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Khoo Nee Kong, Year 3, BEng (Hons) Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services), Singapore Institute of Technology

Meet the inaugural participants of the BE Formation Programme

Priming students for internships in the built environment sector
28 Nov 2019

By Debbie Chia

I would definitely recommend this programme to my peers so that they too can widen their perspective of the sector and deepen their understanding on the rationale and importance of sector transformation. Through the programme’s intensive induction, I feel that I am more ready for the internship and even my future career.   
- Khoo Nee Kong, Year 3, BEng (Hons) Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services), Singapore Institute of Technology
 

Held from 2 – 5 September 2019, the inaugural Built Environment (BE) Formation Programme saw more than 60 students get an insider’s look of the built environment sector before their internships. Through online and face-to-face modules, challenging simulations and dialogue sessions, the 4-day intensive and interactive programme aims to not only better prepare students and get them job-ready, but also to impart and inspire a higher sense of appreciation of the sector’s contributions in building and operating modern Singapore.

Read on to hear the insights, thoughts and aspirations of two of the programme’s first participants, Nee Kong and Umar.

Khoo Nee Kong

Year 3, BEng (Hons) Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services), Singapore Institute of Technology

What made you decide to pursue your education in building services?

I was actually inspired by my father who works in the built environment sector. He showed me how building services are essentially like the organs of a human body – it is amazing how building services can shape our daily lives by providing us with shelter and other basic necessities.

How was your experience attending the BE Formation Programme?

The programme was very well structured in a way that helped students like myself gain a better insight into the sector. We learned how government agencies, BCA and the industry work hand in hand to shape Singapore’s future building landscape. Not only were we introduced to the different new technologies, we were also able to hear from experienced industry professionals about their career challenges and successes.

What were some personal highlights of the programme for you and why?

Personally, I was very honoured to be able to visit the Siemens office. I was fascinated by the advanced technologies that the company is producing, and am now even more motivated to be a part of the upcoming technological revolution in this sector.

Another highlight was the sharing sessions by the different industry heavyweights who have seen and experienced the different phases of the sector. What they shared was priceless, and it is important for our generation to keep pushing the sector forward.

What new insights have you gained after going through the programme?

I am now more familiar with the Construction Industry Transformation Map (ITM), which was developed to better integrate and improve collaboration through the implementation of three main areas: Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA), Green Buildings and Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD).

Would you recommend the programme to your peers?

I would definitely recommend this programme to my peers so that they too can widen their perspective of the sector and deepen their understanding on the rationale and importance of sector transformation. Through the programme’s intensive induction, I feel that I am more ready for the internship and even my future career.

What kind of contributions do you hope to make to the built environment sector?

Specialising in building services, I hope to make an impact by making buildings smarter and improving building efficiencies through sustainable efforts.

 
umar-abdul-aziz-year-3Umar Abdul Aziz, Year 3, BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering, Singapore Institute of Technology
 

Umar Abdul Aziz

Year 3, BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering, Singapore Institute of Technology

What made you decide to pursue your education in civil engineering?

My passion in building design and mathematics led me to civil engineering. As a child, I would make sketches of underwater and underground houses. Since then, I knew that I wanted to do something related to buildings. Thankfully, this sector has great potential because Singapore’s nation building is an ongoing process, so there’s always a market for engineers in this sector.

What was your experience of attending the BE Formation Programme?

It was truly an eye-opener listening to industry giants speak about the changes that they experienced within the sector, and hear them acknowledge that even at the peak of their careers, there was always a lot more to learn, especially with the advent of new technologies and construction methods.

What were some personal highlights of the programme for you and why?

One personal highlight was the design of the “tallest and most beautiful” tower using materials provided by the organising committee. It was my first time involved in such a multi-disciplinary exercise simulating an actual industrial experience where architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and facility managers have a say in deciding how a building should be constructed based on each other’s needs, even at the earliest stage of design.

I also enjoyed the visit to the construction site of Eunoia JC. The visit highlighted the country’s push for DfMA through the usage of MET (Mass Engineered Timber). Knowing that, I became more inspired to help change this sector by using more sustainable materials and facilitate efficient and safe construction methods.

Would you recommend the programme to your peers?

Yes. The dialogue sessions with industry professionals help to prepare students for their internships and manage their expectations of the sector. It is important that students are aware of how working life is different from school life. As a company employee, interns have to take the initiative to juggle learning new items and complete the multiple tasks assigned to them. Having these dialogue sessions allow professionals and students to be candid about each other’s expectations.

What do you think will be some of the challenges and opportunities for the sector in the years ahead?

Keeping up with newer methods and technologies is a challenge companies will constantly face. These technologies may present many opportunities to revamp the sector, but they also require time, resources and sometimes, a legislative push before it is implemented widely in the sector such as the adoption of BIM for authority submissions.

What kind of contributions do you hope to make to the built environment sector?

I hope to always be the first mover in implementing novel ideas, and to pave the way for others on how things can be done.

Read about the inaugural run of the BE Formation Programme here.

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The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is an agency under the Ministry of National Development, whose mission is to shape a safe, high quality, sustainable and friendly built environment. As the lead public agency, we champion transforming Singapore into a future-ready built environment.