Opening address by BCA CEO Mr Hugh Lim at the Soft Launch of International Built Environment Week and inaugural BuildSG Leadership Forum

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Presidents, Trade Associations and Chambers from the Built Environment
Mr Paul Beh, President of Asia Pacific, Reed Exhibitions
Friends and Colleagues from the Built Environment sector

It is my pleasure to welcome you this afternoon to our launch event for the International Built Environment Week as well as the inaugural BuildSG Leadership Forum. These two events are important milestones representing our collective progress in transforming our built environment sector, and our joint commitment to the BuildSG movement.

Good progress since the launch of the ITM and BuildSG movement

The BuildSG movement underscores the spirit of collaboration by all the built environment stakeholders to realise our transformation goals as captured in the Construction Industry Transformation Map (ITM). While BuildSG was only launched in May this year, we -- industry, academia, unions and BCA -- have started work earlier, and have continued to mark steady progress in our journey.

For example, at the Singapore Green Building Week 2 months ago, we launched the Super Low Energy Building Technology Roadmap, which represents a new, ambitious plan encapsulating the aspirations of our sector to push the boundary and not merely settle for the minimum in our sustainability efforts. At first launch, we had 14 public and private sector developers and building owners committing to spearhead the next lap of Singapore's green building movement together with us. Today, that number has grown to 20 and expect more to come on board in the months ahead!

Just 2 weeks ago, we reached another milestone in our collaboration with industry with the launch of the Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) Implementation Plan during a BuildSG learning journey to Jurong Logistics Hub @ Gul. It was a live demonstration of how IDD has brought immense benefits to the design and construction phases, with further benefits to be reaped at the operation and maintenance phase. Importantly, it demonstrated the tremendous gains which can be made when all project parties, beginning with the developer (JTC), are aligned, in wanting to digitally integrate the whole value chain in order to achieve a high quality outcome.

Today, I am happy to announce the launch of the Manufacturer Accreditation Scheme (MAS) for Prefabricated Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Systems. This again is testament to the good partnership with the Specialist Trade Alliance of Singapore (STAS). Prefabricated Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing, or in short, Prefab MEP, has gained traction over the past 2 years. It is crucial that we develop and recognise competent suppliers that produce high quality Prefab MEP modules, to complement our productivity ecosystem.

In tandem with these developments, our other Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) are also making good progress. They have progressively developed action plans specific to their professions and trades, translating the broad strokes of the ITM to more tangible plans which can guide individual firms and practitioners. Several of our TACs have shared their plans at the Future Economy Council Built Environment Cluster Sub-Committee co-chaired by 2nd Minister of National Development Desmond Lee and Mr Lim Ming Yan. The remaining TACs will share their plans early next year.

It is exciting times for our sector. The consensus at these action plan discussions and other similar platforms is that, collaboration across the value chain is key if we are to realise the transformation of our sector. It is very heartening to have so many of us - firms, TACs, and the government, come together with conviction to better our game, and in doing so, to ensure that the Singapore Built Environment Brand is both distinctive and enduring.

IBEW to support the Transformation Journey

To support our transformation journey, we are also transforming our existing platforms - the Singapore Green Building Week and Singapore Construction Productivity Week, successful in their own right -- into something bigger and better where the whole built environment sector can come together to build partnerships, exchange ideas and showcase our capabilities.

Starting next year, the International Built Environment Week will be an integrated platform that spans the entire BE lifecycle from design, construction to operation and maintenance. It will be the first of its kind in our region, one that showcases the results of best practices today and the cutting-edge solutions for tomorrow. The theme for the inaugural edition is 'Transforming the way we build', to reflect our aspirations in the built environment to transform and to do so collaboratively. I have no doubts that when we come together collectively to declare this, others will sit up and take notice. Which is good, because we do want this platform to serve the needs of our industry and showcase its steady progress, and what it can do, not just here in Singapore but internationally.

At this juncture, I would like to thank our valued partners that have committed to supporting the IBEW through an MOU signing. These are the 12 TACs -- ACES, APFM, IES, IFMA, REDAS, SCAL, SGBC, SIA, SIBL, SISV, SPM & STAS - joining me on stage to launch the IBEW shortly. With their support, I am confident that the "IBEW will be greatly enriched in terms of its content, relevance and appeal.

While IBEW offers a platform to exchange know-how and ideas, we also want it to become a leading built environment marketplace that offers networking and business opportunities. Specifically, there will be a new dedicated business-matching platform in the "IBEW, where international buyers and investors from the region can network and reach out to top Singapore urban solutions providers. To this end, our strategic partner for the IBEW, Reed Exhibitions will be expanding its trade shows in tandem, to grow the IBEW platform and draw greater international participation.

This business matching effort will not be just for the duration of IBEW itself. In fact, we envisage it to be complemented by concerted year-round outreach and marketing efforts to understand the demands of key markets such as China, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar. We expect these efforts to potentially translate into more deal flows, especially where smart and green building design capabilities are in demand.

Building Leaders and Capability at the Heart of the Transformation

IBEW is a key vehicle to support our transformation journey. But the people in the driver seats are equally important, and these are the leaders of our firms. Hence, it is important to equip them with the necessary knowledge and perspective to steer and drive positive changes for our sector. Today's inaugural BuildSG Leadership Forum is one of BCA's initiatives to develop our leaders.

For those who are familiar, we used to run the Public Sector Productivity Leadership and Network for Productivity Leaders series for public and private sector respectively. The BuildSG Leadership Forum will consolidate both series for synergy and to foster greater collaboration between the stakeholders. The BuildSG Leadership Forum will be curated to address key transformation areas under the ITM, culminating with pinnacle leadership discourse and discussions at the IBEW. Today's inaugural session will focus on cutting edge innovative approaches in project case studies and MEP modularisation, which forms an essential part of the Design for Manufacturing and Assembly continuum.

On this note, I would like to thank JTC for continuing our strategic partnership and co-organising today's Forum. I would like to use this opportunity to call on our TACs to collaborate with us for future editions of the BuildSG Leadership Forum to share best practices and thought leadership.


In closing, I would like to share a quote from Henry Ford: "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself". The MOU signing with TACs marks positive starts to this new IBEW journey and also points strongly to even closer partnerships going forward; I welcome more collaboration with industry to make IBEW a resounding success and in doing so, enable us to grow our sector and firms. Let us work together to realise our goals for the sector by transforming the way we build, together.

With this, I thank you.


- BCA news release: Inaugural International Built Environment Week to showcase innovative solutions and capabilities of participating built environment firms

International Built Environment Week

Portable document format version of the speech is also available (548KB .pdf).

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