22 firms recognised with Green and Gracious Builder awards

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

- More small firms driving environmentally and socially responsible practices at worksites

Singapore, 7 May 2013 - 22 builders will be receiving the Green and Gracious Builder Award at BCA Awards on 16 May 2013 at Resorts World Sentosa. The top five that earned a 'Star' rating are Expand Construction Pte Ltd, Hwa Seng Builder Pte Ltd, Kajima Overseas Asia Pte Ltd, Lum Chang Building Contractors Pte Ltd and Unison Construction Pte Ltd. Another 10 companies will receive the 'Excellent' award while the remaining seven companies will be presented with a 'Merit' Award. Out of the 22 winners, 17 builders will be getting the award for the first time.

The Green and Gracious Builder Award is based on good international practices and was conceived in consultation with industry players. Similar to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it was introduced in 2009 to recognise builders' efforts in promoting sustainability, environmental protection and considerate practices during the construction phase of a development. To-date, 65 builders have been recognised with the Green and Gracious Builder awards.

'Star' practices

'Star' award winner, Hwa Seng Builder (HSB) whose current projects include the widening of the Pan Island Expressway from Toh Tuck Flyover to Adam Road, used the Cantilever Truss Shoring system, which comprise of a triangular truss sections bolted to the beams while the bridge widening works are in progress. This system enables the bridge widening work to be carried out without the need for constant closure of the roads adjacent and/or below it and without having to divert traffic during peak hours and day time.

"Twenty years ago, road construction often involved the construction of new carriageway and/or expressway, which takes place before people moved into the estate. Today, road works have evolved into carriageway widening, often at very close proximity to residents or carried out at existing road junctions or expressways. The imminent challenges are moderating traffic jams while carrying out the intended carriageway widening work on time without creating too much inconvenience to the motorists and nearby stakeholders. The Cantilever Truss Shoring system is one of the many advanced technologies which HSB adopts and allows us to continue with the widening works during the peak hours as well," said Mr Thomas Ng, MD, Hwa Seng Builders.

Another 'Star' winner, Unison Construction conducted real time monitoring of electricity usage at project site offices and workers' quarters to improve energy efficiency for their projects. Such measures require project managers and supervisors to think through the different ways of cutting unnecessary wastage. When such measures are implemented at more worksites, the savings multiply and benefit the organisation, and these practices lend support to the company's policy of operating in a sustainable manner.

Builder, with a soft spot for trees

Samwoh, which is amongst the ten Excellent winners, has a soft spot for trees. To avoid uprooting one of the trees at their ongoing project at ER 401 Project at Kallang Road, the project manager initiated the construction of a slab over an existing open drain to divert pedestrian footpath away from the tree.

Unlike a typical site office that is made from new concrete, Samwoh used recycled concrete aggregates as a base for their site office. The eco-friendly builder also opted for a non-conventional bridge widening design at the Sims Avenue Bridge and Sir Arthur Bridge that reduces inconvenience to motorists brought by traffic diversion. The conventional method requires both parapet walls to be demolished and reconstructed and the need to divert traffic. Samwoh's proposed design includes drilling of starter bars into the existing structure which eliminated the need for traffic diversion. Additionally, it reduces noise and dust so that residents staying at close proximity are less inconvenienced by these projects. These are some of the innovative practices that mark the firm's care for the environment and for the public.

Merit winner puts treated water to good use

Joining the ranks of seven other 'Merit' winners is Wee Poh Construction Co. (Pte.) Ltd. It is also one of the smaller firms driving environmentally friendly practices. Receiving the award for the first time, the company ensured that all treated water on site were reused. At one of its projects, Heron Bay Executive Condominium, the company used treated rainwater from surface run off and mixed it with existing soil and grout to form Grout Mix Piles, which were used as a retaining wall for the construction of the condominium's basement. This process saves the company water that could be put to other uses.

"A worksite is not unlike an office, the resources at the worksite can also be put to better use. Every year, we see more builders being recognised and upgrading to a higher rating. This means that more and more of our builders adopt green and gracious measures in their worksites which require the support and participation of everyone in the team, from the project manager, supervisor and the workers. We are also seeing more small firms participating in this scheme to go green and gracious. Indeed, in a highly built up city like ours, it is very critical for our builders to take good care of the environment and to minimise the impact of their work on residents. So, we are looking forward to present the awards to all these green and gracious builders at BCA Awards to acknowledge and recognise their good efforts." said Dr John Keung, CEO, BCA.

Apart from the above mentioned firms and the practices highlighted, all the award winning firms have put in place some or all of the following green and gracious construction practices.

Green practices and its impact on the environment

- Construction and demolition (C & D) waste was one of the top five waste types generated in 2012.
- During the sorting process of C & D waste, materials such as wood, metal, paper and plastics are recovered, which are recycled into aggregates and reused in construction activities. Hence, every builder's recycling effort at the worksite counts.

Vetiver plants in excavation 
- During excavation, water is usually discharged from the soil, known as 'discharged water'. Instead of letting the discharged water flow and pollute the environment, vetiver plants, a type of grass with tall stems and thin leaves, are used to absorb nutrients in discharged water, stabilise the soil and protect against soil erosion.

Energy Conservation Measures: Alternate source of energy & North-South orientation
- Solar panels have been installed to tap solar energy to power site equipment, thus reducing dependence on electricity and batteries. Likewise, wind turbines are also used to run ventilators at workers' rest areas instead of batteries. Depending on the scale of a project, a site office can be built to house from 20 to 30 people. Compared to an East-West location where more energy is needed to keep an office cooler, a North South orientation requires less air-conditioning and conserves more energy.

Gracious practices towards a considerate built environment

Construction noise is an inevitable part of large infrastructural developments situated in housing estates. So, engineers have also undertaken R & D to design and fabricate lightweight 'noise barriers' that can reduce sound from 5 up to 8 decibels (dB). The typical sound level reading between two persons in a conversation in an office is about 55 dB.

Noise reduction strategies

Generators - Builders substitute bigger generators used during the day with smaller ones in the evening as the latter produces less noise when people return home to rest.

Shields - During night road milling works, enclosure shields are used to mitigate the impact of noise generated.

Wet Speed Mixing (WSM) - WSM, used for soil improvement, also reduces noise and materials at worksites.

Reduced health risk

Stagnant water arising from wet weather and washing can pose as a health risk at construction sites. To mitigate this problem, rainwater pipes were constructed to channel stagnant water to flower pots.



Green and Gracious Builder Awards 2013 (482KB .pdf)

Portable document format version of the media release is also available (549KB .pdf).

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