Singapore

Construction sector's transformation to be sped up: Desmond Lee

The pace of industry transformation in the hard-hit construction sector will be quickened so that it can be on a stronger footing after the pandemic.

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee made the point yesterday in his ministry's Addendum to the President's Address, in which he outlined how the Government will continue to develop and invest in infrastructure even amid the Covid-19 crisis.

To raise productivity in construction and reduce reliance on manpower, advanced building technologies will be adopted.

The Government will also drive research, innovation and digitalisation across the built environment value chain, from construction to property transaction services and facilities management, he said.

Local construction and consultancy firms will also get support to help them grow and seize opportunities abroad.

Mr Lee promised to support the housing needs of Singaporeans in the current crisis.

The ministry will help households struggling financially by allowing greater flexibility in mortgage repayments, for instance.

It is working on minimising delays in the completion of Build-To-Order flats too.

"We will also monitor the housing market closely and take measures where needed to keep it stable and sustainable."

Mr Lee further said his ministry will regularly review housing plans and policies to support various groups, including multi-generational families, singles and single parents.

Schemes have been enhanced to help seniors tap their flat's value to help them with retirement adequacy.

These schemes include the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (Vers), which gives owners of ageing Housing Board flats a chance to sell their homes to the Government.

Vers, which also helps rejuvenate older towns, will be a "major and complex undertaking", the minister said.

Another effort is to design HDB towns and estates to be more environmentally sustainable, and to better support residents' well-being.

By 2030, the ministry plans to reduce energy consumption by 15 per cent through such initiatives as installing rooftop solar panels and smart LED lighting.

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