Speech by SMS Tan at CORENET X Leadership Forum at Singapore Polytechnic Auditorium

Thursday, 16 March 2023

It’s good to see friends and familiar faces, a very warm welcome to the CORENET X Leadership Forum.

CORENET X: A paradigm shift

CORENET is more than 20 years old.

  • At the time of its introduction, computerisation was in its infancy.  
  • In fact, Singapore was the first country in the world to facilitate electronic building submissions. Since then, electronic submissions have become the norm.

The upcoming CORENET X goes beyond a typical system upgrade.

It entails a fundamental transformation of our current approach towards regulating, checking, and approving submissions for development projects.

  • Over the years, we have received feedback from many of our industry stakeholders on the pain points and areas for improvement.

Using this opportunity with CORENET X, our agencies have worked with you to review, overhaul and re-engineer the entire regulatory approval process for building submissions.

  • The new process will streamline more than 20 existing approval touchpoints across agencies into three key approval gateways.
  • At each of these gateways, our agencies will provide a consolidated and coordinated response to Qualified Persons, or QPs.
  • In short:

    i. From more than 20 existing touchpoints to 3 approval gateways;
    ii. From multiple responses from various agencies to a single consolidated and coordinated response.

We hope that this new process will help firms save time and avoid abortive work.

And more importantly, reduce the need for QPs to reconcile conflicting requirements from regulatory agencies.

The streamlining sounds straightforward, but this took immense effort by all our regulatory agencies together with industry stakeholders. It required mutual trust not only between regulators, but also between regulators and industry players.

CORENET X: New capabilities

Besides re-engineering our current regulatory approach, CORENET X will have more advanced functions to benefit users.

  • For example, we will implement an automated model checker.
  • QPs can use this tool to verify compliance for selected rules, and make further changes to their design before submission.
  • This will minimise the need for iterative changes between agencies and the industry players, and allows all parties to focus efforts on ensuring compliance with more complex rules.
  • I am glad that ID Architects, a firm that has participated in one of our CORENET X sandbox pilots, will be sharing their experience later.

In addition, CORENET X will drive wider digitalisation and collaboration in our BE sector.

  • All Building Information Modelling (BIM) submissions via CORENET X will be required to comply with common data standards.
  • This ensures that the BIM models produced by QPs, can be seamlessly passed on to contractors and even facilities managers to guide construction and maintenance.
  • This can improve productivity and efficiency across the building lifecycle.
  • For instance, facilities managers can provide early inputs to the design to enhance the maintainability of the building, and builders can extract precise information from the BIM model for construction planning.

2.    With greater digitalisation, we expect the nature of work in the BE sector to shift towards higher value, technology-centric jobs.

  • BCA has already observed a greater demand for new and emerging job roles like digital delivery specialists and digital transformation managers.
  • Together with improved HR practices and a more conducive work environment, these jobs can help the sector to attract and retain young professionals, and ensure that it maintains a healthy pipeline of talent in the years to come.

CORENET X: A continued joint effort

We look forward to launching the CORENET X platform by the end of the year.

  • Users will be on boarded in phases and features will be rolled out progressively, to ensure that the transition is smooth.

We have achieved this milestone because of the concerted effort by all stakeholders.

Over 100 practitioners from across the Built Environment value chain, including many of you here today, have been involved.

  • You have been providing valuable insights on how to improve the current approval processes.
  • You have also been participating in our Service Journey and Communities of Practice, which are creating detailed guidelines for CORENET X regulatory submissions.
  • I thank all of you for your hard work.
  • I am told we can work on finetuning the process as we implement CORENET X. I look forward to all parties building on this foundation and continue working together to do better.

But we also need your support now.

  • As leaders of your respective organisations, you play a crucial role in driving change within your firms, and making sure your teams are equipped with the right tools and training.

To help with this, agencies have worked with software vendors to provide several training courses throughout the year.

  • There will be hands-on courses on the new regulatory approval process, the BIM format, and best practices for submissions.
  • My colleagues can share more with you, at the booth just outside the auditorium.
  • I encourage everyone to tap on these training opportunities. This will ensure that our BE professionals are ready for the change and able to reap the full benefits of CORENET X.

Beyond CORENET X, the overall transformation of the BE sector also means that our existing professionals will need to continually refresh their skillsets to capture opportunities in many more areas.

  • BCA has been engaging industry stakeholders on how to prepare their workforce for the future, and will share more details when ready.
  • Investing in our staff is a no-regrets move.
  • I encourage all of us to also explore the various training and certification courses made available by our institutions like Singapore Polytechnic (SP) – who is graciously hosting us today.
  • For example, SP offers courses on project coordination and Integrated Digital Delivery that leverages on BIM, which is a skill that is expected to be in demand as the sector transforms.


So, in conclusion, let me thank all of you once again. Firstly, for all your support and hard work in participating in today’s session and moving forward as we implement CORENET X to continue to transform our BE sector, so that it remains vibrant and attractive for young professionals to continue to build Singapore’s future.

We have many things that we as a sector can be proud of, just walk along any of the office districts and look around the streets. At the same time, we cannot rest on our laurels. We cannot stop transforming and improving. CORENET X is one important step in that direction. I look forward to all of you coming onboard CORENET X and continue transformation in the sector. Thank you very much.

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