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Welcome speech by BCA CEO Dr. John Keung at the opening of BuildTech Asia Exhibition at Marina Bay Sands

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, 
Minister for National Development

Mr Lee Chuan Seng, 
Deputy Chairman, BCA

Mr Chua Wee Phong, 
Executive Director, Sphere Exhibits

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning

Let me welcome all of you to the Singapore Construction Productivity Week 2012 and the two events starting today, the BuildTechAsia 2012 exhibition and the Skilled Builders and BIM Competition. 

Since we launched the Construction Productivity and Capability Fund in June 2010 and the Construction Productivity Roadmap in March 2011, the productivity movement has gained traction in the last two years. Last year, BCA worked with the industry to launch the inaugural Singapore Construction Productivity Week or SCPW. The week, through the various events, was intended to bring the industry together to focus on raising productivity. The first SCPW saw a strong turnout of about 6,000 participants for the various activities. We expect a better turnout this year as more firms in the industry are responding to the productivity challenge.

Some of the key events in the SCPW this year include the Skilled Builders and BIM Competition, the Build Smart Conference, and the BuildTechAsia2012 exhibition. These events will provide valuable opportunities for building professionals to learn from leading experts and their peers on new skills, best practices and latest technologies and products that will improve construction productivity. 

The BuildTech Asia exhibition will provide the platform for our industry to learn more about the latest equipment, productivity saving tools and revolutionary building materials that will further advance the construction industry to the next level.

In addition to technology adoption, we are also focusing on skills and manpower development. Thus, the Skilled Builder Competition is aimed at challenging builders and their subcontractors to hone their skills in high value-added trades that can lead to productivity improvements. Participants are required to produce accurate and high quality work within a designated timeframe which are essential requirements for today's fast-paced construction industry.

We are honoured to have Minister Khaw to open the BuildTech Asia exhibition and flag off the Skilled Builder competition later this morning.

Recognising the critical importance of the use of IT in construction, we will also see building designs created from the 48-hour Building Information Modelling competition which started last week. It will be interesting to see how the participating teams can come up with a complete building design within 48 hours. These include architectural and structural designs, building services designs and calculations, sun and wind analysis, energy analysis and consumption data, constructability analysis, model checking, among others.

Despite all these intense efforts in raising productivity and competence level in our industry, we are not resting on our laurels. Another major event this week is the convening of the 2nd International Panel of Experts on Construction Productivity and Prefabrication Technology meeting. The panel comprises overseas experts and prominent local members who are all highly regarded in the diverse fields of precast design, automation of precast plants, construction management and construction productivity from US, Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The IPE discussions started yesterday with key industry stakeholders to review Singapore's initiatives on raising construction productivity since 2010 and explore what more can be done. This shows clearly that we see our productivity journey as a process, as a new mindset and a new way of life for our industry.

On this note, I would like to thank the industry stakeholders for their strong turnout in the IPE sessions and other events this week, as well as the industry associations who have been working closely with us on the line-up of events for the week. It is a clear demonstration of the close partnership between BCA and industry stakeholders, such as the Construction Industry Joint Committee, the Singapore Contractors Association Limited, Specialists Trade Alliance of Singapore, BuildingSMART Singapore, and SPHERE Exhibits.

To be precise, one example of close partnership with the industry in this productivity journey resulted in the new Builders' Guide on Measuring Productivity. BCA worked closely with a group of 21 builders to compile best practices on how to measure the productivity for key trades. This will provide a standard guide for builders to track their own productivity performance at both the project and trade levels. The guide will be distributed to the builders from this week and it is also available for download from BCA's website. 

Today, we will also witness an MOU signing on advancing the continuing education in the built environment through the Bachelor of Building and Project Management Degree programme. It is a joint degree programme, developed by the BCA Academy and SIM University on specialist knowledge and skills on cost and productive construction project management. I believe that this MOU will further cement the collaborative synergy amongst SIM University, BCA and CIJC to enhance the quality of the programme to support the sustainable growth of the construction industry.

This is not the only example. There is another joint effort I would like to highlight, which is the Singapore Building Information Modelling (BIM) Guide developed by the national BIM Steering Committee led by industry leaders and BCA. The aim is to provide a common BIM standard to accelerate the development and sharing of BIM knowledge and skills among industry professionals. This will allow firms in the built environment industry to benefit from productivity improvements, through the application of BIM in their building projects and ease collaboration among their professionals. The Presidents of the member organisations of the Construction Industry Joint Committee (CIJC) and BuildingSMART Singapore recognise the launch of the Singapore BIM Guide as an important milestone in the industry's BIM implementation effort, and will be declaring their support for the use of the Singapore BIM Guide and its supporting information where applicable.

With a sustained level of construction demand between $19 billion and $27 billion in the next few years, there is no better time for all of us to embark on and sustain our own productivity journeys to enhance the industry's overall productivity and its long-term viability.

Let us forge closer partnerships and continue to work towards the vision of a highly integrated and technologically advanced construction sector, led by progressive firms and supported by a skilled and competent workforce.

Thank you.

Portable document format version of the speech is also available (28KB .pdf).

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