Building safety remains a priority despite complex designs

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

- BCA confers four Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Awards and three merit commendations for outstanding structural designs and high safety standards

Singapore, 30 April 2013 - Despite its complex design, the ArtScience Museum is one of seven projects this year to win the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Award. Introduced in 2008, the award recognises engineers for their exemplary design feats and high safety standards in the structural design, construction and maintenance of buildings.

Resembling a lotus flower, the ArtScience Museum is a unique three-dimensional structure comprising two levels and ten petals of varying heights and widths spaced evenly on a radial axis.

One main challenge was the non-symmetrical shape of the building as one side of the 'lotus flower' is bigger than the other, and the structure naturally wants to fall to one side. To address this, Arup's global team of engineers which include Er. Brendon McNiven and Er. Chia Wah Kam had to design a rational and simple way of holding and balancing the structure in space.

Some of the solutions included introducing a structural ring at the base of the flower and using diagonal grids to stabilise the slender columns. In addition, the extensive use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) helped resolve complex coordination and documentation issues. Large temporary structures were also designed to support the main structure and provide a working platform during the installation of steel structures to ensure safety. Also, extensive vibration analysis was conducted on the gallery floor slabs to ensure that it does not experience excessive vibration with foot movement.

Other award winners include Er. Yong Fen Leong and Er. Dr. Tan Guan from T.Y.Lin International Pte. Ltd. for their designs of the National University of Singapore (NUS) Link Bridge and Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, as well as Er. Lai Huen Poh from RSP Architects Planners & Engineers (Pte) Ltd for his design of the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central.

The NUS Link Bridge which connects the Kent Ridge campus to University Town spans ten busy traffic lanes of the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE). The 274-metre bridge was designed with an S-shaped alignment to minimise impact on existing buildings and services. Despite site constraints, there was minimal impact on traffic and public safety as the 100-metre main span of bridge over the AYE was constructed using precast segmental cantilever launching technology, where bridge segments were cast off-site and transported for assembly on-site during off-peak hours. This enhanced safety and eliminated the need for temporary structures and road closures during the day.

Also, precise bridge analyses with multi-stage pre-stressing were carried out to study the bridge behavior at all stages of construction including the permanent stage, to ensure structural adequacy and construction safety as well as an accurate construction of the bridge despite its curvature.

On the other hand, engineers for the Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and ITE College Central were given the award for adopting highly efficient engineering approaches to meet architectural and functional requirements, while enhancing productivity, site safety and quality. Both projects were completed in a relatively short time, by adopting innovative design solutions to facilitate speedy construction and to overcome site challenges.

Besides the four award winners, engineers of three projects - Downtown Line Phase 1 - Contract 906 Bayfront Station and Tunnels, Volari at Balmoral Road and The Residences at W Singapore - Sentosa Cove - were also given the merit commendation.

Commenting on this year's winners, the Chairman of the award assessment committee and BCA Board Member Mr Pek Lian Guan said: "As projects become more complex, engineers of winning projects have demonstrated that they have put in extra effort to come out with creative solutions to overcome design challenges, without compromising safety".

"Despite the ramp up in construction projects and increasing project complexity, building safety will continue to be a priority for BCA" added Er. Chew Keat Chuan, BCA's Group Director of Building Engineering and one of the assessors for the Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Award.



Annex: Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Awards 2013 (2.4MB .pdf)

Portable document format version of the media release is also available (2.5MB .pdf).

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