Singapore Looks To Engineering Community For Construction Productivity | Gov Monitor

Singapore Looks To Engineering Community For Construction Productivity Gov Monitor

Engineers could help raise construction productivity through better work and design processes.Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for National Development Development and Education at the Professional Engineers Board Day of Dedication on 30 October 2010 at Raffles City Convention Center.
Engineer (Er) Lau Joo Ming, President, Professional Engineers Board,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen:
Today’s Day of Dedication is an excellent occasion to reaffirm the engineering profession’s commitment to high standards of professionalism and service to the public.
Role of Engineers
Since independence, our engineers have played a key role towards the growth and development of our city state. As we strive to make Singapore an endearing home and a distinctive global city, our engineers will continually be called upon to create innovative design solutions for infrastructural developments in our land-scarce country.
We will also require more sophisticated engineering expertise to devise cost-effective solutions to achieve environmental sustainability. These include the development of green buildings, the adoption of sustainable construction practices, and the effective management of facilities in buildings.
In this regard, I commend the Professional Engineers Board’s initiative to include environmental sustainability as part of the Professional Engineer’s ethos and to express this commitment in the Professional Engineer’s Pledge.
Raising Productivity
As part of our national effort, the productivity drive in the construction industry is well underway. To-date, more than 300 companies have applied for the various incentive schemes under the Construction Productivity and Capability Fund (or CPCF in short).
Engineering firms can also tap on this Fund to build capability and increase productivity. Let me take this opportunity to outline two key areas where our engineers can do more to give our construction productivity drive a further push. They are technology adoption, and designing for buildability and constructability.
Tapping on Technology
First, engineers should continuously exploit the use of technology to improve their work processes. As a case in point, many developed countries are using the Building Information Modelling (or BIM in short) to reap significant productivity gains.
BIM enables the integration of the architectural, structural and M&E designs and allows highly efficient 3D or even 4D modeling analysis for clash detection and project management. It can also be used downstream for facility management when the project is completed.
Through the BIM Fund under CPCF, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is encouraging stakeholders in the entire construction value chain to use BIM to boost overall construction productivity. The new Centre for Construction IT at the BCA Academy will play a chaperone role and guide industry users to tap on the BIM Fund.
Already, five engineering firms have applied for funding support. I encourage more firms to tap on this source of funding to purchase software and send their staff for training to be adept in BIM solutions.
In addition, to encourage greater industry buy-in for BIM, our regulatory agencies are conducting pilot exercises to accept engineering BIM plans for approval.
These agencies are already accepting architectural BIM plans for approval. BIM usage is thus set to rise over the next few years.
Designing for Buildability & Constructability
The second area where engineers can help raise construction productivity is through the design process. Maintaining the status quo in design and process may be convenient, but is definitely not the best option in the long term. I urge all of you to exercise your ingenuity, and to challenge the status quo in design and processes so as to bring about greater integration and change in the construction industry.
You play an important role to ensure that upstream designs consider productivity concepts early, and that construction downstream can be carried out safely and efficiently.
BCA’s Buildability Framework requires our architects and engineers to design based on greater standardisation such as ceiling height and staircases, and more flexibility to allow for off-site prefabrication and on-site assembly. It also discourages designs which use a lot of labour. For example, the Framework will allocate higher buildability scores to the use of drywall compared to traditional brickwall which is about 3 times more labour intensive.
Good buildable designs will have to be complemented by the adoption of labour-efficient technologies and methods to improve productivity at the construction stage. To achieve this, BCA will be introducing “constructability” requirements into its Buildability Framework in 2011.
Builders will have to comply with a new minimum constructability score downstream which encourages the use of system formwork in lieu of traditional formwork, climbing scaffolding in place of external scaffolding, and other innovative construction technologies and methods which reduce labour usage. To allow builders the freedom to choose the most productive construction method, our architects and engineers have to ensure that their designs provide for this flexibility.
PEB’s Developmental RoleAmidst our push to raise productivity, engineers have to continuously upgrade themselves to stay relevant and be updated on the latest engineering design approaches, technologies and costings. PEB is in a good position to play such a key developmental role for engineers.
I am pleased to announce that PEB will start a structured development programme in 2011 for professional engineers to mentor graduate engineers who wish to seek PEB registration. This will be a voluntary programme where senior engineers can help and facilitate aspiring younger engineers to acquire relevant training and experience. Participants would be required to work under the guidance of a supervisor and an adviser who will systematically guide them in developing competencies at a professional level. PEB is also working with the Institute of Engineers Singapore (IES) to conduct preparatory courses for candidates taking the PE examination.
Moving forward, PEB will review and fine tune its continuing professional development programme to ensure engineers are updated on new technologies and design approaches to improve productivity. PEB will also introduce additional specialised branches of engineering to build up capability and expertise, and provide career progression for engineers.
Promoting Engineering as a Career
As we raise productivity and provide more developmental pathways for engineers, we must also continue to attract and retain talent within the profession. I encourage PEB and other engineering associations like IES and ACES to work together to promote the engineering profession and provide the value propositions for our young Singaporeans to be interested in engineering.
Let me now take this opportunity to congratulate the graduates from the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University who are awarded the PEB’s Gold Medal for excellence in your studies. Engineering is indeed a rewarding career which is creative and challenging.
I urge all our young engineers to strive to be at the forefront of engineering innovations, and seek to upgrade your expertise in your field of specialisation. You can look to pioneers who have, through their boldness and creativity, spearheaded Singapore’s infrastructural development.
One such pioneer is Er Tan Gee Paw, who is an outstanding luminary of the profession, and is the keynote speaker at today’s event. Er Tan has dedicated his long career of 40 years to the environmental and water engineering fields, the last nine of which he spent as Chairman of our national water agency, PUB.
In conclusion, I am confident that the engineering profession will rise to the challenge to catalyse change within the profession and play a key role in our construction productivity drive and continued economic growth. On this Day of Dedication for engineers, I would also like to thank the engineering profession for its many contributions to Singapore’s socio-economic development.

Keywords - singapore, moladi formwork, ibs, engineering, Construction Productivity, Tapping Technology, socio-economic development

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