Speech by SMS Tan Kiat How at the BuildTech Asia Exhibition 2023 on 28 March 2023, at Singapore EXPO

Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Mr Jean Francois Quentin, Group CEO, Constellar Holdings,
Mr John Tan, President, Specialists Trade Alliance of Singapore (STAS),
Mr Neo Choon Keong, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Building and Construction Authority (BCA),

Ladies and gentlemen.


1. A very good morning to everyone. I am happy to join you today at the 12th BuildTech Asia Exhibition.

2. This year, I understand that we have more than 8,000 local and international participants with us.

a. To our guests from overseas, a warm welcome to Singapore!

b. This is the first time the event is being held in a fully physical setting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is good to see so many of you in person.

3. The Built Environment sector has made good progress in our recovery from COVID-19. But many challenges continue to lie ahead of us, including an uncertain global economic outlook.

4. In this context, I am grateful for the strong support of our industry partners in pressing ahead with industry transformation.

a. Together, we launched the refreshed Built Environment Industry Transformation Map (BE ITM) last September, which will transform our sector for the future and make us more resilient to external shocks.

5. I am also glad that this year’s exhibition focuses on digitalisation, automation, and sustainability solutions across the building lifecycle.

a. These are very important considerations, and well-aligned to our strategies under the BE ITM. Let me briefly share more.


6. First, digitalisation.

7. We will continue to encourage the adoption of Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) for building projects.

a. This involves a “digital spine” linking project stakeholders throughout the building lifecycle.

8. The Government will help firms, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to plug into the IDD ecosystem.

a. That is why we recently announced a new funding tranche of the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) to defray the costs of adopting digital solutions.

b. SMEs can start applying for the PSG from 1 April, in a few days’ time. You can reach out to BCA for more details.

9. I am also pleased to note that STAS will launch its Shared Services Registry today.

a. While there is funding support, some SMEs may not have the know-how or bandwidth to proper assess how to digitalise their businesses.

b. STAS has thus worked with BCA to start an online registry of consultancy service providers.

c. These providers can help advise firms on what solutions to adopt, and how to tailor these solutions to meet their needs.

d. I commend STAS on its efforts, and look forward to firms making use of this registry.

10. In addition, we are building on our IDD efforts to improve the upstream planning and design of buildings. One key initiative is CORENET X, which will be launched by the end of this year.

a. CORENET X is a one-stop digital platform that will allow the industry to make regulatory submissions for building works. It will streamline the existing process of more than 20 existing touchpoints with agencies into just three key gateways.

11. Project teams will need to work together to submit an integrated Building Information Modelling (BIM) model, before works start.

a. These BIM models must be based on common data standards, so that they can be passed to builders and facilities managers for construction and maintenance, further downstream.

12. Agencies will provide a clear and coordinated response to project teams at each of the three gateways.

a. This will reduce the time taken for clarifications and minimise abortive works due to conflicting requirements.

13. Taken together, CORENET X will drive greater collaboration between industry stakeholders, and industry players with regulators. I would like to thank our industry partners for working with us on this, and look forward to the launch of CORENET X by the end of this year.

Robotics and Automation

14. Second, automation.

15. We will continue to shift on-site construction works into more productive, factory-like facilities, through what we call Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA).

16. For the next bound, we want to encourage greater adoption of robotics and automation at both off-site facilities and construction sites.

a. To do so, we will continue to support projects in defraying the costs of end-to-end DfMA technologies through the Productivity Innovation Project (PIP) scheme.

17. In addition, we recently extended the Investment Allowance Scheme (IAS) for the construction industry, for another five years until 2028.

a. The IAS provides tax allowance for firms to invest in advanced construction equipment to improve productivity.

b. We also want to encourage firms to invest more impactfully. For example, firms can use robotics to automate manual tasks. They can also leverage integrated systems to manage multiple tasks, instead of using a single machine for one task.

c. Hence, we have raised the minimum capital expenditure value per IAS application to $1mil, while retaining the minimal capital expenditure per equipment at $100k. This will apply to applications from next year.


18. Third, sustainability.

a. To meet our national target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, we are also stepping up our efforts to reduce emissions from buildings, which account for over 20% of Singapore’s emissions.

19. Under the latest edition of the Singapore Green Building Masterplan, we are pushing the boundaries for sustainability for new buildings.

20. But we will need to do more to green our existing stock of older buildings, as these may not have been designed with sustainability in mind.

21. This is why we will introduce a new Mandatory Energy Improvement (MEI) regime by the end of next year.

a. Under the MEI regime, we will require the owners of buildings with poor energy performance to conduct an energy audit and implement measures to reduce energy consumption.

b. These buildings will be required to maintain an improved level of energy performance over a stipulated period.

c. BCA is consulting the industry on implementation details, and will release more information when ready.

d. Building owners who are keen to undertake more extensive retrofitting works to improve their building’s energy performance can continue to tap on BCA’s Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings 2.0 (or GMIS-EB 2.0).

22. I commend the efforts of building owners who have already taken steps to decarbonise your buildings, such as Stamford Court.

a. The building owner, SingLand, worked with its energy consultant, Comfort Management, to upgrade the building’s chiller and air-distribution system, and to implement an energy management system to optimise energy performance.

b. Taken together, these measures reduced the building’s energy consumption by over 40%. This earned Stamford Court the ASEAN Energy Award in 2021, which is a testament to its best practices in energy sustainability.

23. We will also work with the industry to drive adoption of Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) and Aggregated Facilities Management (AFM) for greater sustainability and productivity.

a. These refer to managing different FM services on an integrated platform, and aggregating FM services across different buildings.

b. We have found that IFM and AFM can improve productivity by up to 20%, and reduce electricity and water usage.

c. To this end, we introduced a $30 million grant last year to support the adoption of IFM and AFM. Around 20 firms have expressed interest so far, and I encourage more to apply.


24. To conclude, we will need to come together as one BE sector – developers, builders, contractors, consultants, and facilities managers – to develop capabilities in growth areas such as digitalisation, automation, and sustainability.

25. The Government will continue to partner the sector in these efforts, and provide the necessary support.

26. Events such as BuildTech Asia Exhibition and its accompanying conference are good opportunities for us to share experiences and learn more about the latest transformative technologies.

27. I wish everyone a fruitful event. Thank you.

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