Speech by MOS Zaqy Mohamad at the BCA Awards Night

May 29, 2019 20:45

Good evening. I am very happy to join you for the BCA Awards Night, where we celebrate and recognise the achievements and the contributions of our Built Environment (BE) stakeholders.

Construction ITM – Progress Update

Last year, we launched the BuildSG movement to foster tripartite collaboration as we embarked on our transformation journey through the various Built Environment Industry Transformation Maps, or ITMs.

It has been a year, and it is timely for us to come together this evening to take stock of the progress we have made thus far.

Our Construction ITM sets out the vision for our Built Environment sector: 
a) to transform ourselves into an advanced and integrated sector,
b) with progressive and collaborative firms leading the way,
c) and to create good jobs for Singaporeans.

Collectively, we have done well last year because of our joint commitment to this vision. Let me share some progress in the key transformation areas.

We have achieved more than 2% site productivity improvement in 2018, and a cumulative site productivity improvement of 15% since we embarked on our productivity journey nine years ago. This is only possible because your projects have increasingly adopted productive Design for Manufacturing and Assembly, or DfMA, technologies. In particular, as one of the game changing methods that support DfMA, Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction, or PPVC, encourages productivity improvements in terms of manpower and time savings. We now have about 10 completed PPVC projects, with about 70 others on-going. In total, more than 40 firms have gained experience in implementing PPVC Projects. This is a very good start.

We are also pushing the frontier with prefabricated Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing, or MEP, systems. Prefabricated MEP systems bring about benefits such as better quality control, reduced manpower requirements, and faster and safer construction. Even though prefabricated MEP is relatively new in Singapore, we have seen strong adoption of this technology. To date, nine facilities have started to produce prefabricated MEP systems locally, and 20 local projects have already adopted MEP systems.

Let me share an example by CapitaLand – the new CapitaSpring building at Market Street, which is the first mixed-use development in Singapore to adopt prefab MEP systems. Scheduled for completion in the first half of 2021, CapitaSpring will be adopting prefab MEP for its common corridors, plant rooms and risers. This will improve on-site productivity by around 50%. I encourage you to emulate good examples like CapitaSpring, so we can reach greater heights in our productivity journey!  

Many of you have also made the leap from only using Building Information Modelling, or BIM, for design and construction, to harnessing its potential throughout the entire building lifecycle. This is Integrated Digital Design, or IDD in short, which uses digital technologies to integrate work processes, and connects BE professionals working on the same project. Deploying IDD in your projects reduces abortive work, and brings about more efficient operations and maintenance. This results in significant productivity improvement and cost savings for the industry. 

An example of a project that has used IDD effectively is the Rochester Commons, by Ascendas-Singbridge. Using technologies such as cloud based platforms for BIM and on-site virtual reality facilities, the developer is able to work with the main contractor, specialist sub-contractors and consultants to coordinate and optimise the building design, including factoring in Design for Maintainability (DfM) requirements upstream. In addition, with IDD, the project parties use digital tools to better manage the logistics and quality control of prefabricated components, and to help ensure worker safety. In time, I hope we will see more of your projects reaping such benefits through the use of IDD.

We are also breaking new ground for Green Buildings with the introduction of BCA’s Super Low Energy Programme, or SLE Programme in short. SLE buildings are at least 40% more energy efficient than a typical building today. This evening, to recognise these efforts, BCA will be giving out the inaugural Green Mark Super Low Energy Award. I would like to congratulate Nanyang Technological University for setting a high standard among the SLE winners, clinching the award for eight projects on its campus, including the Wave, Nanyang House and the Nanyang Auditorium.

Let me share with you another inspiring example – the Samwoh Smart Hub. This building is designed with energy and water saving measures, such as windowless East-West façades and on-site water recycling features. It also leverages the latest technologies to optimise utility management and consumption through a smart Building Management System and Facility Management with BIM. Together with its high-yield solar panels, the building is not only self-sufficient, but able to produce about 10% more energy than it needs. For its efforts, Samwoh Smart Hub will receive the Green Mark SLE Award this evening. Congratulations to everyone involved in the project!  

