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Welcome speech by BCA CEO Dr. John Keung at the Green and Gracious Construction Practices Seminar at the BCA Academy Function Hall

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Mr Lee Yi Shyan, 
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development 

Mr Quek See Tiat 
Chairman, BCA

Dr Ho Nyok Yong 
President, Singapore Contractors Association Ltd

Ladies & gentlemen

Good morning and welcome to BCA's third Green and Gracious Construction Practices Seminar. 

Sustained construction demand in 2014 
In January, we announced that Singapore's built environment sector is up for another busy year. Contracts to be awarded are targeted to reach between $31 billion and $38 billion. This high level of construction activity is spurred by a strong demand for rail and road projects, public housing as well as other infrastructure projects. Given the nature of these projects, there will be more construction sites located next to existing buildings or within pockets of infill sites. 

Builders with multi-faceted roles
Given these constraints, the demand on our builders will not just be delivering these projects with high safety and quality standards. Our builders will also have to consider how they can build with minimal disturbance to people living and working nearby. 

It is thus critically important for our builders to consider and incorporate the best practices right from the start and improve along the way rather than being passive and only taking remedial action upon receiving feedback. To be able to anticipate public's feedback, it takes a considerate builder, one who puts himself in the shoes of the community and mindful of the adverse impact his construction site can create in the neighbourhood.

To cultivate this mindset, BCA introduced the Green and Gracious Builder Scheme or GGBS in 2009. This Scheme details best practices that help builders to act in a socially responsible manner when carrying out construction works. I am greatly encouraged that despite their challenges, many builders have met the required standards and beyond.

Green and Gracious Builder Award winners
Embodying higher standards is evident amongst this year's 21 Green and Gracious Builder Award winners. Five companies have successfully achieved the top 'Star' rating, with another eight companies rated 'Excellent'. The remaining companies will receive the 'Merit' award. These winners will be honoured at BCA Awards on 22 May 2014.

Enhancing capability and know-how on GGBS
To guide builders to implement GGBS effectively, the BCA Academy and the Singapore Contractors Association Ltd (SCAL) have been jointly organising regular half-day workshops since July last year. Builders share and exchange ideas on best green and gracious practices at these workshops. It also includes visits to sites with exemplary green and gracious practices. More than 120 participants have benefited from these eye-opening visits to sites managed by award-winning builders.

Enhancements towards a better built environment
The current GGBS criteria, first developed in 2009, have been reviewed and enhanced jointly with SCAL to include best practices to suit the dynamics of our industry. It is with great excitement that I share with you the arrival of GGBS version two.

The enhanced version focuses on two main areas. Firstly, there is greater emphasis on best practices that would further mitigate the impact of construction works to address disamenity caused by noise and dust.

The second area of focus for the enhanced scheme is the introduction of progressive manpower management practices that would minimise adverse impact on the adjacent site and surroundings, as well as the development and retention of staff who would contribute to good site management.

Tailor-made solutions for small medium companies
Taking a cue from bespoke tailoring which involves a high degree of customisation to suit the needs of the user, BCA has come up with a 'tailor-made' version of the GGBS scheme especially for small and medium construction firms. We call it the GGBS (SMC) scheme.

Like GGBS version two, the GGBS (SMC) serves to encourage SMCs to carry out construction works in a smart and responsible manner. Often SMCs operate in restricted environments adjacent to neighbouring properties.

The GGBS (SMC) will help to allay some of the common challenges faced by builders by adopting technologies and methods that can reduce vibration, noise and dust, and damage to adjacent properties.

Conclusion
As construction sites continue to appear within populated areas, it is inevitable that builders will continue to be challenged in minimising disturbances and inconveniences to the nearby community. So the best way forward for all our builders is to start adopting some of these best practices highlighted either in GGBS version 2 or GGBS (SMC). As proven by some of the award winners, it is possible for builders to operate with green and gracious practices in the community. Take the first step with us.

With this, I wish all of you a fruitful time at this seminar. Thank you.

Related:

BCA news release: BCA introduces new Green and Gracious Builder Scheme for Small and Medium Construction Firms 

Portable document format version of the speech is also available (21KB .pdf).

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