Transforming the way we build

4th Quarter 2019

Transforming the way we build

December 19, 2019

International Built Environment Week (IBEW) 2019

Held at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Singapore, from 3 to 6 September 2019, the inaugural IBEW welcomed more than 12,000 overseas and local visitors to the first of its kind built environment event in the region.

Themed Transforming the Way We Build, IBEW 2019 brought together the whole built environment value chain to an integrated platform that showcased progressive firms and the latest innovations in the industry, set against the backdrop of global trends like urbanisation, digitalisation and climate action.

In his opening address, Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, remarked about the common challenges faced in the region, “First, how do we encourage and sustain growth given limited urban land area? Second, the built environment sector will need to play our part in mitigating climate change and adapting to its impact. Third, dealing with the implications of a rapidly aging population on our workforce, which has repercussions on labour and productivity, and the challenge of attracting young talents to join the built environment sector.

“Against the backdrop of these challenges, we have embarked on a process of transformation to shape a more liveable, sustainable, and smarter built environment. BE Connect was conceived as a premier business platform to bring together urban solution providers, developers, government agencies and investment communities to address urban challenges in the region. Our strategies involve redevelopment, and land intensification, for example, by integrating transport nodes with office, residential and retail developments, which allows people to work, live and play under one roof. Instead of commuting long distances, we can commute up and down vertically within the same building.”

Singapore’s Green initiatives

“To date, we have ‘greened’ about 40 per cent of our buildings by gross floor area, and we target to hit 80 per cent by 2030. We want to continue to push the boundaries in Green urban buildings. For example, we are driving initiatives such as the development of Super Low Energy (SLE) buildings, which are at least 60 per cent more energy-efficient compared to previous standards. The Green Mark certification has expanded overseas, and is now being used to rate Green buildings in many other cities around the world,” minister Lee shared.

Green solution companies G-Energy and GWS will be providing energy services for FICO group’s seven hotels and offices in Thailand and working on CapitaLand’s Datansha project in China, respectively. ONG&ONG and Surbana Jurong, multidisciplinary consultants, will be working on the detailed master plan and infrastructure design for MX Group’s Smart City in Vietnam and providing project management services for the Orange Smart City in India, respectively.

“Since the Construction Industry Transformation Map (ITM) was launched two years ago, our built environment sector has seen good progress. Leading firms are staying ahead of the curve through building capabilities and collaborations, as well as co-creating effective solutions,” said Hugh Lim, CEO, Building & Construction Authority (BCA).

The Construction ITM identified three key transformation areas: Green building, Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) and Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA), underpinned by research and innovation as well as manpower development. ITM seeks to bring about an advanced and integrated sector with progressive and collaborative firms, supported by a skilled and competent workforce.

As part of advancing the Green building agenda, BCA has been supporting research and innovation efforts to push the boundaries of transformation. The Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC), managed by BCA, has enabled the development of several energy-efficient technologies. These have been translated into commercial solutions adopted in Singapore and overseas.

The latest recipient of grant support as a GBIC-Demonstration project is PSA Corporation, who will develop a net-zero energy building as part of the Tuas Port, projected to achieve energy savings of 58 per cent when compared to the same building had it been designed to comply purely with energy efficiency regulations. The use of coloured building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs) in its administration building will be explored. By integrating BIPVs into the building walls, it will replace the need for ordinary façade cladding, hence offering an alternative to conventional photovoltaics (PVs) for buildings with limited roof space. A combination of conventional PVs and BIPVs can also help better manage energy demands of the buildings by providing a steadier power generation pattern throughout the day. To support Singapore’s national drive toward SLE buildings, the National Research Foundation Singapore has provided a funding of $20 million to enhance the GBIC programme. In addition, the SLE Buildings Smart Hub has also been launched, the first digital knowledge portal for Green buildings in the region.

Buildings are a critical solution to climate change

Lisa Bate, Chair, World Green Building Council, observed, “Together, we are facing global challenges across all industries, and at the same time, this does present us with immense opportunities to work collectively towards a positive impact. By 2050, the built environment will double in size and this will increase the impact to our sectors significantly and the ramifications and deterioration of our natural resources will be affected by that. In addition, ‘unhealthy’ buildings that need to be retrofitted are something that we really need to focus on. And the global growth, obviously, places demands on it as well. So we have a combination of making sure that what we build new is net-zero carbon or low-carbon, and that what we retrofit achieves the same status as well.

“Of the 194 signatories in the Paris Agreement, only 104 have committed to improve building energy efficiency to meet mitigation targets. The sad statistics is that only 68 countries actually have current building energy codes, so when enabling these countries to stand by what they said and deliver is critical to our success,” added Bate.

“I always thought that wearing natural materials is the only way to go. I never thought about cotton fields, who actually takes cares of cotton fields, and how much water they require. And I’ve never recognised the fact that nylon can last 15 years and be recycled five times.”

“So circular economy is a whole different way of thinking, because we have all been raised as super consumers. We have to change that mindset and re-educate ourselves about how materials are manufactured, and what is the impact.”

Four other co-located tradeshows took place at the IBEW 2019, showcasing the latest innovations and industry solutions for the built environment on a common platform. Returning in its 12th edition, BEX Asia highlighted sustainable solutions for buildings across all sectors and Mostra Convegno Expocomfort (MCE) Asia gave emphasis on solutions to maximise building efficiency and energy operations in its fifth edition. New to the portfolio were Innobuild (IB) Asia, which featured cutting-edge construction materials, tools and technologies to drive construction productivity and resource efficiency, as well as Smart Cities and Buildings (SCB) Asia, which underlined the importance of the convergence of technology and construction to create more liveable cities.

Together, the tradeshows encompassed the entire built environment value chain and gathered over 550 local and international exhibiting brands from more than 30 markets. More than 70 industry leaders shared their insights on the latest technologies and trends at the tech talk seminar areas covering three thematic topics at Digital Rally, Energy Xchange and Green View. The exhibitions welcomed over 70 delegation groups from seven markets to discuss and exchange ideas on the latest innovations that will shape the future of sustainable cities. IBEW 2020 will take place from 1 to 4 September 2020.

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