Construction Technology: How is Singapore Improving Productivity?

How is Singapore Improving Productivity with Construction Technology?

Singapore’s construction technology is constantly improving, and you need to know what to watch for to keep ahead. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening.

Construction Technology & Productivity

Since 2009, construction site productivity has been steadily improving in Singapore by an average of 1.3% per year.

However, there is still work to be done.

Now, there is a need to further boost productivity in the built environment sector.

This increase is needed in order to meet the national productivity target.

So what can help continue to increase Singapore construction productivity?

We have two words for you: construction technology.

What Singapore Needs—Game-Changing Construction Technology

New construction technology is here, and it’s about to do big things. The goal of these technologies in the construction community is to increase construction productivity in Singapore.

In Singapore, developers who successfully bid for projects on selected government sale sites have a lot of work to do. Now, these developers will have to adopt more productive construction methods, and fast. They must do so by the end of this year.

Some new game-changing construction technology is crucial, and it’s needed now. These technologies should boost construction productivity and reduce the reliance on construction workers.

Examples Of Game-Changing Construction Technology

Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction

Take the 10-story building extension to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel for example.

The hotel, owned by OUE Limited, will be constructed using a new construction technology known as the Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) method.

Elsewhere, this technology is a proven game changer. However, the method is still relatively new to Singapore.

What Is A Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction?

PPVC is a construction method with free-standing volumetric modules complete with finishes for walls, floors, and ceilings.

These modules are constructed and assembled, or manufactured and assembled.

The construction or manufacturing and assembly take place in an accredited fabrication facility. All is done in accordance with any accredited fabrication method.

Next, it’s installed in a building under building works.

Benefits Of Using PPVC

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA), an agency under the Ministry of National Development, is championing the development of an excellent built environment in Singapore.

According to BCA, ‘built environment’ refers to buildings, structures, and infrastructure in our surroundings that provide the setting for community’s activities.

PPVC has known benefits, which BCA fully believes in.

BCA encourages the industry to embrace the concept of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) to raise construction productivity and fundamentally change the design and construction processes.

PPVC is one impressive construction technology that supports the DfMA concept to significantly speed up production.

PPVC has the potential to achieve a productivity improvement of up to an incredible 50%! This improvement is in terms of manpower and time savings, depending on the complexity of the projects.

The good news with PPVC continues. Dust and noise pollution can be minimized as more activities are done off-site.

Site safety will also improve. Since the bulk of installation activities and manpower would be moved off-site to a factory-controlled environment, sites will be safer.

Cross Laminated Timber

CLT is another example of a game-changing construction technology.

Compared to conventional construction methods, both PPVC and CLT are doing big things. These construction technologies enable manpower and time savings of up to 50% and 35% respectively.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force has assessed the material and is allowing the use of CLT for buildings up to 24 metres.

What Is Cross Laminated Timber?

CLT is manufactured from wood harvested from sustainably managed forests. It’s fabricated by binding layers of timber at 90 degrees with structural adhesives.

Usually, layers are glued together in a symmetric fashion so that the outer layers have the same orientation.

This produces a solid timber panel.

The cross gluing allows using the plates with two span directions whereby some differences in stiffness and strength are observed along the two directions.

There are different types of configurations for CLT. An odd number of layers is the most common, however.

CLT is similar to plywood, but with distinctively thicker laminations.

This timber is claimed to be as strong and as fire-resistant as structural steel or concrete.

Benefits Of Using CLT

CLT can support heavier loads and be applied for structural and non-structural components of buildings.

In comparison to conventional construction, using CLT technology allows for faster construction and fewer labor workers needed on site.

CLT leads to a reduction of waste onsite. This also leaves a positive impact on the surrounding community via reduced construction noise, truck movements and reduced concrete and/or general dust emission.

This timber provides sustainability benefits throughout a building’s lifecycle. This is because timber has the lowest energy and water consumption of any building material. It’s also a renewable structural building material.

Even when it’s time for demolition, CLT continues to be beneficial, as it is recyclable and reused.

Since this technology also provides a higher level of thermal performance, it reduces heating and cooling costs for occupiers as well.

A New Construction & Productivity Research & Development Road Map

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has developed a new construction and productivity research and development (R&D) roadmap.

Under this roadmap, the construction industry will step up on 35 technologies. These technologies will occur in 7 research and development clusters in the long term.

In fact, more than 500 industry players, public agencies, institutes of higher learning, and research institutes were consulted during the creation of the roadmap.

The new requirement will allow for firms to come up with more productive technologies with more innovation and scope.

The desired outcome of these technological improvement efforts is for the Singapore construction industry to be cleaner, quieter, and faster—all without compromising safety and quality.

Additionally, to improve collaboration, the BCA will be launched code of practice in October. The code is meant to guide the industry in including information needed by contractors in building information modeling models.

This move is meant to help with the issue that some contractors currently find it difficult to use such models developed by architects and engineers.

What do you think about construction technology advancements in Singapore? What do you know about similar advancements overseas? Tell us in the comments if you think Singapore is ahead of the game with construction technology, or missing out on valuable technologies.

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