SINGAPORE: An Industry Transformation Map for the construction sector will be launched later this month at the Singapore Construction Productivity Week, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (Oct 3).
Speaking at the launch of the Greyform building, an integrated construction and pre-fabrication hub (ICPH) by Straits Construction Group, Mr Heng said that productivity remains a challenge for most construction industries worldwide.
"The boom and bust cycle in the sector incentivises companies to rely more heavily on variable factors of production such as labour and less on capital investments in new technologies," he said.
Singapore's construction sector must move "quickly and decisively" to raise productivity, he added.
According to Mr Heng, the transformation roadmap will bring together stakeholders to act on initiatives such as creating lead demand and rapidly increasing supply capacity to reduce costs of newer construction methods.
Other initiatives include using digitised construction plans to facilitate collaboration and preparing students and mid-career professionals with the knowledge to take up jobs made available by new technologies.
Mr Heng said that a key strategy for improving the construction industry’s productivity is to make construction “like manufacturing”, by using highly automated and digitally integrated processes in ICPHs “to produce finished products off-site on a large scale, for quick assembly at the construction sites”.
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA), which plays a large role in facilitating the transformation of the construction industry, will also begin sharing a forecast of the number of tenders with specified Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) technologies to be called in each year. The forecast will be available on BCA’s website from Tuesday.
Mr Heng said that this will provide “greater resolution for firms” because they will have the "runway to plan ahead how best to deploy resources, as well as to seek partners".
The Greyform building, which was completed in December last year, is the second ICPH land tender launched by BCA.
The multistorey advanced manufacturing facility uses a high degree of automation to produce pre-fabricated construction elements such as concrete walls, columns and beams.
"Where workers would otherwise have to manually prepare the moulds and formwork and pour concrete to produce these building components out on site, now they can work in a control room, operating machines that do this work for them instead," said Mr Heng.