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A new era of growth
The biggest competitive advantage of Greatearth Pte Ltd, said chief executive officer (CEO) Chang Chew Kient, is its all-encompassing integrated business model spanning property development, engineering, and construction.
This means the group can tackle larger and more technically complex projects, he said.
“We can undertake a property development project from foundation works, to construction, to all other ancillary services such as mechanical and electrical engineering (M&E) and procurement,” he said.
Greatearth, formerly listed on the Singapore Exchange mainboard as UE E&C, is behind some of Singapore’s most recognisable landmarks including the Raffles Town Club, NUS Cultural Centre, and Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
The group stays ahead of the times by training staff on leading industry practices to improve productivity, while ensuring a safe and healthy working environment for them.
“We have trained our staff to deploy productivity-enhancing technologies like building information modelling (BIM) and prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC) in our operations,” said Mr Chang.
“We also send them on various courses to keep abreast of disruptive technologies and developments. We strive to introduce effective, time- and cost-saving yet safe processes to deliver quality products and services.”
Greatearth embarked on the Lean Six Sigma journey which enables the group to cut waste and costs, as well as improve cycle time and quality. This is to enhance project delivery and increase customer satisfaction, Mr Chang said.
Meanwhile, the group constantly deploys appropriate resources to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for its staff.
“We are committed to keep up with industry changes through introducing game-changing technologies and equipment, as well as building methods and practices which help tackle new workplace safety and health-related challenges and risks.”
Not standing still
Greatearth is one of the most enduring engineering and construction brand names in the region, with a history of evolving to keep up with its times – be it design-and-build projects, infrastructure projects, or property development.
Its engineering roots can be traced to 1912 when two engineering powerhouses, Riley Hargreaves & Co., Ltd. and Howarth Erskine & Co., Ltd., merged to form United Engineers Limited. The firm helped rebuild Singapore after the Second World War.
Greatearth Construction was founded in 1981 and acquired by United Engineers in 1990 to be its principal construction subsidiary.
In 1994, Greatearth secured a S$107-million construction contract for the Institute of Health and National Dental Centre, one of the group’s largest projects then.
Long established in Brunei, it built the Brunei National Indoor Stadium and the flyover at Lebuhraya Muara in 1997, its first infrastructure project there.
Its first design-and-build project, which was ahead of its time, was the Sunrider Singapore Factory completed in 1998. And in 2004, its first design-and-build residential project, The Serenade, was completed.
At the turn of the millennium, Greatearth became one of the first established contractors to venture into property development.
“We wanted to exercise greater control over our projects. By being responsible for building and design, we can minimise inefficiencies and save costs,” Mr Chang said.
“Our first residential development project was Hougang private condominium Kovan Melody. It was completed in 2006, well before the wave of contractors foraying into property development after the 2007 property boom.”
Infrastructure and condos
In 2009, the group completed the construction of Pioneer and Joo Koon MRT stations, its first major Singapore infrastructure project.
The group’s first executive condominium (EC) project was secured in 2010.
The same year, it completed M&E works at the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Its second EC project Watercolours was launched in 2012, and its third EC project, Waterwoods, secured in 2013. The year 2011 marked its debut on the Singapore Exchange as UE E&C. That year, it completed building a mixed-use development at one-north comprising The Rochester condominium, Park Avenue Rochester hotel and serviced suites, as well as Rochester Mall.
In 2014, it won a S$243.5 million contract to build the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at Nanyang Technological University at Mandalay Road, and the School of Medicine at Nanyang Drive.
In 2015, UE E&C was privatised and delisted, and renamed Greatearth. In 2016, it launched Gem Residences, the first condominium to be launched in Toa Payoh since 2009.
Today, the group has around 1,200 staff in Singapore and more than 300 abroad. In 2016, about 11 per cent of its revenue comes from countries like Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Brunei and Indonesia.
It has won multiple awards for construction excellence, safety, productivity and environmental consciousness.
Looking ahead, the firm will continue doing what it is best at – transforming Singapore’s landscape through condominiums, hotels and offices, schools and universities, healthcare and transport infrastructure, along with country clubs and shopping malls.
Said Mr Chang: “As an independent company with a rich heritage, Greatearth is well positioned in a new era of growth. Our multi-disciplinary building services across property development, engineering and construction will enable us to stay ahead of the competition, even as we strive for excellence across all fronts.”
Building better and greater lives together
Greatearth Pte Ltd has an integrated business model across property development, engineering and construction. Its detailed services are below:
• Private condominiums
• Executive condominiums (ECs)
• Public housing
• Mixed-use developments and industrial parks
• High and low-voltage electrical power distribution
• Air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation (ACMV) systems
• Fire protection, alarm and sanitary systems
• Civil works
• General construction
Geo-Technical Foundation Work
• Geo-technical engineering
• Foundation engineering
• Soil improvement works
• Structural works
Total Power Solutions
• Total power solutions to industries that require emergency, immediate and uninterrupted power supply
• Supply and rental of diesel power generators, loadbanks, transformers, power distribution panels and cable accessories
• Procurement of materials including flooring tiles and sanitary wares
• Supply and rental of metal forms