Mr Hugh Lim, Chief Executive Officer, Building and Construction Authority (BCA)
Ladies and gentlemen
1. Good Morning and welcome to SCAL’s inaugural Built Environment Summit with the theme “Construction in the Future Economy”.
2. First of all, I would like to welcome our overseas speakers. Thank you for making the trip to Singapore to share your perspectives on global construction trends and issues.
The Need for Industry Transformation
3. Today’s Summit comes at a critical time when construction in Singapore is seeing further contraction. In the latest advance economic data released by government, the construction sector contracted 6.3 per cent, extending the 6.8 per cent decline in the previous quarter. This is despite the overall economy expanding by 4.6 per cent in Q3. Quarter-on-quarter, the construction sector contracted by 9.2 per cent.
4. Construction firms today face multiple challenges such as manpower issues, rising costs, price competition, workplace safety and health, and increased regulatory controls. At SCAL’s 80th Anniversary Gala Dinner held last month, the government announced measures to help prop up the sector – including bringing forward another 700 million dollars of public infrastructure projects and tweaking the procurement rules by putting more weightage on quality and productivity over price.
5. On the broader front, the need for transformation of the industry has become even greater to ensure its growth and sustainability, and to address the changing business landscape. There is greater need for us to leverage on technology for better construction methods, processes and competencies, which are necessary to raise our productivity, enhance quality of buildings and improve safety as well as the working environment.
6. At the launch of the Singapore Construction Productivity Week on Tuesday, the government announced the Construction Industry Transformation Map, or ITM to bring the built environment sector forward as it prepares for Singapore’s future economy. Spearheaded by BCA, the ITM seeks to address the longer term challenges of the built environment sector in key areas of innovation and productivity, skills development and upgrading, sustainability, and internationalisation. SCAL has been at the forefront of providing industry inputs in the plan and today you will be among the first to hear about the Construction ITM since its launch.
7. Later-on in the programme we will be conducting a Leaders’ Dialogue with special emphasis on the ITM. I urge you to participate actively in the discussions. At this juncture I would like to express my appreciation to fellow members of the Construction Industry Joint Committee, or CIJC who will be on the panel, and also to Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO of the Singapore Business Federation, or SBF who will be moderating the session.
SCAL Productivity and Innovation Awards
8. As the leading association, SCAL has been active in championing construction productivity from the industry perspective. Last year, we launched our inaugural Productivity and Innovation Awards, or PIA in short, to encourage a ground-up approach for innovative ideas.
9. The PIA has challenged companies to think out of the box by creating innovative products and practical solutions to improve their construction work processes. This year, we are delighted to receive 33 applications, a 27% increase from last year. Ten entries have been shortlisted into the final round, and are currently being showcased at the BuildTech exhibition. If you have not visited the booths, please take time to do so.
10. We will be announcing the winners of the PIA 217 shortly. Let me congratulate all finalists and winners, and thank everyone who have participated in the Awards.
11. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the working group chaired by Mr David Leong, and members of the judging panel from BCA, the Housing and Development Board, HDB, Jurong Town Corporation, JTC and the Singapore Institute of Architects, SIA, for their time and effort evaluating the applications and taking part in the judging session.
12. Before I conclude, I would like to express my appreciation to our guest-of-honour, BCA CEO Mr Hugh Lim for his strong support. Special thanks also go to Sphere Exhibits, our event partner for the summit and the PIA Exhibition. I would also like to thank our supporting partner, the Workforce Singapore, or WSG.
13. I wish you a productive and enjoyable session ahead. Thank you.