Jan - Feb 2017
BuildTech Asia 2016 unveils transformation of building and construction sector
BuildTech Asia 2016, a regional trade show for the building and construction industry, recorded a 35-percent increase in visitor attendance over the three-day event. Organised by Sphere Exhibits and hosted by the building and Construction Authority (BCA), the annual exhibition was held from 18 to 20 October 2016, in conjunction with the Singapore Construction Productivity Week (SCPW).
Over 100 brands showcased the latest productive and cutting-edge technologies such as construction machinery, quality finishes as well as building and architectural solutions. Robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) technology were also on display alongside 3D concrete printers, immersive Big Data and Virtual Reality (VR) applications. Some 7,000 visitors from 32 countries had the opportunity to learn about the future of construction with the use of applied technology and building materials.
Lawrence Wong, minister for National Development and second minister for Finance, graced the opening ceremony of the SCPW and BuildTech Asia. He announced that the Singapore government is committed to helping firms harness the full potential of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Virtual Design Construction (VDC) to improve collaboration and enhance the construction management process.
To enable the built environment sector to sustain improvements in productivity in the long term, 35 key technologies under seven research and development clusters were identified. These areas include: Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA); automated equipment and robotics; information and communications technology; BIM and VDC; 3D printing; advanced construction materials; and productive solutions for civil engineering works. Additionally, BCA has allocated $2 million to fund four research projects that will focus on solutions that drive DfMA in the sector—much on-site construction works are shifted to off-site prefabrication and automation in a factory environment and improvements are made in the integration across the construction value chain.
Dr John Keung, CEO of BCA, commented that with the tightened manpower supply in the built environment sector, constant development as well as the utilisation of innovations and new technologies are required to improve construction productivity and resource efficiencies. This shift in approach will result in better job creation in the sector.
Strengthening knowledge-based platforms for regional exchange
As Singapore is in a leadership position as a centre for developing markets in Southeast Asia such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, BuildTech Asia played a facilitation role in knowledge sharing. Some 100 trade delegates were present at site visits to the BCA Skylab—a state-of-the-art rotatable test facility pivotal to developing innovative energy-efficient building technologies—as well as a residential estate comprising nine blocks of 22-storey buildings. This is the first site in Singapore to implement the use of productive technologies such as Prefabricated Volumetric Construction (PVC) modules for three blocks, conventional 2D precast panels for the remaining six blocks and prefabricated bathroom units (PBUs) for all units. The project is based on a first-generation (concrete PVC) proposal using columns, beams and slabs.
Property developers are creating customer-centric one-to-one experiences through sensor technology; IoT, cloud and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology; social media; and data analytics to develop touchpoints with consumers. At the inaugural Building-IoT Asia Conference, a panel of well-respected speakers from the region held discussions and demonstrated how such knowledge and technology can be applied and how buildings can be constructed to cater for evolving technology requirements.
The Environment Sustainability Conference educated delegates on how to think, build and operate Green. Speakers showed how BIM can pave the way to construct a building sustainably; how machine-based learning contributes to energy management; and how to design with an aim to achieve the Green Mark certification. The conference also discussed how sustainable actions are as important as constructing an eco-friendly building.