New Initiatives under the Construction ITM 

Let me move on to another important area in our transformation journey, which is capability and talent development. To succeed in our transformation efforts, our workforce, including leaders in the BE sector, must be competent and forward looking. This is why we are putting in place talent development strategies through the new iBuildSG Leadership Engagement and Development (LEAD) framework, which we have jointly developed with the industry to meet the needs of the sector. I’m happy to note that the iBuildSG LEAD signing ceremony for partnership agreements took place earlier this evening. Two of our Higher Institutes of Learning, the Singapore Management University and the Singapore University of Technology and Design, have both come on board. They will develop and execute the LEAD Horizon and LEAD Milestone Programmes under the framework. These programmes will help our industry leaders strengthen their leadership and innovation abilities, and learn from global best practices. BCA will also work with SkillsFuture Singapore and EDB to help provide funding for the training programmes under this framework via the national SkillsFuture Leadership Development initiative for the BE Sector.

On the other hand, BCA is also working with Workforce Singapore and the private sector to help build firms’ capabilities to transform. For example, under the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme, WSG recently launched the WSG Lean Process and Job Redesign Programme for the Construction sector, in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, to support firms in their lean transformation journey. The programme helps firms to re-engineer their processes through integrated planning and scheduling and the use of the latest digital technologies. This will make the operations of participating firms more efficient. The programme started two days ago with eight participating firms. I encourage all firms to look into ways to re-engineer their processes to achieve higher productivity, which in turn will improve firms’ profitability.

Real Estate ITM (Facilities Management) – Progress Update

Apart from the Construction ITM, we are also making progress in transforming the Facilities Management (FM) sector under the Real Estate ITM. Our goal is to uplift the FM sector by making it more productive via greater technology adoption. In this regard, the Facility Management Implementation Committee, or FMIC in short, is making headway. While implementation details are being worked out, the public sector will be adopting outcome-based procurement for FM services. Instead of stipulating the amount of manpower FM service providers need to provide, agencies will stipulate the desired outcomes in the contract. This provides flexibility for these firms to leverage technology to meet the outcomes.

Another focus of the FMIC is Design for Maintainability, or DfM in short.  DfM ensures that buildings are designed to be efficient and safe to maintain. We have worked with building owners and FM practitioners to develop DfM Guides customised according to building types, and with greater emphasis on Smart FM strategies. The DfM Guides will help you weave in maintainability considerations into your design, and achieve cost and labour savings over the lifespan of the building.

New initiatives under Facilities Management

To help the industry to adopt DfM, we have implemented two new initiatives this year.

First, we have developed a new, dedicated DfM Guide for Municipal Infrastructure. This Guide puts together good design practices for public municipal facilities, which can be applied to common spaces and facilities in between buildings within a development. The Guide would also be useful to many of our industry partners like private developers and FM practitioners.

Second, BCA is piloting a new Maintainable Design Appraisal System, or MiDAS in short. MiDAS is a practical tool that you can use to assess a building design’s degree of maintainability, based on labour efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In gist, it is a scoring system that takes a life cycle view of a building to help developers and designers optimise their design for more efficient operations and maintenance across a building’s lifespan. The MiDAS is a voluntary initiative, and the pilot will help us to refine the current prototype. I encourage you to partner BCA in the pilot for MiDAS. 


In conclusion, the BuildSG movement may have only started a year ago, but our tripartite collaboration dates back much further, and we have seen encouraging results. The award winners this evening exemplify the ability and excellence of our local firms – a clear sign that we are moving in the right direction. This year, we have a record number of award winners. BCA Chairman Mr Lee Fook Sun reminded me that there is a large number of award winners because many of you are meeting very high standards, and therefore it is only right that we recognise your efforts with the awards.
But transformation is an on-going journey, and we must continue to strive to do our best.

On that note, I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to all award winners. I hope to see you all again at the inaugural International Built Environment Week in September this year. Have a great evening, everyone. Thank you.