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More use of pre-fab, digital tech to boost building productivity

 
12 January 18 | The Business Times
by LEE MEIXIAN
 

Singapore

ANOTHER 59 design for manufacture and assembly (DFMA) projects could be tendered out by property developers and government agencies in 2018, Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said on Thursday.

That outlook was given as the Built Environment cluster sub-committee of the Future Economy Council proposed using DFMA and digital technologies to boost productivity in the construction and facilities management industries.

There is already a target to achieve 40 per cent adoption of DFMA for the construction industry, up from the current 10 per cent. DFMA involves moving aspects of construction from open worksites to controlled environments.

On Thursday, at the BCA-Redas Built Environment and Property Prospects Seminar 2018, Mr Lee said the government is now expecting another 59 DFMA projects to be tendered out in 2018, on top of the current slate of more than 40 projects that use the technology.

The government on its part will continue to create demand by requiring public agencies to consider the adoption of DFMA technologies upfront when developing their projects and by stipulating such adoption for government land sales sites where suitable, Mr Lee said.

It will also build up its supply capabilities by setting aside land to build prefabrication hubs that manufacture construction modules.

On the digital technology side, more than 70 projects have already used building information modelling (BIM) to date. By 2020, the government targets to see 40 to 60 projects adopting integrated digital delivery (IDD), where various digital technologies, not just BIM, are used across all stages of construction.

One difficulty with this will be the integration of different systems. Mr Lee said: To facilitate the process, we will develop shared platforms and standards to ensure IDD interoperability across the value chain. He added that more details will be shared in mid-2018.

In facility management (FM), he observed that the cost of running and maintaining a building can be as much as four times the initial construction cost. We really cannot afford to keep thinking of FM as a peripheral downstream concern, he said.

Some ideas to transform the FM industry would be to make use of digital technologies such as BIM to allow early detection of issues that may make maintenance difficult. Using BIM will also allow FM considerations to be incorporated at the design stage, he said.

Another way is for FM managers to use BIM to tag and store the latest information on building components, so that communication across all stakeholders is done on a singular platform and always up-to-date.