Singapore Construction Companies: On Training and Preparation for Challenges
Singapore construction companies need to use innovative methods to train their workers and prep their business. Here’s what you need to know to prepare.
Singapore construction companies have been enjoying the building boom in Singapore in recent years. And while there appears to be a slowing of the rapid growth that has taken place over the past few years, the construction industry itself is still in demand
Bucking the downward trend in the global economy, Singapore has seen its construction star rise rapidly since the global downturn began. As a whole, and in contrast with other trends elsewhere in the world, the construction industry has been thriving. In fact, the construction industry in Singapore has become an essential and irreplaceable pillar of the entire Singapore economy.
But, in recent months, the construction industry has entered a new phase. And, although the outlook is still favourable, Singapore construction companies face a number of new challenges in this new economic environment.
An Overview of the Construction Industry
Public and private investments have been driving the Singapore construction market in the past decade. Both domestic and foreign investors have been attracted to Singapore as a destination and a place to do business.
New business parks have been built, shopping malls have been erected and the hotel sector, in particular, has experienced an unprecedented and hugely impressive explosion.
The government has played a huge part in this as well, with a series of massive public sector projects rolled out regularly. Public housing projects have been undertaken, schools have been built and the construction of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), the Downtown Line of which is due to be completed in 2017, have all added to the rise and rise of Singapore’s construction industry.
With all of this demand, construction companies have established themselves with increasing regularity in Singapore. New construction companies have been appearing consistently in the top ten of new company registrations.
All very good, so far. So, if a rising tide raises all boats, what does a lowering one do?
The Singapore construction industry was always liable to enter a slowdown, and that slowdown has begun. What are construction companies and the government to do in this new phase in the market?
It is crucial that both react to the changing environmental demands and that reaction will best come in the areas of training and Prep.
Singapore Construction Companies and the Government – What to do now?
There a variety of different approaches that construction companies can take to reconsolidate their position as a big player in the construction market and to ensure their future in a changing economic climate. They can be ably assisted in all of this by the government.
Here a few approaches in training and prep that might prove helpful:
Construction companies will need to diversify their offerings in this new phase. They will have to expand their scope of work in order to incorporate new ideas and approaches. For example, some construction companies have already begun to offer extensions on their existing work – alterations, upgrades, etc.
Diversification is a must in the growing global economy. Those companies that fail to do so risk extinction.
The good news for construction companies is that the government is leading the way with this. Singapore’s BCA has recently launched a ‘Multi-Skilling Scheme’ as part of their ‘Construction Productivity Roadmap’. The aim is to create multi-skilled tradesmen so that deployment issues no longer arise.
Singapore construction companies have long relied on an influx of foreign workers to supplement their local workforce. This has been due to many reasons, among which are an ageing population and the huge demand that has been at the forefront of the industry.
Another problem that has faced companies is the unwillingness of some Singaporeans to enter the construction workforce. A core reason for this is the notion that some people have had about construction being a low-skilled or mid-skilled job.
Get The Locals On Board
Construction companies have simply got to get local people on board in this industry. Since the government has introduced a quota on the number of foreign workers allowed to enter the workforce, the local Singaporeans will be needed to drive the construction industry forward.
Professional training is a must in this regard. Making a career in construction attractive begins with high – quality training. If you are going to have locals who are proud to be a part of the industry, then you must equip them with the best training that money can buy.
Not only must the training be top quality, it must also come with regulation and assessment. Turning unskilled, unmotivated locals into confident, competent, committed workers is a tough task. But assisting them to gain the knowledge and giving them the expertise and the know-how to become active members of the construction industry is a gift that will keep on giving into the future.
The Singaporean government can help here by aiming to attract the next generation of industry workers into the construction sector. They can issue a myriad of economic incentives to get local workers involved in building projects within their own community. It’s a win-win.
The spate of safety issues and the increasing fatality rates in the construction industry in the last nine months has shone a light on the importance of safety training for any and all employees.
A rush to finish certain jobs, a lack of adequate safety training and a higher monthly foreign worker levy may all have pushed safety standards below what they need to be.
Urgent and expert safety training must be provided (and must be government backed) to all workers if they themselves are to have any confidence in the workplace, and if the industry itself is to survive and thrive in the coming years.
The Singapore Tourism Board is to place greater emphasis on tourism – related construction within the next year. The government would do well to place a growing emphasis on safety to correspond with this tourism drive.
Construction And Innovation
These two words are not mutually exclusive. Rather, going forward they must be put front and centre.
Innovation within the construction industry does not require a massive re-think or a complete U-Turn in common practices. It requires a well-thought out, future-focused strategy that places funding, training and safety at its core.
There may be many challenges facing the construction industry at present, but there are just as many solutions waiting to be discovered.