BCA to unveil second Construction Productivity Roadmap next year

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

- - CDL first to adopt PPVC for a large-scale residential project in Asia
- Eleven winners receive inaugural Building Information Modelling (BIM) Award

Singapore, 14 October 2014 - While progress have been made towards improving productivity in the construction sector, more needs to be done in the next few years to meet the desired productivity target.

At the opening of the Singapore Construction Productivity Week (SCPW), Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, outlined three areas to further transform the sector. These include making prefabrication more prevalent, raising the quality of the construction workforce and promoting greater integration across the construction value chain.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is also working on the second Construction Productivity Roadmap to bring the sector's productivity drive to the next higher level. Details of the roadmap will be released next year.

"We have plucked the low-hanging fruits and the next step requires a bigger change in terms of our mindset and the way we work," said Dr John Keung, CEO of BCA.

Dr Keung added that while the adoption of productive construction technologies such as drywall and system formwork has increased, there needs to be a greater push to move the industry towards off-site manufacturing for on-site assembly, or Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA). The adoption of game-changing technologies such as Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is a move in this direction (please refer to Annex A). Such advanced construction technologies yield more significant manpower and time savings. They also bring about intangible benefits such as less noise and dust during construction, safer workplaces and better quality homes.

PPVC is being adopted on a smaller scale in three projects in Singapore. These include the City Developments Limited (CDL) Green Gallery at Singapore Botanic Gardens, a student hostel at Nanyang Technological University and an extension to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel.

CDL will be the first developer in Asia to adopt PPVC for an unprecedented, large-scale residential project - an Executive Condominium (EC) at Canberra Drive. The development which comprises eight 10 to 12-storey blocks with an estimated 636 apartments will be constructed using some 3,300 building modules - likely the largest application of PPVC in the world (please refer to Annex B).

"As an established developer committed to innovation and green practices, CDL has continuously explored using sustainable designs and construction technologies to develop buildings in a productive, safer, and eco-friendly manner. The extensive use of PPVC for this EC project is ideal due to its modularity of units which we have embraced from the design stage. Productivity is expected to increase by more than 40% and will save some 55,000 man days, compared to using conventional construction methods. The project should complete four months ahead of schedule with the adoption of this game-changing technology," said Mr Kwek Leng Joo, Deputy Chairman of CDL.

He added that the building design and quality of construction will by no means be less superior to conventional buildings. In fact, stringent quality control in factories ensures uniform and superior quality of prefabricated components, enhancing overall building quality.

To continue building up a strong lead demand for game-changing technologies such as PPVC and CLT, selected Government Land Sales sites to be released later this year will be required to adopt such advanced construction technologies. An additional $55 million will also be allocated to the Construction Productivity and Capability Fund (CPCF) which supports firms in technology adoption and workforce development, bringing the total amount of productivity funding set aside for the construction sector to $335 million.

To build up off-site manufacturing capability for prefabrication, BCA will roll out two more Integrated Construction and Precast Hubs (ICPHs) over the coming months. The ICPHs enable automated manufacturing of precast components as well as other construction products such as PPVC modules and prefab bathrooms.

Lastly, the BCA Academy will be rolling out new courses to upgrade the workforce to keep pace with technological advancements. These include a five-month Specialist Diploma in Construction Productivity programme and a two-month Advanced Certificate in Construction Productivity to start early next year.

The BCA Academy is also partnering Stanford University's Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE), a leading research centre for Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), to offer advanced management programmes at the CEO, senior and middle management levels. The programmes aim to help industry practitioners from developers to consultants and contractors to understand the value of VDC and BIM, and take an integrated approach in the design, construction and operation of construction projects.

At the opening ceremony, Minister Grace Fu gave out the inaugural BIM Awards to recognise 11 outstanding project teams that have implemented the three-dimensional modelling technology in their projects from the design to construction stages (please refer to Annex C).

Experts explore ways to further improve Singapore's construction productivity

Leading up to the SCPW, the third International Panel of Experts (IPE) meeting on Construction Productivity and Prefabrication Technology was held from 9 to 10 October to review Singapore's Construction Productivity Roadmap. A panel comprising 12 local and 7 overseas experts from developers, consultants, builders, public agencies and the academia explored ways to further improve construction productivity in Singapore (please refer to Annex D).

The IPE emphasised the importance of having a mindset change across the entire construction value chain. Given that most productive technologies in Singapore are still in their early adoption stages, effective change management is crucial for the industry to go beyond the inflection point for productivity growth.

The industry also needs to fundamentally change its design approach and construction processes, with an emphasis on moving towards Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) with as much work done off-site in a controlled manufacturing environment as possible. This will help create a more conducive working environment on and off-site and help change the image of the sector.

In order for productive and game-changing technologies to be widely adopted across the industry, the IPE recommended to build an ecosystem to support the adoption of such technologies and incentivise developers and owners to generate demand to create economies of scale. This would also help encourage the industry to make the necessary investments to adopt and supply such technologies here. Adequate incentives would be required especially for first movers, to help address cost concerns, reduce their risk and recover their investments.

The IPE also commented that it is possible to achieve cost effectiveness in the adoption of game-changing technologies like PPVC and CLT, by designing for them right from the start and engaging specialist consultants early as part of the project consultancy team. In addition, partnership with overseas firms can help build capabilities for local firms and shorten the learning curve for such processes and technologies.

BIM technology was identified as a key enabler in helping to improve integration across the construction value chain, including optimising off-site manufacturing. By involving suppliers and manufacturers in the BIM coordination process, it can reduce waste and improve logistics and value for all stakeholders. As the industry has attained a level of BIM proficiency, the IPE shared that it is timely to carry out more industry-led BIM R&D, including the development of BIM applications relevant to the needs of various local industry stakeholders.

Lastly, the IPE commented that industry-led Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) supported by the Government and academia is key in driving technology and process change. The private sector could leverage on the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to spur applied research and test-bedding of processes, technologies and products that have high impact on construction productivity for commercial use.


Singapore Construction Productivity Week (284KB .pdf)

Speech by BCA CEO Dr. John Keung at the opening of the Singapore Construction Productivity Week at the Singapore Expo Max Atria


Portable document format version of the media release is also available(125KB .pdf).

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