Speech by 2M Desmond Lee at the HDB Awards 2017
Good evening. Tonight, we celebrate the achievements of our design and construction industry in working with HDB to develop good homes for Singaporeans.
As Singapore’s public housing authority and largest housing developer, HDB has provided homes for over 80% of our resident population, in one million HDB flats, across 26 towns and estates. In the last 10 years alone, it has built some 150,000 flats � more than 4 times the size of Toa Payoh town. Despite the large building workload, HDB has continued to invest in technology in order to pursue design and construction excellence.
Achieving Higher Quality Standards
As early as the 1980s, HDB adopted pre-cast technology as a key thrust of its productivity drive. Today, HDB is the industry leader in pre-cast construction � some 70 per cent of a typical HDB building is constructed using the prefabrication method. This has helped us to achieve consistently high levels of construction productivity. With better quality control of precast technology, we have also been able to offer better finishes in our flats.
HDB has also pioneered the use of Prefinished, Prefabricated Volumetric Construction (PPVC) and Prefabricated Bathroom Units (PBUs) in public housing projects. It adopted concrete PBUs at Fernvale Lea in SengKang in 2011; And piloted its PPVC project at Valley Spring @ Yishun, which is currently under construction. With the experience and knowledge gained from these two projects, HDB is now progressively expanding the use of concrete PPVC and PBUs to more HDB projects. So by 2019, we expect to use PPVC, to build over one third of all our new flats, while PBUs will be implemented in all new flats, where feasible. This initiative will of course require the support of our industry partners. HDB will be working closely with all of you to build up our collective capacity and capabilities in this area.
To improve the quality of our flats and raise construction productivity, HDB has also implemented other initiatives such as laminated uPVC doors and Vinyl Strip Flooring. Laminated uPVC doors are not only easier to install, but are fire-resistant, stronger and more durable than conventional timber doors. Similarly, Vinyl Strip Flooring, which is pre-finished at factories off-site, can be installed easily, saving time and increasing productivity on-site.
With innovation and better use of technology, HDB has achieved an overall productivity improvement of 12.3 per cent in 2016, as compared to 2010, and exceeding the 2016 target of 12 per cent. This is an average productivity growth of around 2 per cent a year, in line with the national productivity target of 2 to 3 per cent improvement per year. With higher productivity levels, HDB now requires less manpower for its construction. To illustrate, HDB can construct a 4-room flat in 182 man-days today, as compared to 205-man-days back in 2010.
R&D to Drive Productivity Growth
Now going forward, our built environment sector expects to face continued pressures in manpower and resources. This is the feedback we get when we spoke to the industry. For us to remain ahead of the competition, we have to look for new ways to construct our future Singapore. Our sector must be technologically advanced, highly skilled, and more productive.
To achieve this, HDB has made research and innovation its top priority. It has been progressively implementing Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) with Building Information Modelling (BIM) software in its public housing projects. In 2012, it launched the BIM Guide to assist building professionals to review their building projects digitally, before starting with actual construction on-site. This has enabled planners, surveyors, designers and builders to better align their different plans such as architectural and engineering drawings, and services like wiring and piping. To standardise the way BIM models are created, HDB has also provided the industry with a BIM library of precast objects, further streamlining the design process. So there is some regularity and uniformity in the use of objects in the BIM models.
However, despite these efforts, there are still gaps in the adoption of BIM between design offices and construction processes. To transform the process, HDB will be embarking on a research project with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to develop a Smart Integrated Construction System. This agreement, to be signed tomorrow, will examine how we can improve integration across the entire life cycle of a project, from design to supply chain, and to facilities management. HDB will share more information on this tomorrow.
Design and Construction Excellence
Tonight’s HDB Awards recognise excellent designs, as well as quality and innovative construction by our industry partners. This underscores the important role our industry plays in delivering a good living environment with high safety standards.
My heartiest congratulations to all the 12 Design Award winners for outstanding designs which have given our flats, our homes and our neighbourhoods distinctive character. For example, at Waterway Cascadia, ADDP Architects had designed the precinct with a large and prominent central green. This creates spatial relief while offering residents a panoramic view of Punggol Waterway. Also deserving of mention are the Innovative Design Award winners, such as Woodleigh Glen, Senja Ridges and Bedok Beacon. Residents can look forward to their innovative design concepts when the projects are completed in a few years’ time.
I also congratulate the 12 HDB Construction Award winners for achieving excellent building quality and ensuring the highest standards of safety on-site. In particular, China Construction (South Pacific) Development Co Pte Ltd, Teambuild Engineering & Construction Co Pte Ltd, Chiu Teng Construction Co. Pte Ltd and Hock Guan Cheong Building Pte Ltd, had achieved a CONQUAS score of above 90. The efforts and contributions of our contractors and builders have allowed HDB to uphold its commitment to build quality homes for Singaporeans.
As HDB continues to explore new ways to achieve higher construction productivity, we invite you, our stakeholders and partners, to continue to work with HDB to improve building construction and design and build even better homes for generations of Singaporeans.
Source: Ministry of National Development, Singapore