Plan for construction sector to go digital
Buildings can be constructed faster, at lower cost and be of higher quality
Software developers, data analysts and designers with virtual reality goggles are not what first comes to mind when thinking about the building industry.
Such high value-added jobs never seen before in the construction sector could become meaningful careers in future if a plan to encourage the industry to go digital takes off, said Social and Family Development Minister and Second National Development Minister Desmond Lee yesterday.
Mr Lee, who spoke on the sidelines of a visit to the upcoming JTC Logistics Hub at Gul Circle, was referring to a newly unveiled plan to encourage the digitalisation of construction processes.
The aim is to have, by 2020, 40 to 60 construction sites implementing Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) technologies that cut out laborious paper-based processes and allow designers, builders and facility managers to communicate with one another digitally, said the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in a press release.
The first 12 demonstration projects using such technologies have been identified. They include the JTC Logistics Hub, the Punggol Town Hub and Sloane Residences in Balmoral Road.
The plan also aims to raise competencies for at least 150 companies and around 300 to 400 key personnel, who will be able to develop skills such as virtual collaboration, artificial intelligence and data analytics, it added.
These skills would enable the use of a wide range of construction technologies, from virtual reality and imaging technology for inspecting building plans to sensors that track whether supplies arrive on time at the construction site.
A key benefit is that buildings could be made faster, at a lower cost and be of higher quality from improved defect detection and inspections. Contractors who are early adopters of IDD said they cut construction time by 35 per cent to 39 per cent.
BCA noted that IDD is heavily driven by information and communications technology and data, and there is a wide range of application software solutions for different project parties.
There is thus a need for common solutions and standards, it added.
To this end, BCA and the Infocomm Media Development Authority launched a $4 million tender for proposals to develop digital platforms for the construction industry.
BCA will also help beef up digital skill sets across the building industry through courses and programmes, such as the Imperial College London-BCA Executive Development Programme that supports the development of leadership in offsite pre-fabricated construction methods and IDD.