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Welcome speech by BCA Chairman Mr Quek See Tiat at BCA Awards 2014 at Resorts World Sentosa

Thursday, 22 May 2014

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

Dr John Keung
CEO, BCA

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Introduction
Good evening, and a warm welcome to the annual BCA Awards ceremony. This year is BCA's 15th anniversary, and I am glad more than 2,300 of you are here tonight to mark this occasion as well as celebrate the achievements of our partners in the built environment sector.

As we begin this milestone year, it is timely for us to look at transforming the industry to reach even greater heights. The year ahead will be an exciting one. I will leave our Guest-of-Honour Minister Lee Yi Shyan to share the details with you in a while

Building for the future
The built environment sector has a vital role to play in improving the quality of living for Singaporeans and our future generation. This is a joint effort - both private and public sectors, as well as the entire construction value chain, have to work together to make it happen.

As a technical authority, safety and quality are always at the top of BCA's mind. How do we ensure safety while constructing denser and taller buildings, and at the same time continue to meet the needs of an increasingly affluent and demanding public?

This is the reason why the Government recently announced that it intends to mandate Design for Safety (DfS). The entire value chain will need to work together and seek practical solutions to manage safety risks, as well as identify opportunities for using new construction methods and improving productivity.

On the Quality front, we rolled out the second Quality Masterplan last year. This Masterplan focuses on the use of technologies and materials that can achieve both quality excellence and high productivity. As part of the effort, we launched the Quality Mark Homes mobile application in January to enhance homeowners' awareness of acceptable construction workmanship and Quality Mark projects. This will help to educate and drive demand for the Quality Mark adoption rate for private residential buildings. We are targeting to reach 80% by 2016.

For the man on the street, that includes all of us here, part of quality living also means having seamless movement between spaces. Hence improving inter-connectivity among buildings is an area that BCA is currently looking into in conjunction with other agencies. What we hope to achieve is seamless connectivity that will improve the accessibility and walkability of public spaces and footpaths, and in all aspects of the built environment.

Another matter we are looking at is how to maximise the use of our land. Given the limited land area available in Singapore, we need to look at innovative ways to create space for future development. We literally have to go underground. BCA, working with other agencies, is not only exploring new underground areas for development, but also how potential underground usage can be integrated with aboveground land use.

Although there is much on our minds, we must not forget environmental considerations. I am glad to say that the results of our efforts have been encouraging. Today, about 2,000 building projects, or 24% of our national building stock, is green. BCA has been championing the green building movement in the tropics for nearly a decade, but we cannot let up in our efforts. We shall push our progress forward with the full detailed announcement of the key initiatives in third Green Building Masterplan during the International Green Building Conference in September. We shall be moving the focus to encouraging environmentally-conscious behaviour in building occupants.

The built environment industry is indeed a dynamic one which affords plenty of opportunities for highly skilled and talented manpower at all levels. Construction demand will remain strong for the next few years. However, we face a tighter manpower supply, and I know many of you are struggling with this challenge. We need to mitigate the impact by being more productive. I appreciate that improving productivity is not easy, but we really do not have a choice. The second Construction Productivity Roadmap will be charting the way to help you. Developers will have to take the lead as they are at the top of the construction value chain and have the ability to influence the direction downstream.

New award category for greater stakeholder recognition 
There may be many plans in place to achieve our objective in creating the best built environment for Singapore, but the best laid plans cannot come to fruition without your strong support. In recognition of the contributions of various stakeholders in the construction value chain, we introduced a new award category, the Green Facilities Manager of the Year, to recognise facility management professionals who have shown strong commitment and contribution towards greening and optimising the operation of existing buildings.

Conclusion
Before I end off, I would like to congratulate all our winners tonight for your achievements. Your hard work has paid off. Do continue to work with us to create a future-ready built environment for Singapore and generations to come. Thank you and have a great evening ahead.

Related:

BCA news release: Built environment sector calls for more local talent 

Portable document format version of the speech is also available (31KB .pdf).

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