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Opening address by BCA CEO Mr Hugh Lim at the BCA-REDAS Built Environment and Property Prospects Seminar 2019

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Mr Lee Fook Sun, Chairman, Building and Construction Authority 
Mr Augustine Tan, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore 
Distinguished guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning and a warm welcome to the BCA-REDAS Built Environment and Property Prospects Seminar 2019. This seminar marks the first major industry event of the year and I am heartened by your interest and participation. The previous three years – 2015 to 2017 – have been tough years for the industry, but 2018 suggests that the built environment sector may have turned a corner in terms of construction demand. At the same time, we have been working industry-wide on efforts to transform the way we Build Singapore. Let me highlight our collective achievements in the past year.

Key Progress for the BE sector in 2018

As you know, we laid out the Construction Industry Transformation Map, or ITM in October 2017. The ITM set out a vision for our built environment sector to transform itself into an advanced and integrated sector, with progressive and collaborative firms setting the pace, and which provides good jobs for Singaporeans. 2018 was when we set our collective gears in motion to realise this vision.

Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA)

Firstly, we have seen an increase in the proportion of larger projects (above $85 million) adopting DfMA. This month, we will witness the completion of Singland and UOL’s The Clement Canopy, which is the world’s tallest completed concrete Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) development currently, marking a major milestone in Singapore’s DfMA journey. Other developers such as City Developments Limited (CDL), Frasers Property, Keppel Land and Wing Tai Holdings are also working on residential projects adopting PPVC. On the public residential front, as industry capacity grows, HDB is doubling up its rate of using concrete PPVC to a third of its projects in 2019. Even as we ramp up adoption and build capability to build using PPVC and other DfMA structural systems, we have begun to see first signs of prefabricated Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) systems in recent projects, such as the Global Switch data centre, CapitaSpring and Punggol Digital District, with several more interested developers. Despite being a relatively newer DfMA technology, you can expect to see prefab MEP systems being adopted in five large projects above $150mil in the upcoming years.

Next, we have made good progress in improving site productivity. For 2018, we have achieved an estimated cumulative site productivity improvement of 15% compared to 2010 levels, when we launched the big push to improve productivity in our sector. This is a strong testament to our sector’s commitment to embrace innovation and move away from old ways. We could not have come this far without the strong support of industry in embracing change.

Green Buildings - Super Low Energy (SLE) Programme

In the area of green buildings, together with industry stakeholders, we have built on the decade of success of the BCA Green Mark scheme to introduce the Super Low Energy (SLE) Programme. The programme aims to spur best-in-class energy efficient buildings in the tropics, challenging our sector to design and deliver buildings that are at least 60% more energy efficient than 2005 standards. Response has so far been encouraging with 20 public and private developers, such as such as Keppel Land, City Developments, Surbana Jurong, JTC, HDB, and DSTA, pledging their commitment to the SLE programme.

The long-term impact of SLEs will go beyond energy efficiency and the realm of climate action. The demand for SLE technologies and consultancy services will open up niche opportunities both locally and globally, bringing added value to our sector and benefiting the entire eco-system. Firms that are just embarking on your green building journey are invited to work closely with BCA and the Singapore Green Building Council. Together, we can better set new benchmarks for the industry and the region. We already have interest shown in SLE from beyond our shores!

Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) – IDD Implementation Plan

At the end of 2018, we launched the Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) Implementation Plan. As some of you may already know, the adoption of IDD optimises the use of digital technologies throughout the four stages of the built environment lifecycle - Design, Fabrication, Construction and Asset Delivery & Management. This is not digitalisation merely for the sake of doing it. As we build bigger and take on projects of greater complexity within shorter time frames, building efficiently and strengthening collaboration across the entire value chain and reducing mistakes and abortive work will be mission critical.

We already have 12 IDD ‘live’ demonstration projects spanning healthcare, industrial, community, educational, commercial and residential developments to show how project stakeholders can reap the benefits of adopting IDD. There will be more projects to come and I look forward to sharing their outcomes at future occasions.

International Built Environment Week (IBEW) 2019

Against the global backdrop of digital disruption and an uncertain external environment, we have to work together to press on with our transformation efforts in Singapore. The launch of the BuildSG movement, supported by BCA’s one-stop transformation office, is our commitment to jointly drive the implementation of the Construction Industry Transformation Map with industry stakeholders. In the past year the BuildSG office has organised several industry briefings and overseas mission trips to facilitate business matching sessions for our firms. I have also managed to meet many of you through smaller engagement sessions. I hope more of you would come on board and seize the opportunities offered by BuildSG as a national commitment to transforming the way we Build Singapore.

As a start, I invite members of Singapore’s Built Environment Sector to participate in the inaugural edition of the International Built Environment Week (IBEW) in September this year. In line with the collaborative spirit of the ITM, and supported by 12 TACs, IBEW will be the first fully integrated, flagship event in the region covering topics across the entire Built Environment lifecycle and value chain. It will be a platform for industry leaders and professionals such as yourselves to exchange ideas and share experiences on policies, business solutions and technologies, as well as network and grow new business opportunities.

Conclusion

The next 5 to 10 years holds many exciting possibilities. The key to unlocking them lies in our ability to tap the benefits of working together to transform our sector which is traditionally a fragmented one. On this note, I would like to acknowledge and thank REDAS as our long-term partner for hosting this event with us. I look forward to working together with all of you to build Singapore better, together. Thank you and have a prosperous new year ahead.

Related:

- BCA news release: Singapore's total construction demand remain strong this year

Speech by Guest-of-Honour: Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad

International Built Environment Week

Portable document format version of the speech is also available (377KB .pdf)

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