Singapore Plans to Use New Technology to Develop Better Infrastructure


Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development in Singapore is of the view that the existing technology used for developing the buildings needs to be changed as they will be no longer sustainable in the longer run. He believed that optimum use of new technology is the need of the hour to construct the new buildings in Singapore.


The Wave, A Sports Hall, which was constructed mostly with mass-engineered timber and its 72m wave-like roof, took only three weeks to complete with the help of 14 workers. Apart from quick development, it yielded 25% savings in labor cost as its parts were prefabricated. Owing to the success of this sports hall, Singapore is hoping in witnessing the increase in numbers of building with the help of using modern technology and minimizing the number of laborers.


The managing director of B19 Technologies, the contractor company of The Wave, Mr. Kang Choon Boon maintains that if conventional methods were using in building the Wave, it would have taken around 3 months for the building to be completed. Furthermore, it would have required 30 workers to complete the construction of the sports hall. Mr. Wong also stated that adopting similar technologies in the construction sector will help to carry out many more buildings with the same number of workers.


As per Mr. Wong, four construction projects out of 10 will be completed by 2020 using the latest technology methods. The Housing Board Blocks project will also be the one that will be developed using the latest technology. The major reason behind opting for the latest method is the shortage of workers. It becomes a major constraint and most of the delay in the construction of a project is caused because of this reason.


The factor that goes against the use of new technologies is its cost. Sports hall, The Wave, costed $35 million for its construction. That is the reason why most of the public agencies have shown apprehensiveness for opting for newer technology. They would rather go for traditional methods despite requiring excessive number of labors due to the cost factor.


John Keung, The chief executive officer of Building and Construction Authority in Singapore, put stress on the fact that public agencies have already started to adopt the new technology in the construction sector. However, the industry insiders have something different to say. They believe that the current situation depicts that the aim of the Government looks far from reality at this moment. The reason behind the difficulty in achieving the set goal of the government is the poor performance of construction sector in Singapore. Its low growth rate (forecasted at 0.3% this year) has made the accomplishment of this goal an uphill task and as per Mr. Kenneth Loo, it will take at least more than 3years for the government to reach their goal.


The ones that have been affected the most by the lower growth rates of the construction sector and a shortage of workers are the small contractors. They can’t avail the option of using the newer technology due to budget constraints. However, the BCA says that most of the companies need to use the latest technology in order to the costs to come down. It is a matter of demand and supply as costs come down when more of the projects using latest technology are in the process.
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