Opening Speech by SMS Tan at Architectural Specifer Market 2023 at Resorts World Sentosa, West Ballroom

Jun 8, 2023

1. A very good morning to everyone. It is my pleasure to be here again for the third edition of the Architectural Specifier Market (ASM).

2. Over the years, ASM has brought different stakeholders across the Built Environment value chain together to exchange knowledge and share their latest technologies and innovations.

3. Today, I would like to share about three key areas: First, working with architects to transform the Built Environment (BE) sector; second, building a sustainable and inclusive future; and third, future urban planning opportunities for architects.

Transforming the BE sector together

4. Through our combined efforts and resilience, the BE sector has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and is catching up on backlogs, while embarking on new projects. Looking ahead, we expect stable construction demand in the coming years.  

5. However, our operating environment has become increasingly complex, with significant uncertainties in the global economic environment. We must be prepared for challenges and headwinds that can disrupt our sector yet again.

6. We must continue to press on to implement the strategies under our refreshed Built Environment Industry Transformation Map (BE ITM).

a. The refreshed BE ITM envisions a value chain, building lifecycle approach towards transformation, where various stakeholders transform in tandem to maximise synergies.

7. A key transformation area is leveraging digitalisation to improve productivity. We established Common Data Environment (CDE) data standards for the industry to facilitate this.

a. This ensures data compatibility and allows for seamless digital collaboration between project stakeholders.

b. For instance, consultants can collaborate with one another to produce detailed Building Information Modelling (BIM) models. These can then be shared with contractors and facilities managers to provide guidance throughout the  construction and maintenance processes.

8. Thank you for coming onboard our digitalisation efforts, providing your inputs and working together to shape our projects.

9. One key good example of our collaborative effort is CORENET X. We hope to launch CORENET X in the later part of the year. This project took us many years of working collaboratively with developers, consultants, contractors, regulators and stakeholders in the BE value chain to redesign the building approval process.

10. I look forward to your continued support and believe this will improve productivity which will hopefully lead to less abortive work downstream.

Architects’ role in creating a sustainable and inclusive Singapore

11. Ensuring sustainability is another crucial aspect of our transformation efforts. This is why, in 2021, we launched the latest edition of the Singapore Green Building Masterplan to help accelerate our transition towards a low-carbon built environment.

a. Architects play a critical role in this endeavour.  

i. You can do so by designing buildings that enable better environmental performance, for instance, having more naturally ventilated spaces and designing building forms that optimize shade and wind flow.

ii. You can also design buildings that incorporate energy-efficient solutions like hybrid cooling systems, as well as renewable energy solutions such as solar panels and building-integrated or building-attached photovoltaics. 

12. Furthermore, I envision a future Singapore that is not only inclusive but also compassionate, particularly as our population continues to age.

a. As professional architects, you play a vital role in ensuring that our buildings, infrastructure and spaces are designed to be accessible, and can effectively support the needs of our senior citizens.

13. Beyond Universal Design, one area of feedback that MND has been hearing frequently through our various public engagements is a wish for our urban spaces to be more people-centric and liveable.

a. I certainly agree with the feedback shared. I am happy to share that through various policies and initiatives, the Government is committed to supporting these ambitions through various schemes. For example, URA’s pilot Business Improvement District programme, which facilitates place management by businesses.

b. To this end, I encourage architects to constantly improve our urban design to be more vibrant and comfortable.

c. This includes retrofitting existing buildings to create community spaces for all to enjoy and designing our infrastructure to be more walkable and with active mobility in mind.

Future opportunities on urban planning 

14. Next, I wanted to talk about some of the urban planning opportunities that our future presents for our architects.

15. Over the years, the Government has been partnering architects to create a more a liveable and loveable public realm.

a. We recognise that architects like yourselves are often the key piece of the puzzle to realise ideas from the public, and we try our best to help catalyse these projects.

16. At the local level, we have been creating opportunities for architects to contribute.

a. For example, URA organised the Play@Punggol design competition from February to April 2023 for all practising designers and architects to design installations that enhance our public spaces at Punggol Waterway. We have received excellent submissions. 

b. URA also has the Public Space Programme to encourage community-driven place-making projects in public spaces.

c. For example, the Lively Places Fund fosters collaboration with architects to develop more vibrant and bonded communities. We welcome anyone to apply to enliven our public spaces.

17. Looking ahead, there are many more opportunities in the horizon, that our architects can seize. During the Long-Term Plan Review, URA partnered with the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) to come up with innovative designs to master plan the future town that would take over Paya Lebar Airbase.

a. There are other future developments, including Jurong Lake District and Punggol Digital District.

18. The upcoming Master Plan review also presents exciting opportunities for architects to create a more beautiful and liveable Singapore, over the next 10 to 15 years. I encourage all to participate in URA’s public engagement. This will take place over the next 2 to 3 years, and I encourage all to share your ideas.


19. To conclude, I would like to thank SIA for once again inviting me to today’s event and their continued partnership. The Government will remain committed to work in close partnership and support efforts to improve our built environment for the people of Singapore. With that, I wish you all a fruitful event ahead.

20.         Thank you.