Speech by Minister Desmond Lee at the Opening of Digital Reality’s SIN12 Data Centre

Apr 6, 2021

Good morning.

I am very pleased to join all of you for the opening of Digital Realty’s new SIN12 Data Centre, and it is quite fitting that we are doing this digitally.

Digital Realty is one of the leading providers of data centres globally, with close to 300 data centres across 24 countries. SIN12 is Digital Realty’s third data centre in Singapore and is one of our largest data centres today.

Beyond this, I would like to hold SIN12 up as a good example of how good collaboration between Digital Realty, your main contractor Straits Construction and the rest of the project team can lead to infrastructure that is smart, resilient, and sustainable. Allow me to elaborate briefly. 

Building SIN12 in a Smart, Resilient and Sustainable Manner

First, building smart. For the construction of SIN12, a Common Data Environment was adopted to facilitate the tighter integration of the entire construction process. In particular, the Common Data Environment allowed your consultants and your contractors to collaborate and work on the building design during the COVID-19 pandemic, when much of this work had to be done remotely. This ensured your work could continue despite travel restrictions and onsite work disruptions. 

Second, building resiliently. SIN12 leveraged Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) technologies to build more productively. You used precast concrete and prefab Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) systems and it allowed construction work to be moved off-site. This resulted in at least 30% productivity improvements when compared to traditional, manpower-intensive construction onsite. In addition, the precast concrete components for the project were 100% sourced locally. Taken together, this allowed SIN12 to complete construction on time, and not be as affected as many other firms by shortages in manpower and materials due to COVID-19 border restrictions.

Third, on building sustainably. I am pleased that SIN12 has attained the BCA Green Mark Platinum certification for data centres. This is the highest certification that a data centre can attain under the BCA-IMDA Green Mark for Data Centres scheme. As the digital economy continues to grow, it is important to ensure that our digital infrastructure is as environmentally sustainable as possible, and SIN12 has done well to be over 30% more energy efficient than the industry norm. 

A Smart, Resilient and Sustainable Built Environment Sector

Smart, resilient and sustainable buildings like SIN12 are what we are actively encouraging in Singapore. This is part of our ongoing efforts to transform our Built Environment sector.

On that note, COVID-19 has accentuated the need for transformation given the challenges faced by firms, including reduced productivity, and manpower shortages.

Indeed, we have stepped up our efforts in encouraging firms to leverage digitalisation in building smart. Through the efforts of our Alliance for Action (AfA) on Digitalising the Built Environment, close to 300 firms have committed to adopting industry-wide Common Data Environment data standards. We will continue to encourage the wide adoption of this common standard, which will enable seamless collaboration across the industry and reduce abortive work across the value chain.

We are also working with the industry to improve the resilience of the sector, learning from our experience with COVID-19. This includes encouraging firms to adopt Design for Manufacturing and Assembly and build more efficiently with fewer onsite headcounts. In the event of another global pandemic, the industry will be less affected by manpower shortages, if we transform. In this regard, we aim to make DfMA the default building method for larger projects, and remain on track to achieve our target of 70% DfMA adoption by 2025 or earlier. 

We have also launched the Singapore Green Building Masterplan to pursue more ambitious sustainability standards in the Built Environment, or “80-80-80” in 2030. Beyond the target of greening 80% of our buildings, we are also aiming for 80% of new buildings to be Super Low Energy buildings, and an 80% improvement in energy efficiency for our best-in-class buildings compared to 2005 levels. Achieving these targets will not only reduce our carbon emissions, but also enable building owners and developers to reap cost savings over the building lifecycle. 


As we enter our next bound of recovery from COVID-19, we must pursue in earnest a decisive shift towards a smart, sustainable and resilient construction industry. Together, we can develop a Built Environment that serves us well not only for the present, but for future generations.

In conclusion, let me congratulate Digital Realty once again for opening the SIN12 Data Centre. I wish the team every success.