Singapore’s construction industry geared towards innovative practices
Sure, we have all built a house or two using our lego bricks when we were young.
But using lego-style methods to construct a building?
That is a whole new ballgame altogether.
The Crowne Plaza Changi Hotel extension is one of the first few private projects to utilize this innovative building method.
What exactly is this “lego” building method?
This innovative method is known as Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (PPVC).
It basically installs “modules” completed with furniture, lighting and windows onto each other.
The modules are manufactured in Shanghai and the walls, floors, furniture and fixtures are installed first in a factory.
Then, they can be lifted by cranes and easily installed side by side and stacked up onto each other — just like legos.
Thus, this effectively minimizes the manpower required in the construction process as lesser people are required to put together brick by brick from scratch.
Benefits and increased productivity with PPVC
1. Lesser manpower
This type of construction reduces manpower required in projects by 40%, and decreases construction time by 17%.
This will probably make Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong really happy.
2. Faster building construction
In addition, it takes only 15-20 minutes to install a module, allowing an average of 10 modules to be produced everyday.
This translates into faster construction rates and earlier completion of projects.
3. Better quality management
As modules are pre-manufactured in China, they can check for quality before being used in Singapore’s construction.
In contrast, it is hard to ensure quality when doing everything on-site.
4. Lesser disruption from construction work
Construction projects might be subjected to noise pollution complaints.
But with this new method, residents around the project will not be disrupted and the working environment of those on-site would improve, with lesser dust from normal construction activities.
With lesser people on-site, construction would be safer as less people are subjected to the risks.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel Extension
Building & Construction Authority (BCA) CEO John Keung used this extension to demonstrate the effectiveness and productivity of this new method. He said:
The Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel extension project demonstrates that it is possible to significantly reduce the number of workers required, shorten construction time, improve building quality and even overcome site constraints by changing the way we build.
However, people have pointed out the higher costs of 30%-35% using PPVC.
Minister Wong has quelled concerns saying that the increased cost is lesser at 15% and these costs will decrease once this method becomes mainstream.
This project is in line with governmental efforts to revive falling productivity levels from the construction sector.
Mr Keung said that the government will continue to drive innovation in the built environment sector and help firms go through this transformation by adopting the lego-style construction method.
He added that this move to PPVC would benefit local firms and “help ensure the sustainability of our local firms in the long run, while changing the nature of jobs in the sector”.
Hopefully this new method would be cheaper in the future to complement its gains in productivity.
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