Connecting Dots Across Asia's Tech and Urban Landscape
Connecting Dots Across Asia's Tech and Urban Landscape

Recovering Stronger From COVID-19 Through Innovation And Digitalisation

Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration, announced a new $20 million Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS) scheme to fund integrated advanced digital solutions to keep worksites and workers safe. He also announced the development of the Intelligent National Productivity and Quality Specifications (iNPQS) platform, a cloud-based system containing standard templates of project specifications co-created with industry partners for the industry.

Mr Lee was speaking at the opening of the International Built Environment Week (IBEW) 2020 on how digitalisation can help as the built environment sector remain vigilant and continue to ensure compliance with work restart requirements. Themed “Emerging Stronger through Innovation”, IBEW 2020 expresses the Built Environment sector’s collective aspiration to emerge stronger from COVID-19, to build greater resilience, and a smarter and more sustainable built environment sector, through innovation and digitalisation.

Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS) Scheme to help firms work safer

The $20 million Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS) scheme (see Annex A for details) funds integrated advanced digital solutions for the construction sector to help firms ensure the safety of their workers. Supported by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Infocomm Media Digital Authority (IMDA), the ADS solutions for the construction sector will help firms defray up to 80% of the costs of digital equipment such as thermal scanners, facial recognition systems, AI cameras and Bluetooth enabled wearables and their integration with site management solutions to assist in COVID-Safe worksite management, up to a cap of $20,000 per project.

These digital solutions when deployed at construction sites will be able to link up with BCA’s newly developed digital platform called the BuildSG-COVIDSafe platform (CSP). The CSP will facilitate the exchange of data from on-site management platforms and equipment with other government databases to help firms ensure compliance of safe measurement measures. The CSP will also highlight irregularities for early intervention. BCA has completed the pilot testing of the CSP, and is now ready to roll it out for widespread adoption by the industry. 

An industry-led intelligent project specification platform to enhance productivity 

To help improve our work processes in order to remain viable in a COVID-19 world, the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA), the Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES) and the Association of Consulting Engineers Singapore (ACES) have also co-created the iNPQS platform. (see Annex B for details).

iNPQS is a cloud-based digital platform that contains standard specifications that can be adapted and customised by firms for their building projects, and have the ability to integrate with Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology. Traditionally, companies prepare their specifications for projects in accordance to the project’s requirements, a process which is often time-consuming. The use of iNPQS that comes with a standard set of base specifications not only speed up the drafting process, but also reduces abortive work and minimising conflicting requirements and discrepancies in the specifications.

iNPQS has also garnered support from Government Procuring Entities (GPEs) and various built environment TACs to enrich the base specifications. iNPQS will be ready by November 2020, and will benefit building professionals across the entire built environment value chain.

Spurring digitalisation and innovation through the Smart FM Challenge

Lastly, as part of efforts to transform the Facilities Management (FM) industry through digitalisation and adoption of technology, BCA is launching the Smart FM Challenge to enhance productivity and improve service delivery in the FM industry. The Challenge aims to bring together service buyers (developers and building owners) and service providers (FM companies and technology providers) to adopt smart FM solutions in the next three years.

The adoption of smart FM solutions and outcome-based performance contracting can help building owners and developers, especially those with a portfolio of buildings, to achieve at least 15% improvement in productivity, cost or manpower savings etc. More than 50 firms, including major developers/ building owners, agencies, institutions, FM companies and technology providers, have already come on board.

Mr Hugh Lim, BCA CEO, said, “COVID-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge for Singapore, and our Built Environment sector. Despite the challenges, our industry has demonstrated its determination and made good progress in restarting work, since the COVID-19 circuit breaker was lifted in June. Progressive firms have responded positively, innovating and adopting digital solutions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Going fully digital for IBEW 2020, reaffirms this very same spirit of innovation to overcome safe distancing constraints to offer a meaningful experience for our delegates. Digitalisation will play an increasingly larger role to help the industry build resilience and position our firms to emerge stronger from COVID. BCA, together with our stakeholders and partners, will continue to support the industry’s effort to digitalise and reap the benefits for both firms and workers across the entire built environment value chain.”

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