Two HDB Initiatives for a Brighter, and Safer Future


September 7th saw the announcement of two major new R&D initiatives between the HDB and both the NTU (Nanyang Technological University) and the SUTD (Singapore University of Technology and Design). It is hoped that the agreements – both for three years, will firstly improve productivity and enhance safety in the construction industry by utilising such tools as big data and smart technology, and secondly help to create stronger communities.


Smart Integrated Construction System (SICS)

This $4.7M project, taken in partnership with the NTU, aims to achieve its goals of increasing productivity while at the same reducing accidents by leveraging new smart technology and analytical tools across all parts of the industry. There are three main components of the initiative, all of which will be operated and controlled via a smart tracking system.


  • Integrated Building Information System (IBIS) – In effect this is a huge digital database, where all stakeholders have access, and are able to log and access real time information on every part of the process. This results in far quicker and transparent sharing of information, which in turn, means it is easier for contractors and developers to keep within budget and timeframes.


  • Smart Tracking System – in conjunction with the IBIS, this handles all of the logistical side of things, from the supply side onto and into the actual construction site. This is achieved via smart geo tagged sensors that are attached to materials and components enabling the easier management of workflows. It also aids in the swift identification and rectification of mistakes and incorrect deliveries.


  • Smart Crane System – This aims to vastly reduce timescales, as well as improve onsite safety, by automating the lifting of building materials and components. This is achieved through smart sensors both around the construction site itself, as well as embedded within the materials to be hoisted. The system is then able to work out the fastest – and safest – way of lifting the materials to their end destinations, with the minimum of swaying and potential collisions.



The Quest to Create New Urban Kampungs

The second of the agreements is in conjunction with the SUTD, and aims to provide the framework for better and stronger communities, by assessing the needs and requirements for today’s rapidly changing society. With a budget of $6M, it will take advantage of state of the art modelling and analysis tools, and is divided into four distinct sections.

  1. Whereas traditional surveys and studies of HDB residents have solely concentrated on the age, income and race, this will go much deeper by way of, among other tools, networks of sensors, gathering information on such things as human traffic and movement. It is hoped this will lead to the better use of communal spaces as more targeted and relevant facilities are identified and provided.
  2. The way we measure our quality of life has changed over the last generation, so this project aims to discover what is now key to residents’ levels of satisfaction and happiness.
  3. A major part of this project will focus on ways to bring residents together, so that they can share common spaces, time and pursuits. By studying the behaviour and movement of residents, it is hoped to find common interests specific to that estate, and hence provide facilities to aid those interests.
  4. The initiative will integrate existing and successful analysis and modelling tools such as the CAVI (City Application Visual Interface), to help predict the likely outcome and receptiveness of new projects in the communities.



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