Fellow Board members Members of the media Ladies and gentlemen
Good morning. Thank you for joining us this morning.
CELEBRATING A MILESTONE
1. In 1937, the then Singapore Chinese Contractors Association was formed to establish harmonious business relationships among local contractors and to ensure regular supplies of building materials. After the 2nd World War, the Association changed its name to Singapore Contractors Association Ltd, or SCAL, to reflect Singapore's multi-racial community and the Association's growing multi-ethnic membership.
2. Over the years, SCAL has strengthened its foundation as the voice of the construction industry, working with other stakeholders and the government in areas such as standardising industry practices, raising productivity and quality, upgrading of construction methods and skills, catering to housing and recreation needs of foreign workers and advocating more business-friendly regulatory requirements.
3. The Building and Construction Authority, or BCA’s latest development plans and assessment of prevailing market developments point to subdued demand for construction from the private sector, staying at between $8.0 billion and $11.0 billion in 2017. This is driven by the current slowdown in property market and continued economic uncertainties.
4. In the latest National Business Survey 2016/2017 conducted by the Singapore Business Federation, more than half of the respondents in construction and civil engineering said that business climate has worsened over the last 12 months, and is expected to further decline in 2017.
5. Many challenges lie ahead for the built environment sector, for which the construction industry face the greatest impact. Last month, for the first time, SCAL submitted a set of recommendations for Singapore Budget 2017. We alerted the government on the challenges impacting the viability of construction firms, and recommended measures to help with rising business costs, provisions for workplace safety and
health in government contracts, and prepare the industry for Singapore's future economy.
6. As SCAL turns 80, we reflect on how the built environment has evolved over the years, and how SCAL, as the industry leader and champion, should support our members overcome some of the short term challenges as well as prepare ourselves for the future.
7. Today we are launching a new mobile app for training on workplace safety and health at worksites. The app provides visual images of actual situations which workers can relate to directly. It is easily accessible by supervisors to train and highlight workplace safety and health to their workers. We hope that this new tool will help everybody to internalise safe practices at worksites.
8. Over the past 18 months, SCAL has been conducting a study in collaboration with the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or SCCCI, on construction productivity in Singapore. We are pleased to release the report today. It is a very comprehensive study, for which I will leave it to my fellow board member Dominic to run through the key points. But therein contains a wealth of information and eight recommendations that will have longer term impact. SCAL will study the report in greater detail and will work with the government and various stakeholders for raising construction productivity in Singapore.
9. In conclusion, SCAL has come a long way since the days of the Samsui women. The development of the construction sector is written on the face of Singapore – our buildings, roads, bridges MRT tunnels, air and sea ports. We are grateful to our forefathers for gifting us this strong foundation at SCAL as we plan our journey forward. Many challenges will lie ahead. The launch of our Safety Induction Training App and the wide ranging findings from the Study on Construction Productivity underlines our commitment to raise the bar for the construction industry as we prepare to build for the future Singapore.
10. Thank you.