masterplan which is being worked on will bring Singapore closer to its 2030 goal to green 80 per cent of gross floor area of its buildings. It is the fourth such masterplan.

The new masterplan will raise the minimum energy performance standard for all buildings said Minister of State for National Development Zaqy Mohamad during the ministry’s committee of supply debate on Wednesday (Mar 4).

To enable greater transparency in building energy performance, he said all buildings will be identified when the data is published. 

“The best performing buildings will serve as role models to encourage others to improve their own energy efficiency,” said Mr Zaqy.

More details will be shared later this year.

“As DPM (Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat) emphasised during Budget, we must remake our city to meet the challenges of climate change. Buildings account for over 20 per cent of our emissions,” said Mr Zaqy.

They are an important part of Singapore’s climate change mitigation strategy, he added.

NEW CONSTRUCTION AND FACILITIES MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY DIGITAL PLAN

A new Construction and Facilities Management Industry Digital Plan will provide a three-stage roadmap to guide small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to adopt digital technology under IDD. IDD integrates the entire construction work process using digital technologies.

READ: Going digital: Singapore’s construction firms embrace artificial intelligence and virtual reality

The BCA has set aside S$19 million until Jan 2023 under the Productivity Solutions Grant, as part of BCA’s efforts to help firms defray costs of adopting pre-approved digital solutions to improve productivity. Firms can apply through the Business Grant Portal.

“SMEs will be guided to assess their level of digital readiness and identify digital solutions that benefit businesses … SMEs can receive up to 70 per cent funding for pre-approved solutions,” said Mr Zaqy.

INCREASING CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTIVITY

DfMA - which prefabricates building components in factories to be assembled on-site - will become the “default way of building”, said Mr Zaqy, adding that the public sector will take the lead in this.

As such, S$120 million will be set aside under the Public Sector Construction Productivity Fund for public sector agencies to adopt DfMA for projects launched by 2021.

Mr Zaqy added that BCA will continue to enhance its buildability framework to progressively require higher buildability standards for developments such as commercial and institutional buildings.

Additionally, BCA will incorporate DfMA technology into the structural, architectural and Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing designs for buildings, said Mr Zaqy.

In 2019, the construction industry achieved a DfMA adoption rate of 31 per cent, which places the industry on track to meet the 40 per cent target this year. BCA aims to raise this to 70 per cent by 2025.

READ: Construction demand hit 5-year high in 2019; to remain strong in 2020, medium term

MAKING JOBS ATTRACTIVE

Those working in the construction sector or looking to make a mid-career switch can look forward to enhanced Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) for the built environment sector.

“The adoption of new technologies and digitalisation has created new, higher-skilled jobs in better working environments in the construction sector, and generally they will command higher salaries,” said Mr Zaqy.

But the share of local Professional, Managers, Executive and Technicians (PMETs) has fallen over the past decade, he noted.

To attract more PMETs, BCA will work with Workforce Singapore and the Ministry of Manpower to improve PCPs for Building Information Modelling professionals. The enhanced PCP will allow participants to complete full-time training before joining a firm, as compared to the current part-time arrangement.

New training will also be rolled out for mid-career PMETs interested in prefabrication jobs. A firm-level PCP will be available by mid-2020.

There will also be a Skills Framework for the Built Environment to “map out skillsets required at various levels for key job roles in the construction and facilities management sectors and their career progression pathways”, said Mr Zaqy.

“I encourage firms to take advantage of our good pipeline of infrastructure projects in the years ahead and attract more local PMETs to join our sector,” he added.

Source: CNA/cc

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