NEW REGULATIONS TO IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY IN THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR
6 Nov 2014
To further raise construction productivity as outlined in the Budget 2014, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) announced that the Building Control (Buildability and Productivity) Regulations now include requirements on the use of labour-efficient construction methods and building design.
From 1 November 2014, projects are required to:
a) Meet higher minimum Buildable Design and Constructability standards. This will make buildings easier to construct and encourage the use of efficient construction methods and processes.
b) Use prefabricated and standardised components. All non-landed residential developments are required to adopt drywall as internal partitions for dry areas. In addition, standardised floor heights and building components such as precast staircases, precast refuse chutes and doors will be required for new projects.
c) Adopt high-impact productive technologies for projects under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme.
(i) These include the adoption of Prefabricated Bathroom Units (PBUs) in residential (non-landed) sites, including Executive Condominiums, and the residential (non-landed) component of mixed-use sites sold under the GLS programme.
(ii) In addition, the adoption of Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) will be imposed on selected GLS sites.
Please refer to Annex A for more details on the new requirements and Annex B for information on PBUs and PPVC.
First two selected GLS sites to adopt PPVC
3. Two upcoming GLS sites at Yishun Avenue 4 and Jurong West Street 41 (scheduled to be released for sale in November and December 2014 respectively) will need to meet these new requirements including the adoption of PPVC. Please refer to Annex C for the location plans of these sites. PPVC involves the assembly of whole rooms or apartment units complete with internal fixtures that are produced off-site and installed on site in a Lego-like manner.
4. Besides these two sale sites, PPVC is being adopted in several projects in Singapore. These include a student hostel at Nanyang Technological University and a building extension to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel. City Developments Limited will also be the first developer in Asia to adopt PPVC for a large-scale residential project – an Executive Condominium at Canberra Drive. Extension of tender period for land parcel at Upper Serangoon Road
5. The first sale site that is required to meet the new requirements specified in paragraphs 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c)(i) is the land parcel at Upper Serangoon Road. The tender for the land parcel was launched on 25 September 2014.
6. To provide more time for prospective tenderers to take these new requirements into consideration before submitting their bids, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is extending the tender closing date for the land parcel at Upper Serangoon Road. The tender will now close on 27 November 2014 instead of 13 November 2014.
7. Information on the land parcel and its location plan are available in Annex D. More details on the land parcel are available at http://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/land-salesrepository/Sites/uppserangoon-cl.aspx.
PREFABRICATED BATHROOM UNIT (PBU)
The construction of conventional bathrooms requires numerous workers to do more than 13 trades on site. These include waterproofing and tiling as well as sanitary, plumbing and electrical works. On the other hand, Prefabricated Bathroom Units (PBUs) are pre-assembled in factories before they are delivered to site for installation. This enables the construction of the entire bathroom to be streamlined and done efficiently in the controlled environment of the factory, minimising the disturbance to surrounding residents as well as ensuring higher quality finishing.
PBUs can bring about manpower and time savings of about 60%, depending on the design and materials used. This is not a new technology and has been used in Singapore in the last ten years or more.
PBU designs have also evolved and improved tremendously both in Singapore and overseas as innovative materials and more advanced technologies create possibilities for PBUs to be of better quality and yet not compromised by challenges in handling and transportation. One example is the evolvement of volumetric concrete PBU to lightweight concrete PBU.
Ensuring PBUs meet minimum standards
As BCA is mandating the use of PBUs for non-landed residential GLS sites, it will be critical to ensure that the different PBU systems coming into the market are reliable and durable systems which will not result in future maintenance problems for the home owners.
PBU suppliers are required to apply and go through the Building Innovation Panel (BIP), which consists of both BCA as well as other relevant authorities/agencies.
Firstly, a PBU Screening Panel chaired by BCA and other industry representatives will look into the PBU system’s design and materials used. The main objective of the panel is to ensure that each PBU system is both flexible and robust enough in terms of their design, to cater to both developers and home owners’ needs. In addition, the materials used should be both safe and durable as well.
Next, the other agencies on the BIP would also look into areas under their jurisdiction, e.g. SCDF will be focusing on fire safety-related issues.
One-stop Building Innovation Panel (BIP)