In the east of Singapore lies The Tapestry condominium, which has a 100m lap pool and childcare centre within the compound.
While these are attractive features of the seven-block development with more than 800 dwelling units, what is equally impressive is that the condominium is Woh Hup’s first private residential project to be built using Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC).
CDL’s The Tapestry development is Woh Hup’s first private residential project to be built using Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC).
Credit: Woh Hup
The method allows modules to be completed with internal finishes, fixtures and fittings offsite before being delivered and installed onsite, resulting in high-quality end products and improving productivity by up to 40 per cent.
Given the massive development, the biggest challenge for this project was managing the works being carried out concurrently at three different locations in Singapore and Malaysia, shared Mr Neil Yong, Executive Director of building company Woh Hup.
“We needed to pay special attention to details and our quality assurance and quality control (QAQC) team made frequent trips to the fabrication yards to monitor quality control,” he said.
Such dedication helped Woh Hup, as well as its developer partner for The Tapestry, City Developments Limited (CDL), win the 2021 Quality Champion (Platinum) award. It is the top accolade under the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Quality Excellence Award (QEA), given to progressive companies with excellent and consistent workmanship.
The two home-grown companies are the only ones to have received the Platinum label for nine consecutive years since the QEA’s inception in 2013.
So how do they manage to ensure consistently high-quality housing over the years, despite the manpower crunch and material constraints faced by the Built Environment sector during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The answer lies in having a fruitful partnership, putting in place the right practices from the start, and paying attention to customer service.
STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE, TOGETHER
CDL and Woh Hup have worked together for almost half a century, starting with the development of mixed-use development City Plaza in the 1970s to quality housing developments today.
“Even though the leadership has changed hands from one generation to another, the understanding and mutual trust between both companies remain unchanged,” said Mr Chia Ngiang Hong, Group General Manager for CDL, and President of the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore.
Both teams continue to collaborate closely on construction innovations to enhance productivity and quality. An example was how Woh Hup suggested adjusting PPVC modules for The Tapestry for ease of handling, transportation and installation, and CDL agreed. This resulted in better quality and reduced defects.
The partnership has elevated standards on both sides. “We understand that CDL as a developer has a stellar track record of providing quality standard homes to end-users, and so we too must uphold our end of the bargain by producing quality works,” said Mr Yong.
A vital milestone for their collaboration was in 2002, with the introduction of the BCA Quality Mark (QM). Unlike CONQUAS, which is based on sampling, QM assesses all dwelling units in a new private housing development and certifies homes that meet the requisite level of workmanship. Each has over 6,000 residential units certified since 2016.
“The rigorous BCA QM assessment has helped validate our product quality. It also provides a system to benchmark our projects and support our goal to achieve higher quality standards and mitigate defects during handover,” noted Mr Chia.
The thorough assessment covers internal finishes like floor, wall and ceiling, as well as architectural components and fittings from doors and windows to shower screens and basins. All the bathrooms/toilets within the dwelling units are also assessed for water tightness.
“The fact that we have the QM is like an assurance to our clients that the work we produce is of respectable quality and standard,” noted Mr Yong.
An inspector from CDL’s quality team carrying out checks at one of their projects after it is completed.
GETTING THINGS RIGHT, FROM THE START
Achieving such accolades also hinged on how both companies put in place the right policies and practices – from the very beginning.
“We believe in ‘doing things right the first time’ by implementing strict quality control measures right from the start, from raw material selection to the completion of finishing works,” said Mr Yong.
For instance, there is a dedicated team to select raw materials based on in-house quality control criteria. There is also close monitoring and inspection of the raw materials until finishes are completed at the project site.
Such a stringent inspection regime helps Woh Hup to avoid major defects during the Defects Liability Period, which would require replacement procedures after handing over the project to clients.
For CDL, starting right is also crucial. “From the onset of our project development process, we conduct vision casting to establish targets and standards, as well as possible concerns and takeaways from other projects,” said Mr Chia.
Woh Hup’s Quality Control (QC) Inspector inspects the PPVC modules and keeps a record on the WH Precast App.
Credit: Woh Hup
MEETING CHANGING DEMANDS
As buyers become savvier with more access to information and reviews online, developers and builders have to up their game to enhance customer satisfaction. For instance, homebuyers are able to search and compare the quality performance of developers and contractors at BCA’s Quality Housing Portal to help them make a more informed decision prior to their purchases.
Both CDL and Woh Hup are also using digital channels such as mobile apps to better respond to customer queries and give updates on the work status. This stems from a belief that there is no compromise for quality.
“As buyers’ expectations have risen over the years, good quality end-product will eventually become a given,” said Mr Yong. “Buyers would turn their attention to how their quality homes are constructed or the materials used in constructing them.”
In a more discerning market, one way both developers and builders can distinguish their projects is to adopt BCA’s QM in their residential projects – and reach platinum status.
Find out which other companies have won the QEA this year.