Avenue South Residence: World’s tallest PPVC residential building
May 13, 2022
Among the challenges faced by Singapore’s architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry are its limited land and shortage of manpower. To optimise resources—as well as to reach carbon targets—there is a need to expedite construction times, streamline the work, reduce waste and minimise construction-related disruption in the city.
A solution is to adopt the Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) approach, which the government has targeted to reach 70 per cent by 2025. With DfMA, waste would be greatly eliminated as the production of components are tailored to each building’s needs. There are fewer parts to manufacture, store in inventory and assemble, on top of promoting a just-in-time approach of immediately installing the parts on-site.
The most efficient method under DfMA today is prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC). Also known as modular construction or unitised system, PPVC refers to the Lego-like assembly of 3-dimensional volumetric modules. These modules are usually almost completely built (up to their mechanical fixtures and interior finishes) in off-site factories before being transported to the site for installation in a Lego-like manner.
Under DfMA, the architectural, structural and mechanical/electrical parts of each module that make up a building should be closely aligned. Image by United Tec Construction
Reaching new heights
One of the PPVC projects under construction in Singapore is the 56-storey Avenue South Residence, which was topped off in February 2022 and is expected to be fully completed in 2023. At 192 metres, it is set to be the tallest PPVC residential development in the world.
Over 3,000 modules have been stacked atop one another to make up the two apartment towers in Silat Avenue. Its façade is sun-shaded with wood-coloured vertical screens and balconies, spaced by pockets of sky terraces as multi-storey green spaces above the city. The development also preserves a park adjoining five walk-up heritage apartments on the site, connected to the 24-kilometre-long Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Rail Corridor.
Building information modelling (BIM) was instrumental in aligning the residence’s architectural, structural and mechanical/electrical services. Around 31 different room modules were manufactured and cast together to make up one floor, resulting in a variety of one- to four-bedroom units.
Sustainability of PPVC
When compared to other methods of construction, such as cast-in-place concrete or assembling 2D prefabricated panels, PPVC was found to be the best at fulfilling environmental criteria.1 Based on life-cycle assessments that included the amount greenhouse gases released, impact on ozone layer depletion, and toxicity of chemicals emitted to the environment, PPVC had the lowest impact by up to 6 per cent.
For Avenue South Residence, the PPVC method reduced pollution and noise as the apartment modules were built off-site, thus improving the health and safety of construction workers and people living and working near the project. In addition, the method allowed for a higher level of quality control, as the modules were built in a controlled factory environment. The project is able to have a 40 per cent boost in productivity due to the manpower and time efficiency.
Avenue South Residence
Silat Avenue, Singapore
245,972 square feet
Gross Floor Area
910,096 square feet
Number of Rooms
United Venture Development (Silat) Pte Ltd
ADDP Architect LLP
Markus Cheng Thuan Hann
Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl
United Tec Construction Pte Ltd
UOL Group; United Tec Construction