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Welcome speech by BCA Chairman Mr. Quek See Tiat at NUS-Shimizu Executive Seminar at School of Design and Environment, NUS

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Professor Heng Chye Kiang,
Dean of School of Design and Environment, NUS;

Mr Hitoshi Fujita,
General Manager, Shimizu Corporation, Singapore Office;

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning.

I am happy to join you this morning at this executive seminar jointly organised by NUS and Shimizu. On behalf of BCA, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Shimizu a happy 40th anniversary in Singapore and many more good years to come.

40 years in Singapore is an impressive milestone for Shimizu, which stayed relevant in its contributions to Singapore's built environment with innovative and sustainable solutions. It has a strong portfolio including the Changi International Airport Terminal 3, HDB Hub, Fusionopolis, Punggol Reservoir and Downtown Line C905 and the Utown Residence at University Town, just to name a few.

In fact, the Utown Residence at University Town, a project by NUS and Shimizu, had won the BCA Construction Excellence Award earlier this year for achieving good quality and productivity.

Improving Construction Productivity
There are many areas that the local builders in Singapore can learn from its Japan counterparts. BCA has led several industry learning trips to Japan to learn from Shimizu about the productive technologies they adopt. We hope Shimizu can bring more of such Japanese know-how, such as the more advanced precast systems and prefabricated bathroom systems, into Singapore to improve construction productivity here.

Today's seminar is just one of the many examples where we can learn from NUS and Shimizu. It is timely and complements BCA's efforts to encourage the adoption of advanced technology as well as innovative and productive construction methods, to improve work processes on site.

BCA recently concluded the Singapore Construction Productivity Week with the aim to bring building professionals together to look for solutions that can help the industry build up capabilities and improve productivity. A host of events, including the Build Smart Conference, BIM Competition and BuildTech Asia Exhibition, were organised to share experiences and learn from best practices in the industry.

The Construction Productivity Roadmap has identified Building Information Modelling (BIM) as one of the key enabling technologies that will transform the construction industry through promoting integration and collaboration across the construction value chain. BCA set up the Centre for Construction IT in 2010 to help the construction industry embrace BIM in its work processes. The adoption of BIM in the industry has increased significantly since then, from 20% in 2009 to 65% currently. From July this year, submissions for regulatory approval for building projects 20,000 square metres and above, have to made in BIM format.

DPM Tharman announced at the Singapore Construction Productivity week that BCA will work in close partnership with local universities NTU and NUS to set up Centres of Excellence for BIM Research. These Centres of Excellence will develop specific BIM applications and solutions not currently available in the industry.

For instance, the NUS BIM Centre of Excellence will assist the local construction industry to achieve productivity improvement through BIM innovation and practice. The Centre will work with key local stakeholders as well as international collaborators. One of the research topics identified by NUS include the development of a BIM Information Framework to guide the various disciplines in the construction value chain to manage and exchange data in a more efficient and structured manner. Another development project will enable developers to do quick feasibility checking of various options of building layout.

Environmental Sustainability and Green Buildings
Besides raising construction productivity, another leading role that professionals in the built environment can play is to reduce the adverse environmental impact from buildings. We are committed in reducing the carbon footprint of our buildings, which consume about one-third of our national electricity consumption. Our achievement since 2005 is a testament to this commitment.

Through a holistic combination of engagement, incentives and legislation, we currently have close to 1,600 Green Mark building projects, covering 47 million square metres of gross floor area or 20% of the entire building stock in Singapore. We are at the one-quarter mark of our journey to meet the national target of greening 80% of our buildings in Singapore.

Singapore's green building journey has been an exciting one and has gained us international recognition. In October, BCA will be in the United States to receive the International Star (I-Star) award conferred by the US-based Alliance to Save Energy for achievements in leading the green building movement and energy efficiency improvement. Singapore is the first country outside of America and Europe to receive this Award. This would not be possible without the support from the industry and academic institutions to build the capabilities to achieve this milestone.

We are not resting on our laurels. BCA is preparing the third Green Building Masterplan and has recently reviewed the progress of our green building journey together with an International Panel of Experts (IPE).

The expert panel supported BCA's plan to focus on greening existing buildings and engage building users and tenants using BCA's user-centric Green Mark schemes. This will complement and intensify the green building efforts. The international experts also shared their perspectives on exploring some form of building energy performance disclosure and labelling for benchmarking and improvement purposes to heighten awareness and broaden the reach of green buildings to building owners and consumers.

In addition, it is important to educate the younger generation on environmental sustainability and continue to train a pool of capable green building practitioners.

The IPE also recommended the need for continual government and industry support of the research, development and deployment of innovative and effective green building technologies. All these efforts will help strengthen Singapore's position as a global leader in green buildings in the tropics and sub-tropics. BCA will share more details on the scope of the 3rd Green Building Masterplan at the International Green Building Conference next month. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage those who haven't sign up for the conference to do so.

Going forward, I foresee strong demand for productive technologies and solutions as we face a tightened workforce amidst a strong national call to improve construction productivity. There will also be a growing demand for more green building professionals in our region.

There is great potential for stakeholders like Shimizu and NUS to play a leading role in helping us transform the built environment sector into one that is productive and sustainable. I am confident that you will all rally around the challenge. Let me conclude by once again thanking NUS, Shimizu and the rest of the stakeholders here for your contributions to the built environment sector and Singapore's development.

I wish all of you a fruitful day at this seminar. Have a nice day ahead.

Portable document format version of the speech is also available (36KB .pdf).

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