1. How does the Ministry develop and promote a quality construction industry?
The Ministry works closely with Building & Construction Authority (BCA) to put in place schemes to improve and develop the industry. The schemes, in particular, focus on developing industry's skills and professionalism, design and construction capabilities, niche expertise and the export of construction-related services.
A Construction Registration of Tradesmen (CoreTrade) Scheme has been put in place to build up a localised core trade foremen and tradesmen. In addition, BCA also promotes the use of the Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS) as the de facto national yardstick for measuring the workmanship quality of building projects. The Quality Mark (QM) Scheme was launched in 2002 to propel the industry workmanship standards to a greater height to meet the rising expectation of homeowners. The BCA Green Mark Scheme, meanwhile, was launched in 2005 to promote sustainable design, and best practices in construction and operations in buildings.
For more information, you may refer to BCA’s website http://www.bca.gov.sg/Publications/EnhancementSeries/enhancement_series.html
2. What is barrier-free accessibility, and how does the Ministry enhance it?
The issue of accessibility is increasingly relevant to Singapore as we expect the number of people with mobility difficulties to increase over the years. An accessible environment will allow our elderly residents to maintain their independence, as we strive towards a more inclusive society. To prepare ourselves for an ageing population, the Ministry and BCA worked closely to introduce a Code on Barrier Free Accessibility in Buildings in 1990, subsequently renamed to Code on Accessibility in the Built Environment, with the aim of making our buildings more user-friendly for people with mobility difficulties. The latest Code, reviewed by a tripartite working committee, was launched in July 2019.
There remains a large stock of pre-1990 buildings that are still "inaccessible", and therefore a 10-year Barrier-Free Accessibility (BFA) Upgrading Programme (2007-2016) had been put in place to support the upgrading of these buildings.
To encourage private sector participation, a $40-million Accessibility Fund has been set aside to upgrade buildings built before 1990 which are not BFA-compliant.
For more information, you may refer to BCA’s website https://www1.bca.gov.sg/regulatory-info/building-control/universal-design-and-friendly-buildings/code-on-accessibility-in-the-built-environment
3. How does the Ministry ensure environmental sustainability in the built environment?
As Singapore aspires to be a leading global city in environmental sustainability, there is scope to further improve on energy efficiency requirements in buildings, to address the impact of climate change. While the focus on energy efficiency remains important, MND has taken a more holistic approach to encourage environmental friendliness in buildings to ensure that environmental quality and comfort are not compromised.
Through BCA, the Ministry has enhanced the Building Control Act and put in place the Building Control (Environmental Sustainability) Regulations, to require a minimum environmental sustainability standard that is equivalent to the Green Mark Certified Level for new buildings and existing ones that undergo major retrofitting.
For more information, you may refer to BCA’s website https://www1.bca.gov.sg/regulatory-info/legislation-on-environmental-sustainability-for-buildings