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Thread: HDB to ramp up productivity

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default HDB to ramp up productivity

    HDB to ramp up productivity

    Pilot scheme to build flats faster and cheaper is in the pipeline

    Published on Oct 18, 2012

    By Daryl Chin

    THE nation's largest housing developer - the HDB - has thrown its weight behind the national productivity drive and promised to raise construction productivity by up to 25 per cent by 2020.

    This is in line with targets set by the Government last year for the entire sector.

    Already, some initiatives have shown results, cutting HDB construction time by about two months.

    Senior Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan announced the new framework yesterday at the launch of the first HDB professional-engagement and knowledge-sharing forum - attended by about 400 industry professionals - at HDB Hub.

    "We want to fundamentally review the ways in which we have been approaching the design and construction of our public housing," he said. "Given strong projected demand of the construction industry in the foreseeable years, we have to find unconventional ways to sustain industry growth."

    He added that the HDB will be looking at tapping on more mechanisation to reduce on-site construction time.

    The Housing Board will also be getting contractors to use three-dimensional modelling software to minimise errors.

    Last year, the HDB achieved a productivity level of 2.27 man days per sq m built - better than the 3.12 figure in the private sector.

    HDB director of building construction management Neo Poh Kok said a pilot initiative is afoot that could churn out flats faster and cheaper for contractors.

    This is done by supplementing the prefab construction method with more system formwork components made on-site via a reusable mould.

    Typically, about 70 per cent of an HDB project relies on prefabricated components that are made in a factory.

    On sites, contractors often have to grapple with issues such as bottlenecks due to a fixed number of cranes to hoist up components.

    Mr Neo emphasised the importance of striking the right balance while building flats.

    "By scaling back the prefab process, we were surprised to have an 18-storey block ready in 25 months instead of the usual 27. The total construction cost was also substantially cheaper."

    This method, from a project in Sengkang helmed by Welltech Construction, will be tested on 16other projects next year.

    Industry watchers said the productivity target is hard to meet, given tight labour conditions and current productivity levels.

    "The labour shortage is acute and the precast supply tight," said Straits Construction general manager Kenneth Loo. "The onus cannot just be on the contractor to achieve this; the whole value chain from having more buildable designs to better-trained workers needs to be looked at."

    The president of the Singapore Contractors Association, Dr Ho Nyok Yong, said: "The progressive labour cut is just too severe.Workers are still neededeven with automation."

    Of things that can be improved upon, he added: "HDB can have more design-and-build projects so contractors and designers have better coordination at the design stage to increase productivity."

    In terms of housing construction contracts, public housing accounts for about 40 per cent of the total value per year.

    HDB's ramped-up building programme now needs 30,000 foreign workers but this could rise to a cumulative figure of 50,000 in the next few years.

    It has launched 52,000 flats in the past two years, and will roll out at least 20,000 next year.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default HDB eyes 25% productivity boost by 2020

    Published October 18, 2012

    HDB eyes 25% productivity boost by 2020

    It aims to encourage use of innovative methods, optimise processes & systems

    By Mindy Tan

    THE Housing & Development Board (HDB) is looking to boost construction productivity by up to 25 per cent by 2020 amid concerns over a labour crunch.

    It has launched a new HDB Construction Productivity Framework aimed at encouraging the use of innovative construction methods and optimising current processes and systems.

    As the government moderates foreign worker growth, the adoption of unconventional ways to sustain the construction industry's growth is mandatory as it faces strong projected demand in the foreseeable years, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Lee Yi Shyan.

    Mr Lee said around 30,000 workers are hired for HDB projects, out of the 271,209 foreign construction workers in the construction industry (not limited to the housing sector).

    "The fact that SMEs are facing a severe manpower crunch is real and painful, but the policy of moderating foreign worker growth is also a reality," he said.

    In its bid to implement innovative construction methods, HDB is exploring technologies that facilitate mechanisation and automation to reduce on-site construction time, labour, noise and dust pollution.

    HDB is also looking at improving productivity in precast plants through automation, given that many existing prefab plants here are still very labour-intensive, said Mr Lee.

    On the process optimisation front, HDB is promoting the use of building information modelling (BIM), which eliminates the need for manual 2D drawings, facilitates better teamwork and reduces abortive work.

    Project submissions to HDB will be required to be in BIM format from 2015.

    Mr Lee was speaking at the launch of the inaugural HDB Professional Engagement and Knowledge-sharing Forum (PEAK Forum), which represents HDB's focused engagement with professionals in the building and construction industry.

    An exhibition showcase on the next phase of development of Punggol was also launched for public consultation. It ends on Oct 28.

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