SINGAPORE: Construction firms will soon be able to tap a new S$2 million fund to help them acquire quieter equipment and adopt more innovative building methods.
The Quieter Construction Innovation Fund (QCIF) will be disbursed over two years from Apr 1, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Monday (Mar 11). It replaces the Quieter Construction Fund (QCF) which expires at the end of March.
Under the new fund, successful applicants can receive a maximum grant of S$300,000, up from S$200,000 previously.
Companies which use quieter piling and demolition equipment that meet the higher noise reduction standard of 10dBA can also receive up to S$300,000 in funding, which is double the amount under the previous framework.
In addition, contractors can receive up to S$50,000 when sub-contracting specialist contractors to carry out piling and demolition works using quieter equipment. This amount is up from the previous S$20,000.
Some of the grant's criteria have also been lowered, allowing more contractors to qualify for funding support.
NEA said adjustments to the fund were made after feedback from industry players.
While construction firms welcomed the changes, some said there are still challenges such as the costs and time involved in acquiring quieter equipment.
"Every machine can cost up to between S$1 million and S$5 million for big machines," said Lee Kay Chai, secretary general of The Singapore Contractors Association.
"For contractors to use quieter machines, they also have to think of existing machines which are quite noisy, but (which) they have invested for quite a period of time, so the lifespan of the machines is still there," he explained. "To substitute with these quieter machines, they have to either sell away these machines and reinvest in new machines, which is a very high investment for them."
Depending on the take-up rate and industry feedback, NEA said it will review the need to further extend the fund.
“In a dense and urbanised city-state like Singapore, construction noise is often an issue," said NEA CEO Tan Meng Dui.
"Through our experience in administering the QCF and feedback from the industry, we are aware that the cost of quieter construction technology and noise mitigating measures remains high," he added.
"The industry can benefit from continued financial support to co-invest in expensive quieter construction machinery and innovative methods."
Details of the new fund are outlined below:
Additional reporting by Wendy Wong.