Singapore to use less concrete for building construction in future: Mah

By Hasnita A Majid, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 28 March 2007 1816 hrs

SINGAPORE: Singapore will reduce its dependency on concrete as building materials in future.

It will instead shift to alternative sources and building technologies.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan gave the assurance that there are enough supplies of sand and granite in the government stockpile for the industry to produce the concrete it needs to proceed with its commitments.

Alternative supplies are also coming in from other sources.

Mr Mah was speaking at an eco-buildings conference where he unveiled what is to be the first eco-friendly precinct in Punggol.

The new development, called TreeTops@Punggol, will have dry partition walls in its interior instead of concrete walls.

Dry partition walls are made of ferro-cement material with two panels bolted together to form a wall with a hollow core.

That and other materials, such as recycled concrete and structural steel used in the construction of flats, can help cut down the dependency on sand and concrete.

Singapore's supply of sand and granite from Indonesia has been affected recently when Jakarta announced a ban on sand exports and later detained some barges, carrying granite materials to Singapore.

But Singapore maintains this has not slowed down its building projects.

The National Development Minister said: "We have already said we are proceeding, we are moving ahead. The sand shortage and the granite shortage is something we've anticipated. We always prepare for exigencies. That's why we have the stockpile.

"We have no short-term disruption but I think in the longer term, we have to change our construction methods."

Mr Mah said the government has worked out various cost-sharing formulas with contractors working on government projects.

This includes co-sharing up to 75 percent of the increase in the cost of sand.

- CNA/so